Response to; The Pixar Story Rules

Jenny Brandt

This reading was one of my favorites because, not only was it short and easy to read, but also it was really interesting. I was intrigued by the title as well because this is exactly what I want to do once I graduate.

Before even reading the list of rules, I expected the list to be long and boring. I was certainly surprised. Most of the rules were abstract and unique. Number 12 for example, said, “Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th — get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.” I really liked this rule because it seems so easy to go with your first idea. But in creating animations, it seems understandable to re-create and discard new ideas because you’re working with so many other people on new ideas and storylines.

Rule number 19 is one of my favorites. It states: “Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.” I love this one because I think of Toy Story. When Woody gets put in a box to get donated when Andy goes off to college, it makes it clear that this was an upsetting coincidence that Woody was put in this situation. Even better, this situation adds rise to a future climax to the story. The way the writers got Woody out of the situation was tense and definitely not cheating. Woody had to struggle and depend on his toy friends to escape the situation. There was no coincidence to get him out of the situation; he and his friends fought to get out of it.

Another point that caught my eye was rule number 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 v. different.” I found this interesting because one of the reasons I want to go into this industry is because of the creative aspect. I always thought that the way to create new animations was starting with your own interests. I guess I have a lot to learn because I now have to look at new creations from the point of view of the audience, which seems very difficult.

Lastly, I really liked how, whoever wrote this article, related most of their points back to the reader (and/or creator). It made the points personal and understandable. An example of this would be the questions to ask yourself; What you like in them is a part of you, why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? etc. These questions make you think deeper and help you to relate to the story being created; which I believe is key to making a successful story.