Drawn to Excellence

Class of 2018 Film and Television Production graduate Anika Jess recently wrapped a highly competitive summer internship with Pixar Animation Studios in the Bay area. The Walnut Creek, Calif. native lent her talents to the mega studio’s executive feature pod, assisting with several exciting projects currently in their pipeline.


“It was a wonderful learning experience and a great opportunity to network with others in my field,” Anika said. “I’ve always loved the idea of working in animation because the world is yours to create.”

Anika has no shortage of internship experiences under her belt, key when pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. She previously interned in story development and production at Village Roadshow Pictures, London Alley Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation and the Disney College Program, among others.

LMU currently offers students more than 1,500 internship opportunities every semester, as well as an award-winning office of Career and Professional Development that provides services such as resume crafting, interviewing etiquette, Career Coaches and more.

A transfer student from Sonoma State University, Anika was drawn to the bluff for its top-ranked School of Film and Television and its reputation for having an attentive faculty.

“My classes definitely prepared me to apply the skills I learned in real-world settings,” Anika said. “At LMU you are always surrounded by such creativity and caring professors – the film school brought out the best in me and I don’t think I’d be where I am today without it.”

One of Anika’s favorite courses she took was Screenwriting 220 with Professor David Clawson, in which she wrote a feature-length animated film. “Marco” tells the story of two unlikely friends, a polar bear and puffin, who try to save their home amidst global warming.

“It was just amazing to be in such a creative, collaborative environment,” Anika said. “It really brought the most creativity out of you, and I think David Clawson is one of the best professors at LMU.”

Outside of her classes Anika stayed busy with a campus job with Transfer Enrollment Services, was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity and was a Resident Advisor.

Looking to the future, Anika hopes to work her way up the industry ladder and become a creative producer in animation, but is content to just pay her dues in the meantime.

“Besides being great learning experiences, my internships at DreamWorks and Pixar really cemented my love of animation and family storytelling,” she said.

As for what advice Anika has for future Lions?

“Don’t be afraid to fail – take chances and be as involved as you can,” she said. “LMU has access to so many resources, especially within the industry, which will allow you to grow immensely. And things that you are extremely passionate about may lead you in another direction entirely – let them.”