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This Student’s Entrepreneurial Mindset Landed Him a Job at Disney

Still from "The Present" Still from "The Present"
Still from "The Present" Jacob Frey — Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg/Vimeo

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When you meet someone, do you find yourself studying their every move, from their facial expressions to their mannerisms to their posture? Are you fascinated by the art of movement and how it translates to the big screen? Well, if you’re an aspiring animator who answered yes to both of these questions, keep on producing because you might just get hired by Disney (DIS).

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Think this is far-fetched? Not in 2016. Animation student Jacob Frey was offered a job by the cartoon movie giant for a mini film he created as part of his final thesis project at German art school Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg. The 4-minute short, titled “The Present,” took Frey almost a year and a half to produce, but once it finished, it slowly caught the attention of millions—which just goes to show that hard work truly does pay off.

After circulating over a hundred film festivals in 2014, “The Present” garnered international praise, including 59 awards across North America, Europe, and Asia. It eventually caught the eye of Disney, who reached out to Frey and offered him a spot in their one-year Talent Development Program. Upon moving to Los Angeles, he worked as trainee on the production team for one of Disney’s latest films, Zootopia. Following the completion of the program, Frey moved back to Germany for a few months before being hired full-time by Disney in March 2016 as an animator for the upcoming film, Moana.

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“Ever since I started my studies at the Filmakademie, it was always my ultimate goal to join Disney,” Frey said in a statement to Animation World Network. “I think that if you love your work and if you work hard enough on accomplishing your goal, you can actually make your dreams come true.”

Check out where his career began in the four-minute clip below. Before you watch, grab some tissues in advance because the moving story of a boy and his new pet puppy is sure to pull at your heartstrings.

The Present – Official from