The Clues to a Great Story

Andrew Stanton of Pixar, during a 2012 TED Talk in which he shares some of the storytelling secrets he's learned over the years (timestamps included):

[6:22] “Storytelling without dialogue. It's the purest form of cinematic storytelling. It's the most inclusive approach you can take. It confirmed something I really had a hunch on, is that the audience actually wants to work for their meal. They just don't want to know that they're doing that. That's your job as a storyteller, is to hide the fact that you're making them work for their meal. We're born problem solvers. We're compelled to deduce and to deduct, because that's what we do in real life. It's this well-organized absence of information that draws us in.”

[12:19] “And it just went to prove that storytelling has *guidelines*, not hard, fast rules.”

[16:27] “And that's what I think the magic ingredient is, the secret sauce, is can you invoke wonder. Wonder is honest, it's completely innocent. It can't be artificially evoked. For me, there's no greater ability than the gift of another human being giving you that feeling -- to hold them still just for a brief moment in their day and have them surrender to wonder.”

If there's anyone I trust when it comes to guidelines for good storytelling, it's the director of Finding Nemo and WALL•E—two of my all-time favorite films. Definitely set aside twenty minutes to watch this video.