Archives For Pixar

Michael Arndt is the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine. He wrote the first draft of this, his debut script, in just three days (but went on to do around 100 revisions before the film was finally made). His second script was Toy Story 3, for which he also received an Academy Award nomination.

In the following short film Arndt shares how a close examination of Toy Story 1, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, and a better understanding of how the early stages of these scripts set up their characters, helped his own writing process.

Fellow screenwriter John August (Go, Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels) contacted Arndt about the insights he shares. Arndt explained:

I’m aware the model I set up here applies imperfectly to Toy Story 3 itself. (It applies much more cleanly [for example] to Tootsie, which I consider one of the best comedy first acts of all time.) The broader point is that the emotional fuel for your first act break is largely set up in your inciting incident — and that is something that does apply to Toy Story 3.

Continue Reading…

As 2013 draws towards a close, we thought it would be a good opportunity to share the 10 most popular posts on our site from throughout the year.

10.   10 Great Podcasts for Writers

10 Great Podcasts for Writers

Continue Reading…

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling were first tweeted by story artist Emma Coats in 2012. Alex Eylar, aka ICanLegoThat, has taken 12 of these rules and illustrated them using Lego. Enjoy!

1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

Pixars Rules of Storytelling in Lego

Continue Reading…

1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
 
Continue Reading…
Back to the Story Spine by Kenn Adams - aerogrammestudio.com
A guest post by Kenn Adams. Kenn is a teacher, author and the Artistic Director of Synergy Theater.

I created the Story Spine in 1991 and, over the years, I’ve been thrilled to watch more and more people use it, teach it, discuss it, and even modify it in order to make it their own. One of my favorite modifications is the addition of “And, the moral of the story is…” at the very end. Over time, however, some of its permutations have become less powerful, I think, than the original due to a missing link here or a different word there. So, I’m happy to present it here in its original 8-line format along with a brief analysis, a couple of interesting examples, and some tips on how to best make use of it.

Continue Reading…

A guest post by Brian McDonald. Brian is an award-winning writer and director. He is also a sought after instructor and consultant who has taught story structure seminars at Pixar, Disney Feature Animation and Lucasfilm’s ILM. Here he shares his advice on the natural way to tell stories.

Ever since Quentin Tarantino’s film Pulp Fiction was released, people have talked in awe about how that film and others have played with traditional notions of story structure. That film tells its story out of sequence and is therefore innovative, or so the reasoning goes. This is a mistake. Telling stories out of sequence is actually as traditional as it gets.

The idea that story structure is ruled by linear chronology is a common error. As I have often written, and told students, one must look at how stories are told in real life. One must study stories not in their written form, or some other medium like TV or films, but in their natural habitat.

Continue Reading…

Once Upon a Time
In 2012 Pixar Story Artist Emma Coats tweeted 22 storytelling tips using the hashtag #storybasics. The list circulated the internet for months gaining the popular title Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling. We reposted this list two weeks ago and the response has been phenomenal with thousands of likes, shares, comments and emails.

Since posting the story, a number of people have contacted us regarding rule number 4 on the list, also know as ‘The Story Spine':

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

Reports were that this tip did not originate with Pixar but instead with writer/director/teacher Brian McDonald. Intrigued, we contacted Brian to find out more. He replied as follows:

Continue Reading…