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6 Rules of Great Storytelling (As Told by Pixar)

6 Rules for Great Storytelling

  1. Great stories convey things common to the human condition in unique situations. They are universal. 
  2. Great stories have a clear structure and purpose. 
  3. People find it easy to root for an underdog and they don’t even need to succeed. They value the character’s journey over their destination.
  4. Great stories appeal to our deepest emotions. 
  5. Having the readers perceptions of reality challenged or changed in some way makes for great storytelling.
  6. Great stories are simple and focused. Resist the urge to show all the world building you made to allow your audience to get lost in the narrative. You can test your story by reading it to a new person and watching their reactions and questions.

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6 Rules of Great Storytelling (As Told by Pixar)

6 Rules of Great Storytelling (As Told by Pixar)

https://medium.com/@Brian_G_Peters/6-rules-of-great-storytelling-as-told-by-pixar-fcc6ae225f50

medium.com

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Key Ideas

Pete Docter

Pete Docter

“What you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to write about an event in your life that made you feel some particular way. And what you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to get the audience to have that same feeling.”

Pixar’s Plotting Techniques For Structure And Purpose

The Story Spine structure: Once upon a time there was [blank]. Every day, [blank]. One day [blank]. Because of that, [blank]. Until finally [bank].

A story’s purpose: find why you want to tell this story, what belief of yours fueled that story, what does it teach and its purpose. Stories with a purpose that you are passionate about have a bigger impact.

Jon Westenberg

Jon Westenberg

“Storytelling is the greatest technology that humans have ever created.” 

6 Rules for Great Storytelling

  1. Great stories convey things common to the human condition in unique situations. They are universal. 
  2. Great stories have a clear structure and purpose. 
  3. People find it easy to root for an underdog and they don’t even need to succeed. They value the character’s journey over their destination.
  4. Great stories appeal to our deepest emotions. 
  5. Having the readers perceptions of reality challenged or changed in some way makes for great storytelling.
  6. Great stories are simple and focused. Resist the urge to show all the world building you made to allow your audience to get lost in the narrative. You can test your story by reading it to a new person and watching their reactions and questions.

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Storytelling Is Everything

Whether it's telling inspiring stories to customers or delivering a presentation to executives and the board of directors, being a good storyteller helps us make the leap from Good to Great.

Product managers and designers can benefit tremendously by great storytelling, and so can anyone who is working with product design.

Purpose

Instead of selling products, we need to focus on their purpose and what good it does for the end-user. Focus on the need of the customer and design the product around it.

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Rules of storytelling, according to Pixar

  • Emphasize trying more than success.
  • Having an initial theme while writing is important but don’t get too attached to it.
  • Cutting things out

Three-Act storytelling structure

Three-Act storytelling structure

One of the oldest and most straightforward storytelling formulas:

  • Setup: Set the scene and introduce the character(s)
  • Confrontation or “Rising action” : Present a p...

Five-Act storytelling structure

Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid:

  • Exposition: Introduce important background information
  • Rising action: Tell a series of events to build up to the climax
  • Climax: Turn the story around (usually the most exciting part of the story)
  • Falling action: Continue the action from the climax
  • Dénouement: Ending the story with a resolution.

Before – After – Bridge storytelling formula

  • Before: Describe the world with Problem A.
  • After: Imagine what it’d be like having Problem A solved.
  • Bridge: Here’s how to get there.

Set the stage of a problem that your target audience is likely to experience ( a problem that your company solves). Describe a world where that problem didn’t exist. Explain how to get there or present the solution (i.e. your product or service).

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