Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling

January 16th, 2013 by

I am excited to reprise this 1-week Screenwriting Master Class course as it has given me the opportunity to dig into the films and creative culture of Pixar. As anyone who has visited this blog for even a few months knows, I am fascinated by Pixar. 13 movies, 13 #1 hits. Unprecedented. But it’s more than just their success with critics and at the box office, it’s about their absolute commitment to the craft of storytelling.

So I have been going through years of articles, research and notes, screened all their movies one more time, and discerned six key dynamics present in almost all of their films that contribute directly to the success of their stories.

And here’s the thing: Whether you write for children, teens, or adults, screenplays, plays, or novels, you can use these same dynamics in developing and crafting your own stories.

The 1-week online course is called Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling and it begins January 28.

I honestly believe film historians will look back at the period between 1995 (Toy Story) and 2014 (Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Into The Mind) as the “Pixar decades” because no filmmakers have ever done what they will have accomplished in their 16 films during that period of time.

This course is a great way to learn from the master storytellers at Pixar.

A quick word about the online format: I’ve been teaching online since 2002, worked with upward to 1000 writers in that context, and honestly believe it is superior to the onsite class environment in many ways:

* You can do virtually everything on your own time: Download lectures, read forum conversations, add your own comments, upload writing exercises and assignments. In your pajamas. In bed. Drinking coffee. However you want to access online course content, you can do it.

* As opposed to listening to a teacher present lectures verbally, you get to download lectures and read them. Again at your leisure, but even more importantly, instead of feverishly trying to jot down notes from a verbal presentation, here you get everything laid out for you. I take great pride in my lectures, as they not only provide great content, they also have a narrative flow to them.Yes, they tell a little story.

* Feedback and conversations online tend to be much more thoughtful and therefore beneficial than onsite settings. Why? Because instead of off-the-cuff, random comments, participants online tend to spend more time and reflection in composing posts for online.

Finally I’m constantly amazed at how much of a community emerges in online class environments. Writers from all around the world and somehow we bind together into remarkably vibrant learning communities, time and time again.

So if you’ve never tried an online screenwriting class, here’s what I have to say to you: Come on in! The water’s fine!

For more information on Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling, go here.

I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!

UPDATE: Some nice comments about this class from folks who’ve taken it:

“This course is awesome. I refer to these notes and lessons all the time.” — Traci Nell Peterson

“I took this course as part of GOYOQ and it was truly invaluable. I love to write children’s films, but the course applies to any genre. I’ve always enjoyed all of the Pixar films and the breakdown makes you see stuff you never thought of. I keep the PDF files on my desktop and still refer to them often as I finish up my own (slightly delayed) quest.” — Alan D.

“I recommend this course wholeheartedly. Plus you get to watch Pixar films as homework.” — TheQuietAct

Also this month if you sign up for the free Screenwriting Master Class monthly newsletter, you get the PDF download: What is Pixar’s storytelling ‘secret’? Just click here, then fill in info under Free Download.

10 thoughts on “Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling

  1. This course is awesome. I refer to these notes and lessons all the time.

  2. TheQuietAct says:

    I recommend this course wholeheartedly.

    Plus you get to watch Pixar films as homework.

  3. Alan D. says:

    I took this course as part of GOYOQ and it was truly invaluable. I love to write children’s films, but the course applies to any genre.

    I’ve always enjoyed all of the Pixar films and the breakdown makes you see stuff you never thought of. I keep the PDF files on my desktop and still refer to them often as I finish up my own (slightly delayed) quest.

  4. Charles Ryan says:

    Scott, I can’t afford to shell out the money right now but could I sign up for this at a later time and download and watch all the lecture then? Or is it take or leave it?

    1. Scott says:

      I’ll be offering the course again probably in the 4th quarter 2013.

      1. This class sounds really interesting! Unfortunately, I also can’t afford to take it at this time. Glad to hear you’ll be offering it again later this year. I’ll keep an eye out on Twitter!

  5. Scott says:

    Wow, thanks for all the kudos for the course. If you don’t mind, I’m going to update the OP with your comments. Thanks!

  6. Morgen Stern says:

    Can I still take this course from my Quest entry last year? Thanks!

    1. Scott says:

      Yes, for your free Core or Craft class. Please email me with your contact info.

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