Softcover (Vintage) — Amazon
Audiobook (Tantor) — Amazon
Japan (Hayakawa) — Publisher
People’s Republic of China (China Renmin University Press) — Publisher
Taiwan (CTW Culture) — Books.com.tw | Amazon
Korea (Heureum) — Publisher

Pixar story rules (one version)

Pixar story artist Emma Coats has tweeted a series of “story basics” over the past month and a half — guidelines that she learned from her more senior colleagues on how to create appealing stories:

#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 v. 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.

Presumably she’ll have more to come. Also, watch for her personal side project, a science-fiction short called Horizon, to come to a festival near you.


Pixar sued over alleged non-solicitation agreement

Pixar and Lucasfilm were sued Wednesday over an alleged agreement not to cold-call one another’s employees for recruiting. The lawsuit is an antitrust class action filed on behalf of salaried employees who worked for the companies between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2010. It was brought by the San Francisco-based plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser, which specializes in class actions.

According to the firm, the companies entered into “(1) agreements not to actively recruit each other’s employees; (2) agreements to provide notification when making an offer to another’s employee (without the knowledge or consent of that employee); and (3) agreements to cap pay packages offered to prospective employees at the initial offer.”

Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intel, and Intuit are also defendants.

Pixar and the other defendants except for Lucasfilm settled with the Justice Department in September over the allegations without admitting guilt; Lucasfilm settled in December. The new lawsuit contends that the companies are liable for lost pay.


Charting the sadness of the Toy Story movies

This infographic actually seems about right. It’s almost nine months old, but I just found out about it. (Via Craig Good.)


Pixar Podcast interview

Derrick of The Pixar Podcast just posted an interview that we did recently, and which I enjoyed.


The Monsters, Inc. sequel that never was

Jim Hill has the rundown on Monsters, Inc. 2: Lost in Scaradise, the sequel that was almost, but not quite, made in the mid-2000’s by Disney’s Circle 7 animation studio. Disney’s then-CEO, Michael Eisner, created Circle 7 to make in-house sequels to Pixar films (Disney had the right to do that under its distribution deal with Pixar). The operation was shut down when Disney acquired Pixar in 2006.

The actual Monsters, Inc. 2—a prequel to the original—is the next film on Pixar’s slate after Cars 2, and is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on November 2, 2012.