Q&A with Josie Trinidad, Head of Story of Disney's 'Ralph Breaks the Internet'

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Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz are back! And this time, they will be going to the uncharted world of the internet, which can be a fun and overwhelming for some! Ralph Breaks the Internet is the follow-up to Disney's Wreck-It Ralph, and is the first sequel to also be created by the team behind the original film. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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One of the people behind the said team is Filipino-American Josie Trinidad, whose credited works include Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, and Zootopia. For the upcoming film, she takes on the role of Head of Story, where she oversees the team in charge of translating the script to its virtual form. 

Two weeks before the film breaks into the Philippine cinemas, we got to have a quick chat with Josie Trinidad in a round table interview where we talked about her beginnings in the industry, her favorite characters from the movie, and more! 

Can you talk more about the moment when you found that you work in animation?

My best friend and I were watching Robin Hood and this was on VHS, if you remember what that is. We paused it, but it started to play fram by frame, and I saw what I thought were characters that were alive. I saw these individual, beautiful drawings, and then I knew that there was a person behind those drawing. That this is something that I could do, because I also love to draw, and I loved art. That's when I really knew that this was a career that you could have.

Photo: Disney 

What is the most challenging task of transforming the script to visual or animation?

The most challenging part is facing the blank page. It's so daunting – you know – growing up loving Disney animation, to not be overwhelmed with the idea that everyone's going to watch this movie, and it's going to be all over the world. Sometimes, it can be very overwhelming, especially when I was first starting out. But then I get over that initial fear, and then I just start to draw.

When I'm issued a sequence, I'll ask the director really important questions, like what is the purpose of this sequence? How does it fit with the overall story, and what are the changes that you want to see? And then I try to gauge how much wiggle room is here. How much can I, maybe, veer off script, and once I gather all the information and do a lot of research, then I find something that I can connect to in the material. It starts to come out naturally.

It's just as writers too, you know. It's kind of [about] starting out and getting over that initial fear. Then somehow, you just feel like you know the material and then you just kind of go with it.

Photo: Disney 

Which of the new and returning characters from the film are you most excited for people to see?

I love Ralph and Vanellope! They're my favorites. As Disney characters, I love that they're renegades, that they're sort of rebels. They're a little bit [of an] anti-hero, they're funny and a little immature. So I love seeing Ralph and Vanellope, but I love Felix too. So you'll see some old characters from the arcade make an appearance, but then you also meet some new, fun characters like Yesss, the algorithm from BuzzzTube. I think she's voiced by Taraji P. Henson, who is one of my favorite actresses.

I love that we can bring to life something like an algorithm – a digital character – and these netizens into this world. I think, it's pretty fun and amazing. I love seeing the Disney Princesses in their, sort of, off-hours, you know. [The Disney Princesses] are in their comfy clothes, and [are] able to relax, and we get to see another side of them. That's really fun and exciting. The Disney Princesses are there for a reason. They're there to help our characters on their journey, so you might find that they play a bigger role later on in the movie. 

Do you have any dream or bucket list projects, or previous animations you wish you were a part of?

I have to say, I love working with Rich Moore and Phil Johnston. Those are our directors. They are hilarious. I grew up not only watching Disney, but watching The Simpsons, and I found that Rich directed a lot of episodes that I loved, that I found hilarious. So this opportunity to work with them, and to have been working with them for now, for almost, like, 10 years is amazing. It's hilarious. It's fun. It's challenging, and I want to continue to make more great films with them.

What's your advice for young people who want to be animators?

I would say that when you get into animation, it's a little crazy. I mean, animation is 24 frames per second, so you have to draw. Everything you see on the frame has been crafted by a human being. You know that there's so much thought into a single frame, and that's coming from the artists. It's very painstaking. It's a laborious process, but it's a labor of love. So I think you really have to love animation very deeply.

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Ralph Breaks the Internet is directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston. The film, distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, premieres on November 21. For the screening schedule, you may check out this link

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