John Lasseter on Storytelling

Caitlin Roper of WIRED examines the kind of philosophy that allowed John Lasseter and other members of Pixar to completely revitalize Disney's animation studio over the last decade:

“And the emotional core of a movie is what Lasseter pursues. Anybody can make films that dazzle you with technical wizardry or crack you up with biting humor. But that’s not enough for Lasseter. More than anything, the world’s most emotional executive wants to make movies that you connect with, movies that make you feel.


“The connection you make with your audience is an emotional connection,” Lasseter says. “The audience can’t be told to feel a certain way. They have to discover it themselves.”

Though I am neither an animator nor filmmaker, John Lasseter is one of my biggest heroes, right alongside Hiyao Miyazaki. These guys have set the standard for modern storytelling, and I aspire to approach writing in the same way they have film. I'm not there yet, of course—it's a work in progress.

The article also includes a line from Ed Catmull excellent book, Creativity, Inc., that aligns perfectly with what I said yesterday about words being more important than design:

“Visual polish frequently doesn’t matter if you are getting the story right.”