Over on his blog, Disney story artist Paul Briggs answers the question of how to make a successful career for yourself in the animation industry. I won’t repeat it here because you really do need to read the full post. However, suffice to say, hard work absolutely plays a part. Much more than just hard work, a deep desire and long-term goals can help get you where you to where you want to go.
To add on to Paul’s points, I can honestly say that luck also plays a factor. Although I hasten to emphasise that when I say luck, I mean to say that you have to be receptive and open to opportunities. Sometimes you may have to seek them out, sometimes the end result will be hardly connected to the decision that made it possible in the first place, but either way, if you can spot the opportunites and act accordingly, you will become an exceedingly lucky person.
I say all of this from experience of course. 🙂