Wider Horizons

Johannes Tacskovics is a senior Flash developer, a job title that might pique interest among readers,disney's flash or might not, depending on your familiarity with the technology. But add to his title “for Disney,” and it’s difficult to not be curious as to how a Lethbridge College Multimedia Production (2000) grad from Fort Macleod wound up in Los Angeles working for the mouse clique. Wider Horizons found out all it took was talent, determination and a spot of luck.

Wider Horizons: Wow, Disney; pretty cool?

Johannes Tacskovics: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. My friends and relatives back in Canada think it’s a big deal. But I’m the same person I always was. I get the occasional requests for passes to Disneyland.

WH: So how did you wind up in North Hollywood?

JT: For my Lethbridge College program, I did my practicum in Germany (Tacskovics moved to Fort Macleod from Germany when he was a youngster) where I picked up Flash. I came back to Canada just after the dot.com bubble burst, so it took five or six months to find a job. That’s not unusual; it sometimes takes a while. I did some web design for a small Calgary company, then. Just after September 11 [2001), there were a lot of layoffs. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Fortunately, my Multimedia classes at Lethbridge College transferred to bachelor of communications studies at the University of Calgary. After graduation, I worked for Critical Mass, a Calgary ad agency, which set me on a path for Disney. My first account there was Dell computers. You have thousands of people looking at the work you do. Critical Mass had several A-list clients: I did some work for Rolex and Mercedes Benz. Critical Mass sent me to a conference in Boston, where Disneyhad a booth. A former colleague was working at Disney, so I inquired whether he was at the conference; he wasn’t, but awhile later, I got a call from Disney asking me if I’d like to hear about the opportunities of working in California. It was flattering. After a series of interviews, I was hired in the fall of 2007.

WH: How did that go?

JT: The first few months were a bit overwhelming. My first day on the job, I got the basic orientation from HR on the Disney lot and heard all about the Disney history. It was the day of the Disney corporate Christmas Party at Disneyland, so all the new hires got invited. It was pretty good.

WH: Had you been to Disneyland before?

JT: It’s funny; instead of a prom during my grad year in high school in Fort Macleod, we decided to drive to Southern California and visit all the theme parks, including Disneyland. That was my first time. If you had asked me then, I would have had no idea I’d be working here one day. My little brother is 10 years younger than I, and when he graduated high school, his class did the same thing; 10 years later, I got to meet him at Disneyland.

WH: So what’s the lifestyle like?

JT: It’s pretty interesting. We have our deadlines around special launches and there are some crunch times, but that doesn’t happen every day. When I’m not at work, I explore Southern California. I grew up snowboarding at Castle Mountain; here, I’m a couple of hours from ski hills and 40 minutes from the beach.

WH: And the work lifestyle?

JT: In Calgary, which is centred on the oil and gas industry, you meet people involved in that industry. In L.A., its entertainment, so you meet people in the entertainment industry. Like all the TV I grew up with, here you meet the people who worked on it. Just like in Calgary, you wind up talking shop.

WH: Where can readers see your work?

JT: On Disney.com. Just click the buttons on the left-hand side. Flash is a multimedia platform that adds interactivity to web pages. Flash developers can use it to create animation, various web page components, and to integrate video into web pages. On the Disney.com site, content seen by clicking on the games, Videos, My Page and Characters buttons found on the top left of the home page, runs on a Flash framework.

Wider Horizons
Lethbridge College
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