“Clues to a great story” Notes on Andrew Stanton’s TedTalk

(from Wikipedia.org) “Andrew Stanton (born December 3, 1965) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and voice actor based at Pixar Animation Studios. His film work includes writing and directing Pixar’s A Bug’s Life (as co-director), Finding Nemo and WALL-E, and his first live-action film, John Carter. He also co-wrote every film of the Toy Story franchise and Monsters, Inc..”

So the guy knows how to tell stories. And here he is offering a structure or framework or set of principles to keep in mind as you craft a story. His advice and experience comes from a medium which affords him 120 minutes of story arc instead of the 2-4 minutes that I’m much more interested in, but that’s not to say some of the same storytelling techniques wouldn’t apply to a compressed format like digital stories. Watch the vid below. It’s pretty great. And I’ve offered my own listening notes below:

William Archer: “Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty.” [not knowing, but wanting to know]

List of Criteria:

  • No songs
  • No “I want” moment
  • No happy village
  • No love story
  • No villain

The audience should like your main character.

A story should start off with a promise (to be fulfilled).

Characters should have “spines” & itches they’re always trying to scratch.

A story should have a strong, unifying theme.

WONDER: the most major ingredient a story should have, but is rarely invoked.

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