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Wall-E and Toy Story Screenwriter Reveals the Clues to a Great Story

Warning: this video contains strong language

Last week we posted Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling, a list of 22 golden tips first tweeted by Pixar Story Artist Emma Coats.The article received a tremendous response and since then a number of people have mentioned to us this TED talk by Andrew Stanton.

Stanton was the writer for all three Toy Story movies, as well as being the writer/director for Wall-E, Finding Nemo and John Carter. In this captivating lecture Stanton talks about the early days of Pixar, storytelling without dialogue, and capturing a truth from your experiencing it.

Stanton also describes being taken at age five to see the Disney’s animated classic Bambi. Of this experience he says:

That’s what I think the magic ingredient is, the secret sauce, is can you invoke wonder. Wonder is honest, it’s completely innocent. It can’t be artificially evoked. For me, there’s no greater ability than the gift of another human being giving you that feeling — to hold them still just for a brief moment in their day and have them surrender to wonder. When it’s tapped, the affirmation of being alive, it reaches you almost to a cellular level. And when an artist does that to another artist,it’s like you’re compelled to pass it on. It’s like a dormant command that suddenly is activated in you, like a call to Devil’s Tower. Do unto others what’s been done to you. The best stories infuse wonder.




  1. Lynn Brunelle
    12 March 2013 / 8:45 am

    Terrific content. You’re Australian based? Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you in the USA. Best, Lynn Brunelle

    Lynn Brunelle

    Lynn Brunelle Productions

  2. 13 March 2013 / 12:10 am

    Fantastic. I’m glad I could see that. Thanks.

  3. Brendt Wayne Waters
    14 March 2013 / 3:54 am

    Anyone else notice that Stanton’s opening premise (after the joke) directly contradicts Coats’ rule #3?

  4. 1 October 2014 / 11:19 pm

    “Stanton was the writer for all three Toy Story movies”
    Technically, he was A writer for the three Toy Story films, but not the only one. Joss Whedon co-wrote the 1st one (along with others). Michael Arndt wrote the screenplay for Toy Story 3 (Stanton got story credit).

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