Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling (for me)


Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

has been making the rounds (a la @lawnrocket).

Rather than just pass the link for the list on to people (but do read it), here's a bit o' commentary.

It's great for storytellers, videogame developers, actors, and people (at least).

The ones that resonated with me?

7, 8, 10, 13, 16

7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

(As an actor, it's about knowing what I want, not how I get there; how I get there will change. Repeatedly. For gaming, figuring out the end and how it can change lets me create a whole bunch of fun for the Player before they get there.)

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.

(I get stuck in trying to get it "right" when I'm trying to do [anything]. People are beautiful and flawed. So are genuinely interesting characters. Some of my favorite games are far from perfect, and off the popular radar. "Breakdown". "Enslaved". "D&D Heroes".)

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.

(Same advice I got years ago from one of my acting coaches, Stephen Prince, and helped me recognize not just what was important to my acting craft, but to me as a human being. Identifying and tearing apart those specific bits of "Dead Poets Society", "The Iron Giant", "The Secret of NIMH", "The Dark Knight", "Say Anything" and other films that resonated with me was a pretty big growth moment for me.)

13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

(Acting, writing, gaming, or otherwise being. Boring is boring.)

16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

(Consequences are funny thing. "Make it matter" seems obvious, but living it and trying to do something with it is something else. Rising to it is something else still. In fiction. And in just trying to live.)