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10 Nuggets of Wisdom from Brad Bird about Story Building and Storytelling

10 Nuggets of Wisdom from Brad Bird about Story Building and Storytelling 

Whether you know his name or not, you are likely to be familiar with at least one of Brad Bird‘s work: the Iron Giant, Ratatouille and The Incredibles.

Pixar is known for it’s quality storytelling and taking what was once seen as “kid animation” to a universal level, and Bird’s work falls right into that category.

Kees van Dijkhuizen Jr. selected extracts of audio where Bird talks about his view on Animation and storytelling, and created a tasteful video that you can -and should- watch below, intercutting between Bird’s wisdom and scenes illustrating his thoughts.

Here is my selection from the video:

  1. Recognise the value of teasing, don’t rush your action sequence.
  2. A good filmmaker slows down, there’s pleasure to be had in the sneaking around part.
  3. Jump deep into the story right where your characters are going to have problems.
  4. You cannot force ideas to come; every idea comes in its own way.
  5. If you try to over control the process, you limit the process.
  6. Don’t over light things, there’s beauty in darkness.
  7. If you defy gravity because it’s animation, you’ll have a hard time convincing the audience your characters can be in danger.
  8. It’s important for the audience to realise that, just like real life, there can be consequences and costs to actions.
  9. Animation is not a genre, it’s an Art form. It can be any genre, and it doesn’t do one thing.
  10. Try to take people to the state of how things feel rather than how things are.

And here is a visual version, if you’d like to share it:

Watch the full video below:

For more about storytelling and Pixar:

– Pete Docter (Monsters Inc, Up) on the Creative Process Behind Building a Pixar Story

– Michael Arndt About The 5 Steps He Learned at Pixar to Write a Good Beginning

– Pixar 22 Storytelling Rules

– Are You Ready for ‘The Pixar Theory’? I Wasn’t. My Brain Exploded.