This is the template for a Pixar movie, per one of the studio’s famous rules of storytelling: “Once upon a time there was ___. Every day… ___. One day…___ Because of that…___ Because of that…___ Until finally…___”
Once upon a time there was a robot. Every day, the robot cleaned a barren post-apocalyptic wasteland. One day, the robot discovers a seedling and meets another robot. Because of that, a spaceship full of humans comes to their location. Because of that, a lot of fat people are forced to reconsider their future. Until finally the humans recognise that Earth is fertile again, and decide to recolonise it. The end.

This structure isn’t unique to Pixar movies or all that dissimilar from Syd Field’s model of The Hero’s Journey, but the fact of the matter is that Pixar works within the constraints of a transparent formula, and that John Lasseter has displayed a rare gift for sniffing out imaginative storytellers who know how to leverage that equation with an original vision.

Andrew Brennan


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