UT alumna,‘Ralph Break the Internet’ screenwriter Pamela Ribon talks writing, new era of princess

Savannah J Salazar

"Ralph Breaks the Internet” is the sequel to the 2012 hit “Wreck-It Ralph.” The latest installment follows the lovable duo Ralph and Vanellope as they venture from Litwak’s arcade to the Internet. While Ralph is the titular character, the sequel focuses more on the small, energetic racer Vanellope, exploring life changes and friendships in an all too honest way.

One of the writers behind the ambitious, yet sincere sequel is
Pamela Ribon, a UT alumna. Ribon has worked on numerous projects including a novel, comic books and plays. Ribon is also the brains behind the iconic princess scene as well as Snow White’s voice actress in “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” Along with revamping the princesses for the sequel, Ribon previously worked on “Moana,” helping usher in a new era of strong Disney princesses. To say that her resume is impressive is an understatement.

The Daily Texan spoke with Ribon about co-writing “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” her iconic princess scene and some of her favorite
UT moments.

Daily Texan: This movie tackles a lot of topics universal to adults and kids. When you’re writing these stories, are you conscious of writing for both kids and adults?

Pamela Ribon:  We don’t really think of these things as kids’ movies. We think of them as movies. Our demographic is every single person in the whole wide world, but you try not to let that be so daunting. You start by sharing your own stories, vulnerabilities and insecurities to each other. I also often try to think about what is a story I wish I had gotten to see when I was younger, or something I would have liked to learn about a bit earlier.

DT:  Let’s talk about the princess scene. From before you pitched the idea, following up to the release, you were nervous about everyone’s reactions to it. Now that the movie has been seen by a wide general audience, how has the response made you feel?

PR:  You know, now it seems equally impossible that it exists. There were so many ways it could have not worked or been cut. It’s just so cool, and everyone got on board and made it so special. I don’t know if lightning in a bottle is the right phrase for it, but I’m aware of how vulnerable that piece is. I’m so grateful that everyone loved it like we all did when we first started working on it.

DT:  What advice would you give to students hoping to act, screenwrite or anything else in the
entertainment industry?

PR:  Do stuff all the time. Make things and not just stuff that people respond to, but start figuring out the audience you write for. Figure out what stuff feels like you, because that’s your voice. I submitted a play when I was at UT and the coverage I got back said ‘Funny, but lacks a point of view.’ I was like ‘agh’ but started thinking, ‘What is that?’ I hadn’t really thought about what it was that I was trying to say besides the fact that I wanted it to be funny. So, I began working on that next layer, and here I am.