College of Arts & Letters student Dania Abu-Rmaileh recently spent four months working at Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California, as a production intern.
“I grew up on a lot of Cartoon Network shows,” said Abu-Rmaileh, a senior Studio Art major with a concentration in Graphic Design and minors in Comics, Animation, and Art History in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design. “I knew I wanted to work in the animation industry in some capacity, so I applied to a lot of studios whose work I enjoyed and I ended up getting this as my first internship.”
As a production intern, Abu-Rmaileh worked with other members of the production team to meet deadlines to ship episodes to be animated.
“On a daily basis, I prepared model sheets, helped prepare for any record sessions we had that day, and scanned in X-sheets,” Abu-Rmaileh said. “This internship related to my minors in comics and animation more than my major, however, we learned a lot of concepts and ideas about what makes a piece of art appealing and meaningful in studio art and that is something that can easily apply to comics or animation.”
Abu-Rmaileh credits Michigan State University’s comics and journalism classes, specifically Associate Professor Ryan Claytor’s introductory and advanced comic courses and Instructor Stacey Fox’s journalism classes, with helping prepare her for the internship.
“I think that Claytor’s comics classes are pretty unique. They taught me how to create content with a strict timeline, which was definitely beneficial at my internship. Also, being able to say that I self-published a book is a great resume builder,” Abu-Rmaileh said. “Fox’s courses, especially the Journalism Special Topics course, helped me become familiar with different methods of animation and working in a team to create a sequence was a great experience.”
Abu-Rmaileh will graduate from MSU in May and would like to move to Los Angeles.
“I would love to work in the animation industry after I graduate, and since so many big studios are based in the greater L.A. area, I want to relocate there,” she said. “Ideally, I would like to work with storyboards down the line, but I would be more than happy to be in any part of the production pipeline.”
Abu-Rmaileh has this advice for other MSU students, especially those who want to go into creative fields: “Whatever you hope to go into, be smart about it and do your research beforehand. Look into what makes a good portfolio, what day-to-day life is like at that job, and try to find some blogs or interviews from industry professionals who talk about their experiences. You have to keep at it and not be afraid to get rejection letters; that is all part of the process.”
Written by Caroline Caramagno