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PUC Student Stars as Intern at Dreamworks

David Ranzolin, May 8, 2009
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Craig Church (third from left), learned from experts such as story coordinator Scott Sakamoto, story production supervisor David Joyner, and script coordinator Jabari Phillips (L to R) during his internship.

Craig Church is a senior film and television production and English major at Pacific Union College. He was recently selected from a massive applicant pool to intern at DreamWorks, one of the leading animation studios in Hollywood. The 13-week internship ended early in May.

Craig's internship at DreamWorks is a landmark achievement for the PUC Visual Arts department. His involvement with a feature-film ("How to Train Your Dragon" is scheduled to debut in 2010) is unprecedented. Craig worked primarily in the story department, where he assisted the story production supervisor in processing and preparing storyboard panels for editorial. He was also involved with the character effects and modeling department and the surfacing department while also assisting the script coordinator in prepping scripts and sides for scratch and professional voice recording sessions. Historically, Craig was the first intern to be invited to one of the professional voice recording sessions at the famous LA Studios, where he saw Hollywood stars such as John C. McGinley (Scrubs) and the new Star Trek cast.

During his internship, Craig also met Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder and CEO of DreamWorks Animation. "Getting to talk with directors like Katzenberg about everything from what he looks for in pitches and scripts to his banishment from Las Vegas for card counting was an unparalleled opportunity," he says. "By the end of the program, I'd filled nearly four legal pads full of notes. That kind of learning experience - the kind of learning you get only when you're rubbing shoulders with the best in the world - is by far my fondest memory and experience."

Craig feels most drawn to the animation side of moviemaking. "I've always held a soft-spot for animation since I can remember," he says. "I'm always working to strengthen my illustration portfolio, and after seeing the pros operate and receiving their mentorship, I'm feeling more and more confident in my abilities and chances of honestly pursuing that career. It's a great job to have if you're working towards eventually developing, writing, and directing your own material, as you're always a part of that creative process." While Craig mentions the possibility of returning to DreamWorks after graduation, he is interested in graduate school, citing University of California at Berkeley and the San Francisco Academy of Art as potential destinations.

Craig explains the importance for film and television majors to pursue similar opportunities: "It's part of the program to open your eyes to the real world. You get to spend time working with the people who have the jobs you aspire to. You get to see the good days and the bad, as well as what the working environment is like. Basically, it lets you know whether or not this particular career path is right for you while you're still in school, helping you avoid the situation of graduating into a career you loathe. It's the ultimate classroom. You can really gauge yourself and see what parts of your skill set needs improvement in order to operate at the level you desire."