Q&A with Benjamin Reese, Walt Disney Imagineer

first_imgBenjamin Reese, who graduated from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2010 with a degree in interactive entertainment, has a job which many on campus would envy: He works for Walt Disney Imagineering. The Daily Trojan spoke with Reese in a phone interview.Magic · Benjamin Reese graduated last May from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and helped create games for kids on the Disney Dream. – Courtesy of Benjamin Reese Daily Trojan: What does Imagineering mean?Benjamin Reese: Imagineering is the organization within Walt Disney Company which creates all of the attractions and experiences for the theme parks across the globe. We design, build and execute those projects. We also do work on the Disney cruise lines, so it’s actually a pretty large scope and we’re a pretty large organization.DT: Is there any specific project you work on?Reese: I assist in a lot of the projects in the first stage of development, a lot of conceptualization and brainstorming. I’m involved in a lot of those which unfortunately I cannot talk about. But there’s a few that I’ve been able to work on.The new Disney Dream [Cruise]— which just launched some of the interactive games in the kids’ space —  I was involved in some of the play-testing for that, as well as a project I actually produced and was in-charge-of-ish that just got installed in Walt Disney World in Epcot about a month ago, that’s called “Compose Your Own Figment.”It’s a little interactive kiosk experience where you create your own Figment character, and I got to be involved with that, which was a big privilege and a really great opportunity for an intern to be able to do something like that.DT: Did you always want to be an imagineer?Reese: I actually didn’t, I didn’t really know it was an option and didn’t really think about it too much — it just came out of nowhere. I’d always known what Imagineering was and thought that it was a really cool company, so it was really exciting to get the opportunity to work with them and work on some projects there. It’s been a great privilege.DT: How does what you learned at USC help you at your job?Reese: The interactive entertainment major is all about game design, and that’s something that has been very useful for me at my current job, because a lot of my job is thinking of fun guest experiences.DT: What types of activities were you involved in at USC?Reese: I played junior varsity hockey for the USC Trojans my freshman year; that’s a club sport. I was really heavily involved with InterVarsity Trojan Christian Fellowship on campus as well.DT: What was your favorite class at USC?Reese: That is a hard one. One of the ones that had the greatest impact on my personality and how I approach life was completely unrelated my major, it just affected the way I think and the way I act. It’s called Theater Games and Improvisation, THTR 122, with Eric Trules.DT: What is your best memory from USC?Reese: That’s very difficult. I think my consistent best memories are late-night TroGro runs.DT: What is one piece of advice you would give to current students?Reese: Diversify your experience. I know that’s kind of hard for some of the engineering students, but I was an interactive entertainment major, and I took classes in pretty much everything. I just took stuff that was really interesting to me.last_img

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