Harvard '19, Computer Science & Studio Art

Disney Studio Tech

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I worked as a Product Development Intern within Studio Technology at the Walt Disney Studios during the summer of 2018, at the studio lot in Burbank, CA.

 
 

User Classes + Personas for Disney Music Group

 

I worked on documentation of user classes, personas and use cases for the current software system within the Disney Music Group. This was split up into both Licensing and Repertoire systems. As the software system architecture is under development to best fit user needs and data alignment, I also provided recommendations for the future state based on the overall use cases and users. Through this, I uncovered critical information about the detailed interweaving of multiple software systems currently in use by the Disney Music Group as well as redundancies in user actions.

Due to legal reasons, I cannot publicly share these final documents.

 

Rights Management Systems

 

I worked on evaluation rights management systems for the Disney Music Group. I looked specifically at a new software in consideration to see if it would be a good fit for Disney Music Group’s future system architecture, as well as if its features were beneficial to be configured for a music rights system. After speaking with Disney Music Group users and digging deeper into the software options, my ultimate recommendation was to revamp the a current software system to implement a prioritized list of features solving for current rights management use cases that would best optimize for Disney Music Group’s most prominent and urgent needs.

 

Ideathon

 

I had the opportunity to work with 5 other Studio interns, each who worked in a wide variety of roles (not just technology). We were posed the question ““In what ways can the Studio better drive digital content to the global millennial market?” At first this seemed almost like a cliched topic, but it turned out to be a fascinating project topic because the millennial age group is the one Disney often struggles to engage most (it is in between the age of young kids and the adults who bring young kids to the movies, but it’s an age group that can play on the idea of nostalgia). I dug deep into Instagram data and strategy of several of the Disney accounts and found some interesting conclusions to inform future strategy. One such conclusion is that image posts get nearly 3x the average engagement than video, even though Disney primarily posts videos.

We presented our final set of ideas at the Ideathon at the end of our internship.

 
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Disney provided me the opportunity to not only work on projects during my internship but also to spend time learning. A few of my primary learning takeaways are as follows:

  • I spent a lot of time digging deeply into the entire spectrum of the music business, something I knew very little about, and something I had no idea involved such complexity. This informed my understanding of the multiple software systems and data management used by the Disney Music Group.

  • I learned a lot about the technicalities of product development as a whole. I absolutely loved reading Software Requirements: Developer Best Practices, for example.

  • I learned about the structure of Disney Music Group and its complex mass of data as well as employee user role. I learned significantly about the studio and technology through core curriculum classes.

  • I learned a lot about Disney at large. I know very little about classic Disney movies and have never watched movies like Aladdin. This summer definitely caught me up on my Disney trivia!

 
 

Disney’s internship was one that was well-structured, well-rounded and a complete experience—beyond simply the office. A few of my favorite experiences, outside of direct work, included:

  • Studio Lot tour

  • Intern discussions with Studio Tech leaders

  • Core Curriculum

  • Women@Disney events

  • Intern-Specific Events

    • Kickoff

    • Disneyland Day

    • Former Intern Panel

  • Disneyland 5k

 
 

While my time at Disney was fairly short—just 11 weeks—I left the internship with many takeaways. While the above page mentions much about the concrete items I learned, from music business to product development skills, as well as concrete projects I worked on, my learning went beyond concrete abilities as well:

  • I learned a lot about how product development fits into the overall technology experience, and this better informs me when I’m making decisions of planning my career and whether I want to focus on software engineering, product development, etc.

  • I learned a lot about how technology plays a role in a company as big as Disney. One of the reasons I chose this internship (because as mentioned earlier I actually know very little about Disney movies) is because I think Walt Disney is one of the greatest tech innovators of our time, right up there with Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. I did really get to see that innovation this summer, seeing how everything Disney does really is informed by the power of technology.