From time to time I'm asked: "How does somebody get into animation?" And I always say that there are around a jillion different goat paths, many of them changing week to week. Here's one:
A friend suggested that [Bonnie Arnold] meet with then-Disney studio executive Peter Schneider to talk about working in animation. Arnold was skeptical because she knew nothing about that world. But she followed her mother's advice: "She always told me to 'meet everybody and don't ever refuse a meeting.' "
... [T]hat meeting proved pivotal. Schneider eventually tapped Arnold as producer on "Toy Story" ...
The elements everybody needs to enter and succeed in the biz were in place for Arnold. She had a work ethic and track record on some other, live-action movies, which got her the meeting with Schneider.
And she impressed Mr. Schneider enough to get tapped for a position on a small, upstart feature in Northern California that wasn't on anybody's radar. (At the time, Pixar was paying experienced L.A. artists premium wages to go up to the Bay area and work on their project. Lucre was the only way to lure them out of Los Angeles.)
Lastly, Bonnie Arnold had the good fortune to be attached to a movie that turned out to be not only a hit, but a trend-setter and career rocket ship. (The norm is being on board a picture that doesn't make its costs back.)
But no matter how much luck a person might have, it's useful to be able to deliver when opportunity bangs on the door. Based on the evidence, Ms. Arnold has certainly done that.