Pitch It Like Pixar Test!

Once Upon A Time...


Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling

Few studios have contributed to the art of storytelling like Pixar. Is this an accident or is there a format for this? Possibly both are the answer, but what they have learned in telling stories is truly amazing.

What's surprisingly unique about the pixar pitch is that its roots lie within a deep understanding of story structure. This moves us from Act 1 (Once upon a time, Every Day, One Day) to act two (because of that...) and act three (Until Finally).

If you take a professional screenwriting class you will likely hear something with the same overtones:

the first act we chase a monkey up a tree,
the second act we throw rocks at the monkey,
and the third act is helping the monkey get down.

Joseph Campbell wrote the book Hero With A Thousand Faces in which he encapsulated the concept of the Heroes journey. His understanding was enormously dense and was then abridged and reframed by Christopher Vogler in The Writer's Journey. Vogler was a professor to both Spielberg and Lucas and inspired Hollywood to adopt this format of telling stories. Blake Snyder, author of save the cat, adds yet another dimension to the writing process in that the character must be lovable within the first two scenes by "Saving The Cat". 

In business, we don't have two hours to make a point. We have much less time, but we need to account for the entire story we are telling. This is why Daniel Pink deemed the Pixar Pitch the longer form pitch. 

Below is the Finding Nemo Pitch

Once upon a time, there was a widowed fish named Marlin who was extremely protective of his only son, Nemo. Every day, Marlin warned Nemo of the ocean's dangers and implored him not to swim far away. One day in an act of defiance, Nemo ignores his father's warnings and swims into the open water. Because of that, he is captured by a diver and ends up as a pet in the fish tack of a dentist in Sydney. Because of that, Marlin sets off on a journey to recover Nemo, enlisting the help of other sea creatures along the way. Until finally Marlin and Nemo find each other, reunite, and learn that love depends on trust. 

Try it for free!

Read the 22 rules of story  by Emma Coats, a former Pixar storyboard artist. Or you can use this typeform to formulate your own: 

Share your results below!

Once you get your results, post it below. We'd love to hear your pitch!

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