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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Once upon a time... » » Pixar’s 22 Guidelines for Storytelling: (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

SpellbinderEntertainment
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Pixar’s 22 Guidelines for Storytelling:

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

#2: You gotta keep in mind what's interesting to you as an audience, not
what's fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won't see what the story is
actually about until you're at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was 1- ___. 2- Every day, ___. 3- One day ___. 4- Because of that, ___. 5- Until finally ___.

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

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar
opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously.
Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it's not perfect. In an ideal world
you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#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.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of
you; you've got to recognize it before you can use it.

#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.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to
you as you write, but it's poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What's the belief burning within you
that your story feeds off of? That's the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel?
Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What
happens if they don't succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it's not working, let go and move on -
it'll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best &
fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

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

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How do you
rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, your can't just write
something cool'. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What's the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If
you know that, you can build out from there.

Do It!
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
Silvertongue
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Great stuff to get you thinking creatively. Thanks for sharing this.
For as long as space exists,
And living beings remain in cyclic existence,
For that long, may I too remain,
to dispel the sufferings of the world.
-Shantideva

Engaging in the Conduct of a Bodhisattva
Eddie Garland
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Thanks Walt!
Motley Mage
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Hi Walt--
These are great! I teach writing and much of this resonates with what I tell my classes all the time, but having Pixar back me up would give what I say some additional "cred." Can you tell me where you found this? Another big part of what I teach is crediting the (original) source. I promise to give you a mention, too!
curtgunz
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This is GREAT. I'd like to read where it came from to. I love behind the scenes stuff (how the sausage is made) from stuff like this.
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dave johnson
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This is a great resource and is much appreciated!
Tamariz
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This is an amazing list that should inspire many. Thank you for sharing.
ApprenticeWizard
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Excellent list. Anybody got a #23 to add? Here's one I've found useful:

23. Identify the line or two in your story that invokes the greatest emotional response, then ask yourself what you could do to make that response even stronger.
Magically yours,
Tom Olshefski
Jailhouse Jonny
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JessicaSilver
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Thanks, Walt! A great read!
wwhokie1
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Thanks, an excellent list to inspire creativity
Siddharta
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Great stuff !
Tom Jorgenson
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That was like a Christmas Present. Thanks!
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
MagicKingdom10
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Wow these are some really awesome recommendations! Good story plots really do enhance the magical effects that much more! I like listening to Mr Eugene Burger when he performs magic, the story line is completely in sync with the sleight moves and the effect becomes very memorable indeed Smile
Thank you for sharing these tips Walt!
I Love You God Smile
R. Steiner
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This is gold! Thanks for sharing!
Geoff Akins
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This is JUST what I need at the moment! My family and I love Pixar and great storytelling in all its forms. I learned years ago that a film (or trick, etc) could be slick and full of special effects but if it didn't have Heart then it was somehow empty. How powerful a marriage of both great story AND great effect/trick/cinematography.
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