Posts Tagged ‘pixar’

Pixar’s 22 Rules for Storytelling

July 14, 2015

These rules from Pixar Story Artist Emma Coats were originally share by Aerogramme Studios. Number 9 on the list – When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next – is a great one and can apply to writers in all genres.

  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 til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. 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 d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
  21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘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.
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Steve and Bluey Colorado Tour

June 2, 2015

On Monday, June 22, 2015 the University of Colorado, Denver, hosts the LYNX National Media & Arts Camp. I will attend as a Guest Artist working with animation students and presenting a workshop on creativity and character development, referencing stories from my own experience creating The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony World of Steve & Bluey.

The tour continues that week with appearances and workshops at Colorado Free University on June 23 and Arapahoe Community College on June 24.

Of course, copies of The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony World of Steve & Bluey will be on sale, but you can also conveniently order a copy by clicking here!

If you’re in the Denver area and can join the fun, please do!

Steven Fischer speaks about creativity and character creation at LYNX National Arts & Media Camp_University of Colorado_Denver_June 2015_photo by Dave Walter

Steven Fischer speaks about creativity and character creation at LYNX National Arts & Media Camp, University of Colorado, Denver. June 2015. Photo by Dave Walter.

 

Steven Fischer works with animation students at University of Colorado, Denver, June 2015.

Steven Fischer works with animation students at University of Colorado, Denver. June 2015.

What People Are Saying About Old School New School

February 23, 2012

Here are some comments from audience members who’ve seen Old School New School. Take a moment to watch the movie, and share your thoughts on the comment section above OSNS at Snag Films.

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“A striking, provocative, and terribly important documentary.”

Rick Kogan, WGN Radio 720, Chicago

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Steven, Your film was outstanding, and such a tribute for anyone doubting their own dreams for success, especially in the arts. It is one I will watch more than just once. I felt as though it was made for me… Thanks so much for sharing such an inspiring documentary.

Donna C., Chicago, IL

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Steven, I enjoyed your film! Your thought provoking look at creativity through various media and live conversation is really raising the bar. CONGRATULATIONS!

Russ M., Baltimore, MD

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A terrific documentary….with a cast of brilliant minds. Better than a $2500 creativity workshop.

George L., Los Angeles, CA

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I watch your film Old School New School. It was really helpful. I watch it at least once a day. It fires my creative synapses. I shared it on my facebook with my friends. I has help me in creating my first doc project. We are in the process of writing a grant and we are almost done I am excited. Once again I want to thank you for the film.

Jermaine T., Kansas City, MO

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I love the personalities in this film, Steven, it was really a great group of people. Sage wisdom for any artist at any level. Very enjoyable!

Dawn Y., Richmond, VA

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Hi Steven Fischer,
I enjoyed your documentary, love Brian Cox and found it to be truthful, heartening for me and the choices I have made as an actress/singer and will post to my fb page, if you like!

Thank you,
Beka, Chicago, IL

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I’ve just finished watching your inspiring film, Old School New School. It is illuminating and engrossing. Thanks!

Terry E., Chicago, IL

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Steven: Well done, and thank you for sharing! Your doc is actually a great “tool” for those considering a “life in the arts”, and for those already in pursuit of that life, with some good, honest “inspirational messages”. We enjoyed it, and will pass along to those in our circle, and beyond. Keep at it, we will do same.

Our very best,

Tracey 0., Hearst Corporation

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Steven–Great film, great interviews–what interesting people and ideas.

Wendy, Washington, DC

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I just watched your documentary and I really enjoyed it. Very nice work. You’re asking some tough questions and the responses were really fascinating. I was also interested in what the interviewees were NOT saying—but were perhaps implying with their body language, eyes, etc. I think half of what drives a creative person, and indeed, what drives the creative process cannot adequately be expressed in language. Ironically, some of those things can only be expressed or understood after a *proper* exposure to the creation itself (but still cannot be expressed properly with language). The problem is, we are so distracted and numb most of the time, we don’t often get a *proper* exposure to the creation—even when we are right in front of it.

I’ve often thought about the crossroads between the arts, aesthetics and brain-related science… (cognition, etc). I agree with that line from Social Network when the Zuckerburg character says, “just like fashion, Facebook will never be done”; meaning that culture, knowledge, status quo, meaning, etc., is always shifting and in motion (waxing and waning might be a better way to put it). The way we interpret the world we experience is usually drawn upon existing lines or analogy pathways from previous lessons (that is to say symbols that bare meaning). In that way, the value we place on things changes from moment to moment and what is creatively valuable is always in flux.

I think that’s why smart, creative, healthy people place such high importance on trying things, reading, trial-and-error, improving one’s self, and asking a lot of questions…

Ryon B., Salt Lake City, Utah

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I thought this film was very inspirational. For anyone working or striving to work in the arts i think you’ll really enjoy it. You may find it just as inspirational no matter what career or field you are in.
Nice job Steven,

Paul H., Albany, Oregon

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Dear Steven,

Hello! I took the leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles a little over 3 months ago … Overall, things are going well.

Success in the arts comes from within and believing in one’s goals, no matter what anybody else says. “Security vs.risk”. Personally, if somebody loves something, they find a way to do it, no matter what. My life revolves around the arts, acting, music, and medicine. My personal juggling skills of the arts and my medical career would have seemed difficult, or at best impossible to others. But I have done it for years.

Thank you for sharing and creating this great documentary. I wish you much continued success in your upcoming projects!

Sincerely,
Lora B., Los Angeles, CA

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Steven,
Congratulations on your documentary! I just finished watching it. I love this subject and it is very close to my heart … I applaud your tenacity on your latest production. Thanks for sharing.

Sincerely,
Phil C., Falls Church, VA

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Steven, GREAT film. I wish it had been twice as long. Always fascinating to hear the deep thoughts of creative people. I’m on such a journey myself; one of the breakthroughs for me was to realize that I have to have an honest, true REASON for what I do. I think that, sometimes, when creative efforts, or goals, fall short for people, it can be rooted squarely in the premise of having the wrong motivation. People can find tremendous creative success (or any kind of success) for themselves if they can be really honest about WHY they are doing something and WHAT they want to do. Now that kind honesty isn’t always easy to know, it can be hidden or tucked away. It can be all mangled up in the hypnotic glitter, bells and whistles of fame or noteriety. Or sunk deep in the quagmire of abuse, neglect, ridicule or apapthy.

What is so compelling about your film is that it’s one honest way (of many) to dig those reasons out of hiding.

Thanks again and look forward to more work from you.

Scott R.

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This is a great film, Steven! I can feel it in my gut when I’m veering away from what my soul wants. This film was an awesome reminders for us creative types who sometimes get bogged down by the “should do’s” in life to keep going, follow your bliss and do what nature intended for you to do. Very nice work. Shared this one!

Jennifer W.

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I really enjoyed your film and the exploration of questions around creativity and creative fulfillment. As a woman, my wish would have been for you to interview a few more women.

Isabelle R.

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Interesting topic and approach. I especially connected to and took a lot from Dr. Ragan’s story and message. I keep thinking about how inspirational the entire film is and how I want to show clips to our school’s aspiring artists!

Jamie G., Evanston, IL

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Wow! Just finished watching it. GREAT interviews!! This is a special piece. Watch it and share it. All of the interviews were amazing! You did a super job of getting carefully thought out and deeply held ideas from all of these tremendously successful and creative people. Thanks so much, Steve!

Les O., Washington, DC

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This film is terrific. Love the wide range of subjects selected (Brian Cox AND McCoy Tyner?) to speak about creativity and how it is woven into the fabric of our lives—including social class. I think anyone who creates art or seeks to understand those who create it will profit from seeing it, but I’d love to see Old School, New School disseminated widely in schools and other venues that could reach artists early in their careers. It captures the joys and vicissitudes of the creative process in a way that would benefit young artists.

Richard B., Catonsville, MD

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Wonderful! Steven Fischer’s movie is a must-view. An extraordinary, inspirational distillation of artists’ wisdom and insight, with nothing getting in the way. If you want a daily warm up, this is it!

Howard E., Exeter, UK

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A very insightful and well made short documentary. Well worth half an hour of anyone’s time, not just those interested in creative arts.

Gareth C., United Kingdom

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Lots of good insight in this film. One line stood out to me was something Fraker said: “live by the decisions you make, right or wrong…”

Many times when out in the field you are forced to make decisions on the spot, that can be scary, but the truth is, you just have to go for it and trust your instinct at that moment.

Thea M., Los Angeles, CA

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This documentary is very unique and so true to life! It is real and tells it how it is.
Thanks for a creative and excellent film.

Jani B., Washington, DC

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Steven is exactly right with his opening comments…if he wanted answers to these important questions, others would too. This film was an insightful exploration of the creative process and spans a variety of disciplines. I think we can all give Steve a congratulations and thanks for allowing us to be the other person in the room for these very personal, comfortable conversations.

Gregg L., Baltimore, MD

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Steven Fischer takes us on an inward journey in OLD SCHOOL NEW SCHOOL to wrestle with THE fundamental concept of a successful artist: vulnerable truth. You will enjoy hearing the reflections of experience in these interviews that extol the virtues of an honest creative voice. Enjoy the film, it is a worthwhile view for any artist – old or new!

Winston S., Camp Lejeune, NC

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I just watched “Old School New School” … I appreciate very much the honesty, heart, wisdom and confidence in being vulnerable the project and subjects share about their “success”, process and experiences as artists and humans-being… Thanks for your work and your gift Steven :-)))

Larry C., Corpus Christi, TX

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Well done, and thank for sharing! Your doc is actually a great “tool” for those considering a “life in the arts”, and for those already in pursuit of that life, with some good “inspirational messages”. I enjoyed it, and will pass it along to those in my circle.

Carl B., New York, NY

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This Has something for every artist from Dance and poetry to jazz and photography a must see.

Lt. Norsal, Chicago, IL

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I am so glad you made this documentary, this topic is something that I spend many hours debating and obsessing over in my head. I think the answer, that there is no answer in terms of the right pathway is correct. Finding your voice, to me, is what matters, once that voice is found, the individual can then go about orchestrating there means of satisfying it, and I firmly believe, that if their creative voice is important enough to them, they will find them means of satisfaction, no matter what their situation. Which to me is true success, finding your voice and then satisfying it. Thank-you for making this!

Angela B.

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I liked it a lot. The interviews are insightful and the whole idea behind this documentary is noteworthy. I have heard a great deal of lectures on “how to be successful” or “what define being successful” but something as specific as being successful in the “art” I rarely heard, and I’m glad it is brought up. Artistic professions are different from business or science because success cannot be measured by quantitative means such as money or data. Being an “artist” really requires being true, especially to one’s self. Great film.

Ze

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Great! Steven Fischer, you ROCK! So simple, yet so profound! Thanks for this inspiring documentary!

Christina G.

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Fantastic film—handles questions I have thought about e.g what is success. I see a lot of people buying lotttery tickets every week. It is certain that someone will win the jackpot and call himself/herself successful. But really it was just luck.. yet seeig this many neighbors will emulate and buy even more lottery tickets.

How much of career success is just statistical chance? luck of the draw..we all like to think hard work pays because of our reference group. If we were not at least partially successful, you wouldnt be engaging in high-brow chatter….

Paul

Steven Fischer at Script DC

October 19, 2009

Script DC is a conference for screenwriters and takes place each year, as one would suspect, in Washington, DC. This year I was asked to speak with Lisa Goldman and Kristin Harris on the subject of Writing for Animation. The audience was comprised of both novice and professional writers, all eager to participate and ask questions. We screened some of our respective animation work and answered questions on everything from basic format to breaking into “the biz” and the relationship between the writer and the animator.

I enjoy speaking at events like this because it gives me a chance to contribute and share the lessons I’ve learned along my journey.

Lisa and Kristin are great people and terrific animators. Lisa is the president of Women in Animation, and Kristin runs a successful business called Kristin Harris Design.

Steven Fischer and Lisa Goldman speak about Writing for Animation at Script DC 2009 (photo: Amy Stern).

Steven Fischer and Lisa Goldman speak about Writing for Animation at Script DC 2009 (photo: Amy Stern).