22 Pixar Story Rules

Former Pixar storyboard-artist-turned-independent-director Emma Coats tweeted these 22 tidbits learned from Pixar.

#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.

Via Pixar Touch

Creative Compositing With Masks in Photoshop

Andy Graber, instructor at Parsons School of Design and long time Photoshop expert, in a two hour event that will demonstrate how to use masks in the process of creating a composite image – a realistic looking photograph that is actually a combination of several images in one. Along the way, several other techniques, like retouching, effects, adjustments, and more will be covered. This event is targeted to intermediate level users of Photoshop, and assumes some knowledge of program basics.

Many of these techniques can be used to create matte paintings inside Adobe After Effects as well.

How Lens Focal Length Shapes the Face & Controls Perspective

Photographer Jay P. Morgan experiments with different focal lengths and how they affect the way a model’s face looks.

Via: The Slanted Lens

The lens or focal length of the lens you choose has a profound impact on the image. It effects the perspective, background and features of the subject. In this lesson everyone should understand what the different focal lengths do to the human face and how they change the background. Why do you choose a 135 mm lens to shoot a head shot of a beautiful woman but use a 24mm to shoot a clown. Keeping the head the same size in the frame and changing the focal length of the lens, I will shoot a series of images that demonstrate how focal length effects the features of the human face and how it changes perspective which effects the background. We will go on to demonstrate a simple 2 light and one reflector fashion lighting set up.

Actors Studio Remixed: 10 Questions

‘Actors Studio Remixed’ is based around the ’10 Questions’ James Lipton asks every celebrity guest on his show. Finding patterns and ideas in these segments, Jordan Laws chopped and arranged the content into a cohesive musical framework he created from scratch.

Starting to sound like every profile on every dating site I’ve ever visited.

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