/News 15.03.23


Get to know Melissa Thirtle, Commercial Manager at Disney Studios Australia. With a decade of experience at the studios, Mel is a seasoned professional in the film industry. Her job involves managing relationships with over 50 studio tenants, providing impeccable service with her trademark can-do attitude and warm smile. Melissa’s passion for sustainability has translated into successful emission reduction targets and green initiatives that have had a positive impact on the entire studio.

In this interview, Melissa shares insights into her career journey, her proudest projects, and some of her top things to do in Sydney.

Could you tell us about your journey and how you became a Commercial Manager at Disney Studios Australia?

Property has always interested me. I started my career in real estate. Soon after, I moved into a conveyancing role so I’m familiar with both the sales and legal side of real estate. I’ve been at Disney Studios for 10 years now, working in various areas of the business from Production Services to Business Affairs, I think it was a natural progression into the Commercial Manager role with my career background. It also helps that I’m familiar with many people on the lot, having been here for 10 years. Those relationships are crucial in my role. 

As a Commercial Manager, what are some of your key responsibilities and how do they contribute to the success of Disney Studios Australia?

I’m responsible for managing the relationships of our studio tenants, we have over 50 onsite tenants which complement the creative ecosystem we provide at the studio. My team is made up of business affairs, customer service, marketing and sustainability. Much of what we do on a day-to-day basis is ensuring that our clients are provided with the highest level of customer service. Our commercial areas are currently at 100% capacity, I think that speaks volumes for the success of the team and the studio as a whole.

Tell us about the women you work with in your team:

Yasmine Lintmeijer and Melissa Thirtle at the ADG Awards

I’m extremely lucky to work with a wonderful team of women. It is a great working environment when you feel supported and trusted by the people around you, I think that’s what the team of women do for each other at Disney Studios. 

L-R: Kieran Cato (CATO Location Services Managing Director), Melissa Thirtle, Yasmine Lintmeijer (Head of Disney Studios), Anna Rosa (CATO Operations Manager)

Can you talk about a project or initiative that you have worked on at Disney Studios Australia that you are particularly proud of?

There are a few projects during my time at Disney Studios of which I’m particularly proud. I’ve been responsible for implementing many studio marketing initiatives, these include the launching of our social media pages, as well as designing new websites, and writing magazine articles, just to name a few. 

Also, as part of the Green Team at Disney Studios Australia, we’ve been focusing on our emission reduction targets, implementing Green Power across many of our tenanted buildings, as well as launching EV charging stations, we have a couple of larger emission reduction targets on the horizon too which I’m extremely proud to be a part of!

Green Power Launch

What advice do you have for women who aspire to work in the entertainment industry or in leadership positions?

At a recent International Women’s Day event, I was pleased to see so many women in leadership positions, whether it was in production, post-production, visual effects, government relations, finance or legal, women are sitting in elite leadership positions across all of these areas of the industry. I think there’s a common misconception that it is a male-dominated industry, which I don’t find to be the case. I encourage every woman who is interested in pursuing a career in entertainment to make themselves available to learn something new, whether it be through education, on-the-job training, internships, or attendance at industry events. 

International Women’s Day at Disney Studios Australia March 8th.

How do you like to spend your free time outside of work, and do you have any hobbies or interests that you’re particularly passionate about?

Pre-Covid, one of my greatest interests was travelling. I would pick up at least once a year and head overseas. Since then, I have learnt to value my time at home. I enjoy spending a lot of my free time with friends and family. I enjoy being outdoors, especially on a beautiful summer day. There’s nothing nicer than going for a beautiful long walk across the beach. I tend to walk everywhere on the weekends! I hate the word foodie, but boy do I love to eat. I spend a lot of time catching up with friends at one of the many beautiful restaurants Sydney has to offer. 

What’s your favourite thing about living in Sydney, and do you have any recommendations for places to visit or things to do in the area?

I love everything about living in Sydney! I love that it’s a big, bustling city in the heart of Sydney, but so closely surrounded by beautiful suburbs and beaches. I love that nothing is too far away from the city, an hour out, and you’ll find yourself in another beautiful town with so much to offer, whether you want to head rural, coastal, to the vineyards or mountains. There’s another world to discover just outside of Sydney.

What’s your favourite Disney movie or character, and why?

My favourite Disney movie would have to be Aladdin. I have fond memories of watching it every weekend with my sister. We watched it so often I can still recite the movie word-for-word. Why? Do I need to say any more than Robin Williams as the Genie?! 

Thanks Mel!