Posts Tagged ‘Pixar’

Tips from Pixar

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Former Pixar intern Cemma Oats tweeted quite a few insightful glimpses into the world of storytelling before being let go for general unfeeling incompetence. Here are a few highlights:

  1. Computer animated characters are admired more for their resolution than for their resolve.
  2. You have to keep in mind what’s interesting to the audience (explosions), not what’s fun to do as a writer (World of Warcraft).
  3. Trying to make a meaningful point is important, but you won’t see what the story is really about ’til you present it to management. Now rewrite.
  4. There once was ___. Someday ___. Then I ___. Because of that ___. Oh, shoot I ___. Now I have to buy a new ___.
  5. Simplify. Trim. Cut. Kill what you love. It’ll feel like you’re selling your own children for pin money, but it leaves you material for a sequel.
  6. What is your character best at, happiest with? Throw the exact opposite at them. Literally. Like racecars and stuff. With a trebuchet, maybe.
  7. Write a good ending before you worry about the beginning or middle. Really. Nobody cares about the buildup making sense if the ending is awesome!
  8. When you hit your deadline, you’re done. Forget about it even if it’s not perfect. It’d be great if you had more time, but things have to keep moving. There are already vendors out there making the Happy Meal toys.
  9. If you don’t know what to do, write out all the things that absolutely COULDN’T happened next. Then do that. They won’t see it coming.
  10. Pull apart the characters you love. With wolves, maybe.
  11. Think hard before putting it on paper. If you keep it in your head, it will never become reality, but at least nobody can steal it.
  12. Forget the first thing you think of. And the second, and the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. Wait until you think of something you’d never possibly think of. Paradoxically surprise yourself.
  13. Give your characters opinions. Easy going might seem likable but it’s boring to viewers. Nobody remembers Pleasant K. Smellworthy. Everyone remembers Hitler.
  14. What’s the big deal about THIS story? Why are you telling it? What’s the heart of it? It’s probably because of something the marketing department came up with, or because the characters are renderable with the latest software.
  15. If you were a character in this story, what would you do? Probably a lot of screaming, right?
  16. What’s at stake? The character’s future? Your job? The company’s future? What happens if you don’t succeed? How many people’s lives will be destroyed? No pressure, though.
  17. Even if you have to throw it out, no work is ever wasted. You’re not burning ideas; you’re employing recyclers and landfill operators.
  18. Know yourself: the difference between getting coffee because you need caffeine to keep going, and getting coffee because it gets you away from your desk. Either way, good story is mainly Starbucks related.
  19. Coincidences that complicate the story are great; coincidences that solve a problem are unsatisfying; coincidences in unbelievable piles are George Lucas.
  20. Plagiarize: take the best parts of a movie you love and rework them into something that you can say you wrote.
  21. You’ve gotta identify with your characters; imagine yourself in their situation. This is YOUR dream. Everyone else in the story should be doing stuff to make things cool for YOU.
  22. What’s the hook of your story? How can you describe it as the comingling of two Hollywood hits? If you know that, you can get funding and distribution.

Pixar sets a new record!

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

This weekend, Pixar set an amazing record by selling some $109 million in tickets to their new short film, Night & Day. Never before in the history of cinema has a film of less than 6 minutes in length earned this kind of money. Said a person standing near Pixar’s home office, “Kaching!”

Sadly, Pixar’s new feature-length film Toy Story 3 didn’t do nearly as well, earning less than $75 in theaters where it did not run with Night & Day. It is hoped that their next feature starring Woodie and friends — a short film that will accompany Cars 2 — will help restore the value of the beloved brand.

Pixar Canada

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Disney/Pixar Animation Studios has announced that they’ve opened a production studio in Vancouver, Canada, with the sole duty of creating animated shorts. The shorts will be available in a variety of sizes from XS to XXXL.

Disney Animation 2012: Cars 2 — Rise of the Machines

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Pixar’s sequel to Cars, Cars 2 — Rise of the Machines, will arrive on screens in the summer of 2012. This time, things are looking good for Lightning McQueen as he continues to win races and gain fame. But what he doesn’t know is that his pal Mater has stumbled upon a computer chip that certain secret scientists thought had long ago been crushed in an industrial accident. After accidentally releasing its potential, Mater enlists Lightning to help him fight a growing army of horrible hybrid vehicles — half electric, and half alive.

Disney Animation 2011: The Bear and the Bow

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

For Christmas 2011, Pixar will release The Bear and the Bow, the story of an independent Scottish princess archer bear struggling with the burden of having too many attributes pre-assigned to her character. Because of this, she has an argument and runs away to England where she puts on green tights, leads a band of royalist thieves, shoots an arrow with another arrow, and falls in love with the beautiful Maid Marion (making her Disney’s second gay animated bear).

Disney Animation 2011: Newt

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Newt from Pixar will appear in the summer of 2001. This film asks the question, “What happens when the last two newts on the earth are a male and a female that hate each other?” and answers, “We’ll give you a hint: ‘dodo bird.'”

Disney Animation 2010 Toy Story 3 3D

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Although by the title you might think that you are mistaken for thinking that this is Toy Story 3in 3D, it actually is. This is Pixar’s second Toy Story sequel, and the end of the first Toy Story Trilogy.

In this installment, Buzz has come to accept the fact that Emperor Zurg is his father but seeks a retreat to commune with the little green aliens so that he can focus his mind and resist the Zurg’s temptations as he tries to get Buzz to join Dark Starcommand.

Meanwhile, Woody and the rest of the gang have ventured into the neighbor’s yard where they plan to blow up a satellite dish because they mistakenly believe that it emits signals that protect Zurg’s unfinished Nurf space station from attack. But it’s a trap! Only with the help of a group of wild, weed-dwelling Care Bears can our heroes escape.

After this film, Pixar plans to take a lengthy break from making Toy Story sequels, after which they will complete the trilogy of TS prequels in which we see each toy’s incredible assembly-line origin and learn that Sid (from Toy Story 1) is really only one boy out of an army of toy-abusing child clones.

Disney Animation 2010: Toy Story 2 3D

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Although by the title you might think that this is Toy Story 23, it isn’t. Instead, it’s Pixar’s original Toy Story sequel with a special pair of glasses and greater storytelling depth. The story has been thoroughly revised to take advantage of the new visual technology. This time around, Woodie discovers that he was once the star of Wood’s Roundup 3D, a three-dimensional television show in which buildings and plants painted on wooden flats seem to jump out of the screen. This film will be notable for adding three new three-dimensional characters to the Toy Story pantheon: Jessie (a yodeling cowgirl), Bullseye (a horse named after a steak sauce), and the Prospector (sort of a fat, bearded combination of Santa Claus and Hitler).

The rerelease of this film in 3D is scheduled for February 12, 2010, to coincide with Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday 3D.

Disney Animation 2009: Toy Story 3D

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Although by the title you might think that this is Toy Story 3, it isn’t. Instead, it’s Pixar’s original Toy Story with a special pair of glasses and the letters “3D” appended to the title. The movie still tells the story of how jealous cowboy doll Woodie (Tom Hanks) attempts to murder sweet, innocent, handyman spaceman Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), only to be thrown out of the house by his one-time friends and forced to live in exile on a desert island with no companionship but that of a ball that he names Wilson (“because ‘Friday’ is taken).

The rerelease of this film in 3D is scheduled for October 2, 2009, to coincide with the conversion of the original Disneyland to 3D.

Disney Animation 2009: Up

Monday, April 28th, 2008

This Pixar film, slated for release May 29, 2009, tells the story of Carl Fredercksen (Ed Asner) who has lived a hard-working life dreaming of escaping the newsroom he manages and traveling the Earth, getting drunk in taverns all over the country. But at age 78, Carl doesn’t have much chance of living his dream — or does he?

But then Russell (played by newcomer Jordan “Grape” Nehi), a Wilderness Explorer (sort of a Boy Scout/Junior Woodchuck hybrid) stops by the see if Carl would be interested in buying a few boxes of his Explorer Cookies. The two soon discover that the sugared dried fruit in the cookies can be fermented into a delightful adult beverage, and their subsequent flight from authorities takes them across the globe in an epic of drunken proportions.