If you’re wondering how to get a job at Pixar, this article is for you. Working at Pixar Animation Studios is one of the most sought-after companies to find employment. Many people grew up watching endearing family films made by talented artists, and for many animators, working at Pixar is a career goal.
If your dream job is to work alongside animation legends for one of the top animation studios in the world, you’d be glad to know that there are many Pixar jobs available. This article will discuss what the Pixar application process is like so you will learn how to apply at Pixar.
Pixar: Company Background
Pixar is a US animation studio that combines technical and creative production to produce award-winning animated feature films. It was named after the Pixar computer, its main product. The company started in 1986 when Steve Jobs purchased George Lucas’ Computer Division Department.
One of the first animated films that made Pixar a household name was Toy Story, the first-ever feature film made solely with computer graphics. At that time, Pixar began focusing on creating full-length animated films and moved away from the short films and commercials it was known for. Pixar has gone on to produce award-winning animated movies such as Frozen, Brave, and A Bug’s Life.
How Hard Is It to Land a Job at Pixar?
Landing a job at Pixar is hard because it only employs the most talented professionals which makes the job hunt very competitive. It’s important to earn work experience elsewhere first, especially if you are making a career transition to the animation industry. Create animation projects to sharpen your skills and build a portfolio to gain an edge in the animation job market.
For those with an animation bachelor’s degree, Pixar is a good place for an internship. A career in animation boils down to your portfolio and showing what you can do, and not necessarily about your educational background. Because of this, you can apply to animation online classes and bootcamps to help you upskill.
How to Apply for a Job at Pixar
- Check out the Pixar website for job openings. Head over to Pixar’s careers page to find career opportunities related to your field of expertise.
- Prepare a cover letter. To have an edge over your application, you must prepare a cover letter highlighting why you are fit for the job. You can upload your cover letter in a PDF file format under the My Experience section of the careers page.
- Submit your art portfolio or demo reel. Pixar puts great emphasis on creativity when hiring so it’s a must to submit your art portfolio or a demo reel if you are applying for an art-based job. Demo reels should be one to three minutes long and should showcase your creative talent.
- Attend interviews. The interviews at Pixar are rigorous. You will have a phone screening interview and then further interviews with various department managers.
- Wait for feedback. The application process is very competitive and there are many applications for each available position so the whole process can last a few months. Be patient and wait for feedback after the interviews to find out whether you are the right fit for the role.
Pixar Application Process
Pixar Studios has a rigorous and competitive application process. First, you must complete the application requests and submit a unique resume and cover letter. Then after reviewing your application, the hiring team will contact you for a phone screening interview. Succeeding through this step then means further in-person interviews and possible pre-employment tests.
For creative jobs, you have to present a demo reel. There are no guidelines so it should display your best work and apply the animation techniques that you learned in your training and practice. The managers review the demo reel and consider whether the work is advanced enough, has potential, and displays the right sensibilities to execute great ideas.
Pixar Interview Questions
- Tell us about a recent challenge you have experienced and how have you overcome it?
- Why do you want to work in animation?
- What is your artistic process?
- Tell us about a project that you are most proud of.
- Tell us about your background and how you got into this field.
What’s It Like to Work at Pixar?
Working for Pixar is fun. You get to create animated feature films and develop characters that people of all ages will love. You also have the opportunity every day to make art alongside animation legends in the industry. Here are three aspects of what makes working for Pixar fulfilling and fascinating.
Pixar values people who can think outside the box. People who strive for artistic career paths in animation should be very creative when it comes to their ideas. The Academy award-winning animated feature films that Pixar produces earned their popularity because the artists and animators behind them were not afraid to think outside the box and break the rules.
Pixar Studios is a company that combines creativity and technical excellence. It is where you can find the best of the best in their respective fields. To excel at Pixar, you must have a strong foundation of technical skills in 3D animation and be familiar with 2D animation software as well as other animation programs and software.
Pixar has a unique animation style that can only be achieved with the technical know-how of animation tools and programs. Join online courses to upskill and stay up to date with the latest trends in your field. By having an online presence and showing your work, you’ll get more feedback on how to improve your animation work from industry experts.
Pixar values people who put in the numbers and do the work. Animation director Andrew Gordon says that you often have to start with not-so-great jobs to get to your dream job. And in Pixar, hard work pays off.
- Health insurance. Pixar provides health insurance to all of its employees. This covers medical, dental, and vision. You can also add family members to the coverage.
- Employee discounts. Pixar employees enjoy Apple discounts on most products. You also benefit from discounted rates at the Disney store, parks, and hotels.
- Maternity and paternity leave. Pixar follows California’s guidelines on the amount of time an employee can take off for parenthood. You can have six weeks of partially paid time off for paternity leave and very flexible maternity leaves.
- Vacation and paid time off. Pixar grants a generous amount of vacation and paid time off to its employees. If you are a long-time employee, you are entitled to additional paid time off.
- Free lunch and snacks. Pixar has an in-house cafe for its employees where free lunch is offered. Employees report that they love the cereal bar and the free soda.
Pixar Career Opportunities: Job Titles and Descriptions
Now that you know how to get a job at Pixar, it’s time to see if they have a career opportunity for you. While Pixar jobs mostly focus on animation and technology jobs, you can find some that are not related to these fields. Below are the current career openings for Pixar that you can apply to, with the salary, benefits, required experience, and education.
Production Financial Analyst
- Salary: $80,785*
- Benefits: Healthcare, employee discounts, paid leave
- Required Experience: Minimum of three years of accounting or finance experience
- Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting, Business, or equivalent experience
As a Financial Analyst, you will handle the production budgets and schedules. You will have to focus and pay great attention to the detail of the production pipeline. You will also be responsible for the day-to-day financial operations of the feature film and other related projects while providing analytical support and coordination to producers and staff operations.
Production Designer- Animation Tools
- Salary: $106,189*
- Benefits: Maternity and paternity leave, free lunch and snacks, healthcare
- Required Experience: Must have fluency in user-research methodologies, and experience with designing at all levels
- Required Education: None, but a Master’s in Design, HCI, CS, or related field is a bonus
As a Production Designer in Pixar’s Software R&D Department, you will be designing the tools that the artists and filmmakers use every single day. You will collaborate with artists and engineers to build software that the film producers and team will use to create the films. You will also get a chance to lead design projects.
Technical Director, Rendering
- Salary: $100,958*
- Benefits: Healthcare, free lunch and snacks, paid leave
- Required Experience: Must be familiar with computer graphics concepts such as rendering and compositing. Skills required are scripting and programming in C, C++, Python, or similar programming languages, as well as familiarity with key production software programs
- Required Education: Computer science, mathematics, engineering, or a related field
As Technical Director you will be providing technical support to the areas of rendering and workflow. You are responsible for ensuring reasonable render times and will help debug cleanup and fixes for final images to meet high visual standards. You will also assist departments in setting up review renders and running sequence reviews.
- Salary: $62,380 – $84,940
- Benefits: Free lunch and snacks, paid leave, healthcare
- Required Experience: A minimum of three to five years of practical experience in feature-animation, short-animation film, or feature production
- Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in Filmmaking, Communications, English, or equivalent experience
As Script Supervisor you are responsible for managing the master production script throughout the entire film. You will be tracking revisions and ensuring that the script is up-to-date. Your responsibility also includes the scratch and production dialogue recording processes. You will partner with directors, producers, writers, editors, and story artists.
Lead Software Engineer, Tools Internal (Core)
- Salary: $93,758**
- Benefits: Maternity and paternity benefits, employee discounts, paid leave
- Required Experience: Experience in C++, parallel programming, and multithreading
- Required Education: N/A
The lead engineer for the Internals team in the Core group is responsible for the development of the proprietary evaluation engine and the in-memory scene representation of Pixar’s in-house content creation application, Presto. You will collaborate with the Production and Other Tools teams for strategic direction and will ensure the timely delivery of projects and fixes.
Technical Director, Character Shading
- Salary: $100,958**
- Benefits: Healthcare, free lunch and snacks, maternity and paternity leave
- Required Experience: Experience in Adobe Photoshop or The Foundry’s Mari, and 2D / 3D texture painting
- Required Education: N/A
A Character Shading Technical Director collaborates with Art Designers and Lighters to create characters in digital form. You will be responsible for coloring, texturing, and authoring the responses of the characters’ 3D geometry. You will also ensure the delivery of the lighting and rendering controls on the set.
Executive Assistant, SVP of Talent
- Salary: $89,940 – $96,708
- Benefits: Healthcare, paid leave, free lunch and snacks
- Required Experience: 10+ years of administrative leadership experience in a dynamic and demanding environment
- Required Education: N/A
The Executive Assistant supports the Senior Vice President of Talent. The EA will serve as the primary point of contact for the SVP’s office and is responsible for daily schedules and project support. You will be collaborating with different departments to support talent development and engagement.
Technical Director, FX, (Remote)
- Salary: $100,958*
- Benefits: Healthcare, maternity and paternity leave, 401K
- Required Experience: Experience in film or television effects production
- Required Education: Degree in Computer Science, Visual Effects, or a related area
The Technical Director is responsible for the required special effects and simulations. You will apply animation techniques to create effect elements that are up to the production team’s standard. You will provide various design and technical solutions for the film to ensure quality.
Luxo Sous Chef
- Salary: $62,362*
- Benefits: Employee discounts, free lunch and snacks, healthcare
- Required Experience: Minimum of five years in varied kitchen positions, at least three years in a similar role
- Required Education: N/A
As the sous chef, you will assist the Chef de Cuisine in managing the employees of the Luxo Cafe. You are also responsible for staffing and ensuring that the operations run smoothly under the quality and safety guidelines. You will be tasked to make sure that the cafe is compliant with food safety and handling requirements and with the maintenance of the kitchen equipment.
Project Manager, Software R&D
- Salary: $85,940*
- Benefits: Paid leave, 401K, life insurance
- Required Experience: Minimum of 4+ years in the software industry and/or film production, or related industry
- Required Education: N/A
A project manager in the Software R&D department is responsible for guiding the deployment of Pixar’s in-house movie production software. You will partner with engineering and production management to ensure the timeliness of project delivery and execution strategy. Your task also includes communicating with industry partners about open source software and procedures.
*This statistic is from Payscale’s Salaries for Pixar Animation Studios Employees (page 3)
**This statistic is from Payscale’s Salaries for Pixar Animation Studios Employees (page 1)
What Does It Take to Get a Job at Pixar?
A job at Pixar Animation Studios requires tons of creativity, hard work, and excellent knowledge of the technical aspects of film production and animation. While a Bachelor’s Degree in Design or Animation will give you an edge, it is best to learn 3D animation and animation tools through consistent practice.
How to Get a Job at Pixar FAQ
Pixar’s headquarters are located in Emeryville, California.
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The degree you will need to work at Pixar varies depending on the types of jobs you are applying for. Some jobs do not require a specific degree but will require you to have the technical expertise and excellence to execute the work.
Yes, Pixar is a good place to work, according to current and former employees who rate it 4.3 out of 5 overall on Glassdoor. Employee reviews said that they have a great time working for Pixar and on the projects assigned to them.
Pixar is better when it comes to work-life balance, culture and values, and business outlook, according to employees reviews on Glassdoor. Disney is better and has higher ratings in compensation, benefits, and career opportunities.
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