PIXAR’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

3 min readJul 2, 2018

A helpful list for becoming a better storyteller from the world’s animation experts.

Storytelling is mankind’s perennial sales tool. If you can tell a good story you can sell anyone almost anything. Here we learn some top tips from the world’s animation experts.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a business idea, a political vision or a toothbrush; if you’ve got a good tale to go with it success is surely coming your way.

If you’re not confident in your storytelling abilities, the good news is that it’s easy to become better at it.

One way to do so is to learn from established and respected storytellers.

Like Pixar for example.

Back in 1986, Steve Jobs bought the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd and rebranded it. Coined by employees Aly Ray, Loren Carpenter and Rodney Stock, Pixar is a made-up Spanish word meaning “to make pictures.”

Jobs instinctively saw the future potential of animated movies using the technology and he was right; the studio would go on to make some of the world’s most favourite movies that had the ability to transcend audiences of all ages.

Key to Pixar’s success has been it’s passionate belief and utmost dedication to the art of storytelling.

Luckily, they have shared their own ’22 Rules of Storytelling’ and they are as follows:

1. Admire characters for attempting more than what their successes have been.

2. Keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun as a writer. They can be very different.

3. Trying for theme is important, however you won’t see what the story is about until you’re at the end of that story. Got it? Now rewrite.

4. Once upon a time there was…… Every day, ……One day……Because of that, …… Until finally……

5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

6. What is your character good at or comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at him. Challenge him. How does he deal with it?




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