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BU alum talks about his work on Raya and the Last Dragon – The Daily Free Press

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Every premiere is thrilling, especially when it comes to working on a new Disney animated film.

Raya and the movie Last Dragon. Brian Gaugler, an alumnus of Boston University, worked on the film as a production assistant. COURTESY OF DISNEY

For a BU alumnus, 2019 was not only the year he graduated from college, but also started working on his first feature film with Walt Disney Animations: Raya and the Last Dragon.

Brian Gaugler, a former Questrom School of Business student, works as a production assistant for Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Disney is releasing its latest animated film, Raya and the Last Dragon, on March 5 in select theaters and with special access on Disney +. The film is Disney’s first animated film with a Southeast Asian main character.

It was a really great first experience for a movie, in part because there were a lot of premieres, Gaugler said, especially since the movie was pretty much one of the first to be shot almost entirely in the House.

The film follows Raya, a lonely young warrior on her quest through the epic fantasy world of Kumandra inspired by the geography and culture of Southeast Asia to find the last dragon to save her family and the kingdom.

The all-star cast has known names, including lead actress Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina and Sandra Oh.

Gaugler worked in the character animation department, he said, which defines the emotional beats of the characters.

Gaugler said he started working at the studio in November 2019. While working on Raya and the Last Dragon, he said the transition from working on a film in person to remote was one of his favorite parts of the project. .

We’ve all kind of had the experience of getting on our feet as fast as we can trying to keep the movie moving. He said: It was a hands-on experience that we all had together and it strengthened the bonds in my team.

Brian said his favorite part of the movie was seeing the character Sisu the Last Dragon after nearly the entire species sacrificed themselves to save humanity 500 years ago.

There was a lot of really fun two-way dialogue to create his character, he said, and see how the animators took that character and kind of followed him and brought him to life.

In terms of advice for students, Gaugler said staying active in creating and connecting with others in the field is important for students who want to be successful in the industry.

Whether it’s making this short with a friend, or getting your friends together to watch movies or maybe read scripts, it’s kind of keeping your mind flexing those creative muscles, he says. . And also meet people from the industry.

He added that, especially while students are in college, getting the most out of learning is another important step in preparing for their careers.

Students have a great opportunity to learn from people, he said. It’s kind of your job when you’re a student, so once you’re ready to try and get into the industry, you’ve got this nice toolkit that you’ve created yourself.

Debbie Danielpour, an assistant professor at the BU of Film and Television with a background in screenwriting, said her best advice for students is to look at their approach to taking a job and being disjointed.

Whatever opportunities will put you in front of the process or in front of people who will help you see the process and possibly get another opportunity, Danielpour said, you have to do it.

Chris Anderson, a film and television speaker, said networking, while difficult due to the pandemic, is also very important for success.

It’s a very personality-driven company, and people want to work with people who they get along with and work well with and who bring something to the party for them, Anderson said. All of this is best measured personally, interpersonally.

As for the sequel for him, Gaugler said he’s currently working on another recently announced film, Encanto.

At the end of the day, Gaugler said that any student aspiring to enter the industry must have a drive to succeed, which is evident at Walt Disney Animations.

It’s our love for stories and in particular for bringing those cartoons and animated characters to life through the animation process, said Gaugler, it’s what drives everyone at the studio.

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