Barely in his mid-twenties, Erik Benson made a quick transition from college student to Pixar artist where he’s already made invaluable contributions to Toy Story 3 and the upcoming Cars 2. Armed with a long-held dream of working for Pixar, Benson enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts in 2006.
As part of the curriculum, CalArts students make a film every year and scouts from big studios such as DreamWorks and Pixar attend the screening.
“That was actually my motivation to apply to CalArts,” Benson said. “You get to meet these guys you admire and look up to.”
The feeling was mutual after the scouts saw Benson’s second-year film, “The Airship Danger.”
“It was just a pilot, fighting his pet monkey for the love of a girl,” Benson said with a laugh. “And it all takes place on the wing of a biplane.”
The Pixar team invited Benson to their studio in Emeryville for an internship during the summer of 2008. He immediately went to work on “Toy Story 3” and was soon hired on full time, finishing the Oscar-nominated film six months later.
It’s nice to hear a story of someone realizing their dream and having a blast along the way. Check out the full story here.