Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling

November 13th, 2011 by

It’s the last chance to enroll in the new 1-week online class I start teaching tomorrow: “Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling.” I know there are a lot of fans of Pixar out there, but even those of you who may not know that much about their films, the simple fact they have produced 12 movies and each of them has been a #1-hit at the box office should get your creative juices flowing.

Pixar’s success is unprecedented in the history of Hollywood and one big reason for it is their absolute commitment to writing the best stories possible. How do they do that?

I have studied Pixar movies for years. Plus I have read everything I can get my hands on about their creative process. This course represents my take on their approach to crafting a story and six dynamics that appear over and over in their movies. The seven lecture topics are:

1. The Secret of Storytelling

2. Small Story / Substantial Saga

3. Special Subculture

4. Strange Sojourners

5. Separation

6. Sentimentality

7. Surprise

With four more movies in the pipeline through 2014, Pixar is set to have released 16 movies in the first 20 years of their existence (their first movie Toy Story came out in 1995). Creating one terrific story after another, I think we can accurately call this time “The Pixar Decades.”

I’m thrilled to have the chance to dig into these ideas that have been evolving in my brain for years as I tracked Pixar, so I hope you can join me starting tomorrow. For more information, you may go here.

I look forward to going to infinity and beyond with you this week!

6 thoughts on “Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling

  1. Ingrid says:

    Hi Scott,
    Can you give us an idea of class structure? Will these classes be running live at a particular time, what’s the delivery method?
    Thanks.

    1. Scott says:

      It’s an online class that is what is called ‘asynchronous,’ which basically means the resources are available for each participant per their own schedule:

      * Each day I upload a lecture which you can download and read at your leisure.

      * The online course site has forums where you can read and posts comments, questions and analysis.

      * The only set time is a live group teleconference which is scheduled for Friday, November 18 at 7PM Pacific time (U.S.).

      I’ve been doing online classes since 2002 and in all honesty, I find they’re a better learning environment than on-site courses. For example, you don’t have to sit and take notes, furiously scratching down what the teacher says, instead you simply print out the lecture. Voila! It’s all right there in front of you.

      Hope to see you there!

  2. Atlanta says:

    Appropriate to sign up if participation doubtful? Week’s jammed and Friday’s iffy, but I’d love to read the lectures. Thanks, Scott.

    1. Scott says:

      Sure, Atlanta. The lectures are the heart of the course with some exclusive interview content you will read nowhere else. Plus, of course, what I think are some pretty interesting perspectives and analysis on my part, reinforced by my recent conversations with their people. Plus you can drop in and out of the forums for discussions if you wish, or just review all those threads later (I will leave the course site open for 2 weeks beyond the technical end of the class). Finally we use Skype for the teleconference which I record and upload so people who can’t make the call or those who do, but want to transcribe anything from the call can do that at their leisure. But mainly the content of the lectures is rock solid in my view and offers a take on Pixar I haven’t seen anywhere else.

  3. Belal Khan says:

    I’m in. Looking forward to your instruction!

    1. Scott says:

      Great, Belal, I look forward to working with you.

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