Though Kori Rae has lived in San Francisco for the last 18 years, she was born and raised in New Jersey. In high school, Kori Rae moved to Florida and then attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Kori Rae began working at Pixar Animation Studios in 1993. She started in the Shorts Division as a Commercial producer. She then worked as an Animation Manager on “A Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story 2″, an Associate producer on “The Incredibles” and “Monsters, Inc.”, and ultimately had the opportunity to Produce Monsters University.
While we were speaking with Kori Rae, I found it so interesting that at it’s basic premise Monsters University really paralleled part of her life, and then I realized it also paralleled mine and many others I knew. When you’re sitting in a room of people and so many can say they identify with a movie you know it’s something special. For instance, when Kori Rae went to college she majored in secondary education, English specifically. She also coached basketball, volleyball and softball. But then she got to a point where she wanted to do other things.
“I wanted to go explore a little bit. I had been an athlete all my life. I’d been involved in, in sports and everything, and I wanted to go, to travel a little bit, to explore other things. And so I did editing and journalism for a while. 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, to discover more. I wanted to see what else was out there. “
When I was able to ask her if she saw a reflection of herself in Monsters University, she elaborated on this further.
Yes, the story of Mike and how he overcomes the failure and how Sully helps him. What do you do when that one door really closes and it closes hard. Or you think you’re meant to do something and you discover that really wasn’t the thing. How do you find what the next step is and what you were really meant to do. IF you work hard enough, you can achieve anything. Sometimes thats true and sometimes you hit a brick wall and you have to figure out where to go from there. It’s happened to most of us, 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. That’s part of the story, and it’s really meaningful to me – I love that.
Her experience, my experience, Mike and Sully’s experience resonates with so many people that is what’s great about Monsters University, it’s identifiable.
“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Robert Burns.
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY releases in theaters on June 21st! Register for classes online:
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