Disney animator shares secrets of his success

Zach Parrish

Disney animator Zach Parrish talked about having the “best job in the world” during a visit to Teesside University for the annual Animex international festival of animation and computer games.

Zach, who was Head of Animation on Disney’s Big Hero 6, has also worked on big screen animation favourites such as Alvin the Chipmunks, Incredible Hulk, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Alice in Wonderland, Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph.

He said: “I was on Big Hero Six for over two years. It’s a very long process and is a big job, but they are some of the best people in the world to work with.

“I wanted to be a Disney animator since I was a kid. We’re making such good movies, with so much heart and soul. It’s amazing. It’s the best job in the world.”

He added: “With every film we try to create unique stories and unique characters that have an emotional resonance with the audience.”

Making his first trip to the UK for Animex, Zach, who lives in Los Angeles, said: “It’s been awesome and Animex is such a cool festival for students and professionals alike. It’s unlike anything I’ve been to. It’s a pleasure to be here and it’s fun to be in the UK for the first time.”

He added: “Disney sends representation every year to Animex, so I’ve heard many positive things from those who have been. I’m very excited, as there’s a lot of amazing talent out there.”

His advice to aspiring animators hoping to follow in his footsteps to Disney is to work hard, adding: “When I was a student and getting into the industry I was always incredibly passionate and devoted to pushing myself, you have to get feedback and advice on how you can improve and grow. I think Animex provides a huge opportunity for students to get the perspective of different people from so many different aspects of the industry.

“It’s amazing to keep students on the cutting edge of the industry as it’s rapidly changing, so to have a recurring event such as Animex, to bring what’s new all into one place and allow us to interact with one another is invaluable.”

He added: “After speaking to students at Teesside University it’s great to hear they’re learning foundational lessons in all areas of animation and discovering where they want to fit in within that world.”


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