There are few organizations in the world that can claim more expertise when it comes to storytelling than Pixar. The Disney-owned animation studio is known for its ability to consistently create…
Pixar has released lessons on the technical sides of movie making before, but these lessons are an emphasis on storytelling itself. This reminds me of The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar written by a storyboard artist for Pixar. Some great insight into what makes a great story.
#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
I’m guilty of this… A lot.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
I wish more of Hollywood would follow this rule.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
Both of these are a nicer way of paraphrasing Kurt Vonnegut, “Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.”