Storytelling tips from pixar animator

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Emma Coats, one of Pixar’s Story Artists, compiled narrative wisdom she has received while working for the animation studio over the years.

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Storytelling tips from pixar animator

  1. 1. Pixar’s 20 Rules of Storytelling Emma Coats, one of Pixar’s Story Artists, compiled narrative wisdom she has received while working for the animation studio over the years. Get creative! Imagine the innovative ways you can apply Pixar’s rules to your upcoming customer engagements to help you tell a better story, and make a deeper connection.
  2. 2. 1 Admire a character for TRYING more than for their successes
  3. 3. You have to keep in mind what is interesting to your AUDIENCE NOT what is fun to do as a writer. They can be very different 2
  4. 4. Creating a story around a theme is important, but you will not see what the full story is about until you are at the END. Now, RE-Write! 3
  5. 5. 4 Once upon a time, There was _____. Everyday _____. One Day _____. Because of that ____. Because of that ____. Until finally …
  6. 6. 5 Simplify. Focus. Combine characters Hop (or fly) Over Detours You will feel like you are losing valuable stuff BUT IT SETS YOU free
  7. 7. 6 What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the opposite at them CHALLENGE THEM. HOW DO THEY HANDLE IT?
  8. 8. 7 Come up with your Ending BEFORE YOU FIGURE OUT Your middle Seriously. Endings are hard, start here and work backwards
  9. 9. 8 FINISH YOUR STORY, let go Even if it is not perfect. Move on, take a break, and Do better next time
  10. 10. 9 When you are Stuck: • Make • A • List • Of • What • Would not • Happen • Next Usually, the material will inspire you to get unstuck.
  11. 11. 10 Pull apart: The stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you! You’ve got to recognize it before your can use it.
  12. 12. 11 Put it on paper! This allows you start working with it. If it stays in your head as an idea You will never be able to share it and develop it
  13. 13. 12 Ignore the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th! idea that comes to mind. Get the obvious of the way and surprise yourself
  14. 14. 13 Give your characters opinions! PASSIVE & MALLEABLE might seem likeable to you, but it is boring to the audience
  15. 15. 14 Why must you tell This story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That is THE HEART OF IT.
  16. 16. 15 If you were the character in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty Lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
  17. 17. 16 What are the stakes? GIVE US A Reason to root FOR THE CHARACTER. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against them!
  18. 18. 17 NO WORK IS EVER WASTED If it is not working, let go and move on – It will come back around and be useful later.
  19. 19. 18 YOU HAVE TO Know yourself! Know the difference between doing your best and fussing over details! Story is testing and not refining.
  20. 20. 19 Coincidences to get your characters into trouble are great. But, using them to get out of trouble is cheating
  21. 21. 20 W h a t i s t h e Essence of y o u r s t o r y? The most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

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