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Pixar Studios Offers Free Storytelling Lessons Online

Toy-Story-2

In cooperation with the Khan Academy, Pixar and Disney have been offering Pixar in a Box, an on-going series of behind-the-scenes lessons taught by Pixar's professionals  (storytellers, animators, directors, artists, etc.). Subjects have included color science, animation, effects, sets & staging, character modeling, and so on. Part of the aim of this project, as stated on the Pixar-in-a-Box website is to show how "The subjects you learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — are used every day to create amazing movies at Pixar."

These lessons are remarkable, but what I am most excited about is that last week, Pixar in a Box announced a new series: The Art of Storytelling. Pixar may be the best at the technical side of animation, but what really made them successful is their understanding of story and storytelling. In this interview regarding Pixar's success, Steve Jobs said this: "Even though Pixar is the most technologically advanced studio in the world, John Lasseter has a saying which has really stuck: No amount of technology will turn a bad story into a good story."

The new Art of Storytelling series is great news for educators who want to bring the principles of storytelling into the classroom and help their students understand the art of story. Yet this is also useful for anyone who wants to become a masterful storyteller in business or in any other endeavor. Here's the introduction video for the Storytelling series.

The storytelling series will cover six main parts that take you from the formation of your rough idea to actually creating storyboards. Each lesson features videos and activities, so this is something you can do on your own or as part of a class. Here are the six sections to be covered as outlined in the introductory video in lesson 1:

(1) We are all Storytellers
(2) Character
(3) Structure
(4) Visual language
(5) Filmmaking grammar
(6) Storyboarding

Currently, only Lesson 1 is online, but others will follow throughout the year. Even if you do not desire to make an animated film, the lessons — especially those related to structure and visual language coming up in lessons 3 and 4 — will help you create better presentations in all their myriad forms or incorporate storytelling into other aspects of your work and life.

If you have not heard of Pixar in a Box, here is a video presentation that explains the concept. And in the true spirit of Pixar, the video introduction is done with great clarity and humor.

Related Links
• The Art of Storytelling (Khan Academy)
• Tips for creative success from Pixar
• No amount of technology will make a bad story good
• Study the basics: John Lasseter on the secret to success
• Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling
• The storytelling imperative: Make them care!
• 10 tips for improving your presentations & speeches

Here are two good books on Pixar I read recently. The first one is Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. The other book — To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History — came out at the end of last year. Both give great insights into the workings of Pixar and also the story making process.

Comments

RemotePoss

This looks great! I look forward to exploring the videos. Thanks for sharing.

Bryan Jones (eLearningArt)

Great find. Thanks for sharing.

Interesting that the last video in section 1 had similar advice across all of the interviewers... storytelling is a process (with mistakes) and that you have to keep working at it to get it right. Definitely true for stories in both presentations and training too.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. Looks like the next section about characters is out at the end of March. I'm most excited about that section and the Storyboarding section.

Romain

Thanks for sharing !!!
I am searched something's to teach me and my audience to story telling.
Your post fall at the right time ;)

(Sorry to my English I am a French guy)

Romain

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