Key Point: Be like a Pixar storywriter and create your own life story with intent. What’s yours? Each of us is creating a story about our lives. We are either doing it consciously or it’s just unfolding. We obviously don’t have control of some things that make up the script. In every compelling story, the unexpected happens and we are confronted with confounding obstacles. On the other hand, we can take control over what we do to create our story and in all cases we have a choice in how we choose to act, react or think about the state we find ourselves in.
Former Pixar story artist Emma Coats Tweeted a number of valuable storytelling rules during her time at the animation studio (follow her here). I found them very useful when thinking about the metaphor for developing our own life story. Let me single out a few and let’s focus on the relevance to you and me.
A. Admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
B. What is your character good at? Comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
C. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
D. 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.
E. 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.
F. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
G. 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.
H. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
I. You have to know yourself: The difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
- Think of yourself as the producer, director and star of your life story. This is not frivolous. One day after you’ve passed away, someone will likely stand in front of a group and tell your life story in about 15 to 20 minutes. What will they say?
- All of the lessons from a Pixar writer are interesting to think about, but the ONE I really think is vitally important is to write your desired ending first. The script may take unexpected turns, but with the ending in sight we usually get there. It is never too late to write an aspirational ending.
- Like Pixar characters, we are most attracted to and admire those that try, have an opinion, and are tough minded. They move forward and are at their best when they feed off a belief burning inside of them. Be that character.
Produce your story in The Triangle,
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