The Pixar Story, and What Writers Can Learn

I recently watched the Pixar Story with my mom. It’s a documentary about (you guessed it) Pixar. It’s and on Netflix, and if you are a creative person you should watch it.

Like right now.

Ok, like, whenever you can.

You may be looking at me right now (I actually hope not because I can’t see you) and thinking, “I’m not an animator or a computer guy. I’m a writer.” *pulls out typewriter and stares out a dirty window streaked with rain while wearing your patched elbow blazer*

No, you’re a storyteller (and a writer, but this *points to the left* word is more important). And the people at Pixar were (are) storytellers.

So listen up for some take aways from the documentary: 

1: Being a writer is a long shot. There’s no knowing if it’s gonna work out, if you’ll be a success, if people will like what you write. Steve Jobs chose to invest in Pixar, way back in the beginning after it left Lucasfilm. He was losing 1 million a YEAR for years. That was in 1986. Toy Story wasn’t in theaters till ’95.

That’s a long game. It paid out in the end, but it was a long game.

You’ve gotta to keep writing. It sometimes feel like swimming against the current, but if you don’t swim, you won’t get anywhere.

just keep swimming

2: I’ve talked about what “writing for yourself” means here, and if you need some more examples…

When Pixar presented the plot and story boards for Toy Story, Disney hated it. They said it was awful. So the team had to go back to the drawing board (get it? Drawing?? *wiggles eyebrows*).  What they ended up doing was, “writing the story we wanted.” They didn’t write Disney wanted, they wrote what they wanted to see, and we got the Toy Story we all know and love.

And also…

People would ask Brad Bird what was the secret to Pixar movies, like there was this magic formula. He said, “They just made movies they wanted to see.”

All the three act structures, characters sheets and quizzes, formula’s for the heroes journey won’t make your story good.

Your PASSION for stories will make it good (in the end – I mean editing helps and three act structures are good too).


On a side note, I’ve been fascinated with the art of hand-drawn animation (and cartoon drawing) for a little bit now, and several years ago I put this together. Which, for a first hand drawn animation, isn’t too bad. (Fiy, I don’t own the music.)

Peace out!

Header Photo by Zakaria Ahada on Unsplash


2 responses to “The Pixar Story, and What Writers Can Learn”

  1. Oooh! I definitely need to watch this movie! It looks so good… And your takeaways from it are very interesting, as well. Especially number 2. Sometimes it’s difficult to decide whether to write the stories of our hearts, or the stories we KNOW (or think we know) will sell, but it’s always, always ALWAYS more worth it to write the stories we are passionate about. Then, even if they don’t sell, at least we’ll have created something we love, right??

    And OH MY WORD!!! Your animation is ADORABLE!!! That little dragon is the cutest thing ever!!!


    1. THANK YOU!! I love my little dragon XD. YES, it’s always better to write something we’re passionate about, even if it doesn’t sell.

      Liked by 1 person

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