MANILA -- Imagine if a certain depressed video game villain named Ralph gave up on his dreams on becoming a hero and opted to just go about his pixelated life dedicated simply to making Fix It Felix Jr. look good. That wouldn't make for a very interesting premise for a Disney film, would it now?
Now if Josie Trinidad did something similar and pivoted her life around law school rather than pursue a career in animation, then we wouldn't be talking about her amazing work as the head of story for "Ralph Breaks the Internet," the forthcoming sequel to "Wreck-It Ralph."
"I'm sort of the poster child of someone who didn't give up," Trinidad tells ABS-CBN News in a recent interview, beaming with pride that she can count herself as one of the handful of Filipino-Americans who get to work at Disney.
"I worked really hard to get to where I am and I absolutely love what I’m doing. ...I’m living proof that dreams can come true."
That dream, Trinidad shared, was born when she just 11 watching the 1973 animated movie "Robin Hood" with a friend. They decided to pause it but weirdly it didn't completely stop.
Instead, it went forward slowly frame by frame and looking closer, she realized that these were drawings -- that someone drew these moving images. "That's when I knew that this was something that you could do so I started to draw after that," she said.
And drew she did -- in middle school, in high school, and in college. She may have majored in English literature at the University of California in Los Angeles but she never stopped. She practiced every day and her perseverance eventually paid off when it landed her at the California Institute of the Arts.
There, she studied character animation and picked up all she could to prepare her for the competitive animation industry -- a reality she faced right after graduation.
"I couldn't get a job and my dad would say, 'You know, maybe think about law school.' And I genuinely did," she recalled.
Trinidad explained that while her parents, who are both Filipino, have been mostly supportive of her dreams, she had always struggled to convince them that animation is more than just a hobby.
She understands her parents' concerns and ultimately credits them for instilling in her their "extremely hardwork ethic."
"That's definitely how I think I got into Disney. I worked really hard and I try to be the best that I could. Because law school was so slowly nipping at my heels, I felt like, ‘You know what, I really have to try and make this work.' Because I want it to."
That drive she got by being brought up by her Pinoy parents earned her the "magical" Disney internship as a story apprentice in 2004. This led to her working on animated favorites such as "The Princess and the Frog," "Tangled," and "Zootopia."
She's now the head of story for "Ralph Breaks the Internet." She puts her role simply as someone who helps visualize what the story team came up with for the movie's director.
Asked for her advice she would give to aspiring animators, Trinidad said: "Just don't give up."
"Ralph Breaks the Internet" releases on November 21.