The opportunity to interview or visit with amazing, talented people, is such an exciting thing for me. Interviewing Monsters University’s producer, Kori Rae, was no different. As part of my class schedule and curriculum at Monsters University, I was able to interview a few of the key players in making Monsters University happen.
Kori Rae has produced and been a part of several animated films and features, including being an associate producer on Monsters Inc. I found it very cool that Kori Rae really just loves the world of Monsters, from Monsters Inc, and was excited to contribute to expanding that world with the creation of Monsters University.
Kori Rae speaks about the meaningfulness of the plot of Monsters University:
“I think when we started to discover and really get into the story of Mike, and how he overcomes failure, and not getting his dream, um, and kind of how he comes out of that, and how Sully helps him. Um, just the story about what do when that one door really, really closes, and it closes hard, and how do you kind of fin what the next thing is, or what you were really meant to do.
‘Cause sometimes you think you’re meant to do something, and then you discover that, well, that wasn’t really the thing. Then you find another route. So that part of the story is, um, is really meaningful to me, and I love that. And I’m super happy that we’re telling that story. That we’re telling it the story that if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything. It’s like, yeah, sometimes that is true, and sometimes you hit that brick wall, and you have to figure out where to go from there.
It’s happened to most of us, and when we talk to our friends, and our co-workers, most of the people working here, a lot of them had other dreams, and ended up here in a circuitous way, and so, um, I think that’s really cool. I love that part of the story.”
Kori Rae says that when she found out there was talk of creating a prequel to Monsters Inc., she wanted in on it and was happy it worked out that way!
I learned that at any given time, there were typically 30-40 people working on Monsters University. At their peak, the crew was as large as approximately 270 people working on the film! Sometimes it takes a village to make magical things happen!
Kori Rae discusses her education and career, prior to Pixar Studios.
“I majored in secondary education, in English, and I taught and coached right out of school for a little bit. And then decided to change directions and do other things, and that led me here to Pixar, eventually after a few years. Producing is definitely a lot like teaching and coaching, I think.
I taught eighth grade English. And then I coached volleyball, softball, and basketball. All three.”
What led Kori Rae to Pixar and film production:
“I wanted to go explore a little bit. I had kind of been an athlete all my life. I’d been involved in sports and everything, and I wanted to travel a little bit, and then I just wanted to, to explore other things. And so I did editing for a while, and journalism and stuff like that. And then there was a period where I just did a whole bunch of things, and it was fantastic. It was really great. I just wanted to discover more. I wanted to see what else was out there. So. And then ended up here, so that worked out…”
I was curious to know at what point in an animated film, the voices are recorded, and where. Kori Rae informed us that voice recording is done when the film is in storyboard phase or in layout phase. Oftentimes the talent will record at Pixar Studios and sometimes the Pixar team will travel to the talent. Much of the recording for Monsters University was done in LA, since a lot of the talent reside there, and some was also done in New York.
Learning more about Monsters University’s producer, Kori Rae, and the entire process, was such a treat. I love her take on the life lessons the film approaches. Can’t wait to see the entire movie! Monsters University hits theaters on June 21st, so stay tuned!!
I was provided with an all-expense paid trip by Disney, for the purposes of experiencing Pixar Studios and writing about it. All opinions expressed are my own.