Storytelling Tips From Pixar Studios

Storytelling Tips From Pixar Studios

via Galleycat

Pixar Animation Studios storyboard artist Emma Coats recently shared storytelling tips on Twitter--22 in all. The Pixar Touch blog has collected these items into a single post. It's a good list. Whatever your thoughts are on Pixar, it's pretty hard to dispute that they're really good at telling stories.

Here are three of my favorites: 

5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

Check out the full list, then come back and tell us your favorite. Better than that, tell us what you would add to the list.

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Chris Pleasance's picture
Chris Pleasance June 8, 2012 - 7:50am

Tip to add: learn what advice/criticism you need, and what you don't. If you spend all your time following every bit of advice you get given, you'll never get anywhere.


Also, a piece of advice once given to my by a professor who used to tutor me: Writing is like playing golf. You've got to learn so many things: how to stand, how to hold the club, how to account for the wind, what do do if you're stuck in the long grass. But when it comes to taking the swing, you have to put it all out of your mind and just swing. The same is true of writing. If you're over-thinking it and second guessing yourself all the time, you won't get anywhere. The fundamentals are important, but when it comes to the act of writing, just sit down and write. 

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading a lot more during the quarantine June 8, 2012 - 8:16am

I like the golf analogy.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 8, 2012 - 10:54am

Tip to add: Allow something good to happen to the character at some point that isn't just setting them up for a fall, even if it is minor. Not everything positive in a story should come from he antagonists' actions.

cshultz81's picture
cshultz81 from Oklahoma is reading Best Horror of the Year Volume 8 June 8, 2012 - 11:38am

How about the most famous writing tip of all: show, don't tell? Let us see a character's passion, rather than simply telling us s/he is passionate. An evil character's nastiness should arrise from nefarious actions, not merely from the descriptors evil, nasty and nafarious.

Great tips all around.