No Pixar Movie Gets Made Without This Ingredient by Scott Myers

Film Courage: Can we think of a popular film where if the character hadn’t been so interesting or their transformation so stark…that if you hadn’t plugged in that character, the story would be no good? It was too simple or the story didn’t work. But because the character’s journey was so profound, it resonated with people?

Scott Myers, DePaul University Professor/Screenwriter/Creator Gointothestory.blcklst(dot)com: I think it’s like almost any story. I mean if the protagonist isn’t compelling, if we don’t have an emotional connection to them, then what is the point right?

I’m a huge Pixar fan. I’ve got sons that are 9 1/2 years apart and came along at a time where I was basically forced to see every Pixar movie. I say forcedbecause they came out and the kids wanted to see them which was just a wonderful blessing for me because Pixar is just phenomenal storytellers. And I know Mary Coleman who is the head of the story department there at Pixar that nothing gets green lit there unless they know clearly what those points of universal connection there are to the audience. How is the audience going to tie into the story emotionally?

I would say that any great movie or any great story that traffics in that, I mean there has got to be something going on even if it’s an anti-hero moviewhere there is something human we can connect with, that we can relate to.

Taxi Driver Movie — Columbia Pictures 1976

TAXI DRIVER for example (Travis Bickle played by Robert De Niro). Here’s a guy who is lonely. He wants to go on a date. He is living…it’s just loneliness right there. Everybody at some point has been lonely or felt like an outsider or an outcast and so that is enough right there that I’m interested in the guy to see how he is existing in one of the most heavily populated places in the United States (Manhattan, New York).

Taxi Driver Movie — Columbia Pictures 1976

So I would say that is absolutely critical. You’ve got to find that point of emotional connection. I’d say it even goes further than that. You as a writer have to find how you are emotionally connected to the character because that is the kind of passion that can manifest itself on the page where the words lift up off of the page and into the imagination of the reader because you are so dialed into that character that their experience infuses your own writing. So it is absolutely critical…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


CONNECT WITH SCOTT MYERS:

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SAWGRASS on Youtube by Jack Peterson. Jack is an American filmmaker based in Chicago. He’s been featured in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and ABC News for his work as an activist. His first feature film, Sawgrass, is a psychedelic journey through Florida, featuring an extensive interview with the brother of the Las Vegas shooter. Sawgrass also features a performance by the Rock-afire Explosion, a vintage animatronic band created by famed inventor Aaron Fechter. Jack’s next feature film, My Perfect Everything, tells the story of a magician chasing an imaginary woman he met in 1989. My Perfect Everything is currently in the early stages of pre-production.