Brian Menz is an animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Brian was born and raised in Rochester, New York, the land of Kodak and birth place of film. He went to St. Ambrose (elementary school), Northeastern Catholic Jr. High, Bishop Kearney High School and then left his hometown to attend Edinboro University of Pennsylvania to learn hand drawn animation.
Brian's first animation job was an internship at Animatus Studio in Rochester, New York. And his first big break into the industry was at DNA Productions in Dallas, Texas working on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. After graduating from Edinboro, all the hand drawn animation jobs dried up, so he taught himself computer animation in his sister's attic. Then a group of friends from college that had been hired onto the Jimmy Neutron T.V. series invited me to come stay with them while they taught me how to use the animation software Maya. DNA was looking for animators at the time and his friends believed that with some guidance he could be in the running.
He would find lines of dialogue from movies online and animate a robot character performing the line. Brian did several of these robot animations and eventually met their supervisors and got feedback from them. It came time to fly home, and his friends told me, he should miss his flight and stay a bit longer and animate some more. Not something he wanted to do with a dwindling bank account. But Brian took a leap of faith, tossed out his valuable return flight ticket, and stayed. Brian did one more robot animation and one of his friends showed it to his supervisor, then he told me, they are getting real close to hiring someone, you should do a shot with two characters in it. So Brian stayed up until 6 in the morning trying to find the perfect line of dialogue with two characters in it only to receive a call a few hours later getting offered the job. To which he said, "yes!" To this day, he doesn't know who built that robot character, but he's extremely grateful they did. And yes, his friend knew he was going to get the job when he sent me frantically working on the two characters' animation!
After Jimmy Neutron, Brian worked on his first feature film, The Ant Bully at DNA. Then he moved to Portland, Oregon to make the replacement faces for the stop motion film Coraline at Laika. My third film fulfilled his childhood dream, getting to work here at Disney animating on Bolt. Then Brian moved to New York, animating for Blue Sky Studios on Ice Age 3, Rio, and Ice Age 4 before returning back to Disney to work on Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, and now Zootopia. My first four movies were at four different studios in four different cities.