Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Students discuss their work in class at the MESA center at American River College on April 25, 2024. (Photo: Cristian Gonzalez/CalMatters)
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Archives

    March is Women’s History Month

    Changing animation from the inside out: Pixar artist visits BCC

    Berkeley City College hosted Pixar story artist Valerie LaPointe on Fri., Feb. 19, for a joyful lecture appropriately titled “What a Joy!” LaPointe spent a few hours talking about her life, her work on the 2015 film “Inside Out” as well as other Pixar films, and her personal projects. 
    The moment LaPointe began to speak, it was tough to ignore her similarities to Inside Out’s protagonist, Joy, a physical representation of happiness inside the head of a little girl. With her cropped hair, unimaginably infectious smile, and warm friendly voice, LaPointe is Joy in a nutshell. 
    PixarLaPointe explained that only 10% of industry story artists are women; when she initially met the story artists for “Inside Out,” a story about an 11-year-old girl’s emotional journey through the challenges of changes and growing up, they all turned out to be men. 
    “Shouldn’t we have someone that used to be an 11-year-old girl?” she asked them. Of course, they emphatically agreed and brought her on board right away to help hash out what became one of the most emotional and successful Pixar stories ever made, with a lot of the details coming straight from LaPointe’s own childhood. 
    LaPointe shared images of entries from her childhood diary on the projector behind the podium, laughing along with the audience at some of her most embarrassing experiences and explaining how this diary that she’d forgotten about for years became part of the inspiration for “Inside Out.” 
    She spoke about how the other story artists thought her basic observations and experiences from a feminine perspective were “genius,” especially when she told them about how crying at school was one of her most painfully embarrassing experiences. That experience became a pivotal scene in the film when the young character experiences, for the first time, a happy memory becoming a sad and distant one. 
    As a child, LaPointe always loved animation. When she was 13 she wrote a letter to Disney full of ideas she had for new movies. They wrote back saying they loved her drawings and hoped she would go to school for animation, including a list of schools she could attend in the letter. And she did just that. 
    With so few women working in the animation industry, LaPointe’s perspective has been vital and revolutionary for Pixar, helping to create a film packed with some of the most fully realized and well-rounded female characters to ever grace the animated big screen.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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