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How Pixar Tells a Story

One of the great animated movie companies in the world is Pixar, and it is debatably one of the greatest storytellers of modern times. Because its visual action is dealt with by animation it opens the door for fantastic storylines that capture the imagination. Pixar understand how to move the emotions of its audiences, and the psychology needed to do this. And they have created great ways of achieving this to maximum effect.

Great Stories are Universal

One art of great storytelling is to take an everyday occurrence, say an argument and presenting it in a unique way. The acclaimed Pixar director Mr Pete Docter says that what you are trying to achieve in storytelling is to relate an event in your life that made you feel a particular way.

To do this effectively you need to take the story apart and break down all the elements that are part of it. Then add the feelings that you were actually having during the event, so that the story is more believable. Self-knowledge and the awareness of what is around you are the foundations of how to tell a great story.

The Story Must Have a Purpose

According to Kenn Adams, using a story spine is a most effective way to carry the structure of a story. The professional playwright tells how Pixar has used this mechanism so successfully in some of its greatest films.  Kenn Adams also highlights the important of purpose in a story, and why you must tell the story? What does the story teach? What purpose does the story have? Pixar firmly believe that by crafting a story that you are highly passionate to relay to others which has a real purpose, the story you are telling will have a bigger impact on a wider audience.

Always Champion the Underdog

In many Pixar movies the hero is often an underdog, and people love underdogs. Pixar explains this excessive audience love for somebody who is a plucky trier rather than a successful doer by saying, It’s more about the character’s journey than the final destination. And when your hero has his back to the wall, fighting against all odds, and facing adversity then there is the makings of a great story.

Appeal to Deep Emotions

Pixar are master of stirring up our deepest emotions, many psychologists agree that there are six top emotions: sadness, happiness, anger, disgust, surprise, and fear. And by playing on one or more of these emotions the audience is gripped.

In fact, in the movie Inside Out, Pixar uses every one of the six emotions as characters in the film. When you get to know what buttons trigger these emotions the better you will understand what the audience wants. Then how these emotions are triggered in yourself and then ask why? What makes you feel a certain way and how can you relay this in your storytelling? Finally, Pixar tells us that their success comes with keeping their story-lines simple and really focused. This is their key to success, keep the audience’s attention by not getting complicated and too intricate.

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