rules 16 and 17 Storytelling Pixar, to write a screenplay

règles 16 et 17 Storytelling Pixar, pour écrire un scénario

Anatomy of the timeline Pixar

Rules 16 and 17


Hello, here are the following rules on the anatomy of the scenario according to Pixar. I remind you that these rules are from the E-book Stephan Vladimir Bugaj, formerly of Pixar. On the net you can find these rules a little bit everywhere, except that no site explains these rules, nor how to use them. The E-book Stephan Vladimir Bugaj is only available in English, that’s why it was important to do the translation for you to understand the process, the structure of a film Pixar , and apply them to your stories.

16) Don’t forget the stakes of your story and why your hero part in the adventure. You need to give us reasons to be with your character, of the reasons for the support. What will happen if it fails ?

In a sense this rule 11 should be the first ! If you think about it, the question which arises in this rule is none other than “but what is your story ?” not based on the theme or topic of your scenario, but centered on your character. As in all good stories this is what your hero has to lose, if it does not overcome the events internal and external that he encounters, that keeps the story and interest. This success, or not, are, in reality, the stakes of the story. The success or failure it is this that forms the heart of your story. The ability of your hero to lose everything, right now, this is what will bring the viewer with your hero and you will be able to create the empathy they so desperately wanted.

It works with any kind of character : hero, anti-heros. If you have to target the spell against your hero, the audience will feel not only empathy they have for him, they will have the feeling that the victory which your hero just to win is earned (or in the case of a drama, and their failure).


Here is a question that a lot of producers and professionals arise :

“Why is this character there, and why at this moment ? “

Really what they are asking as a question, at the bottom, it is :

“But what are the issues ? “.


The imperfections of your hero, his bad decisions, his enemies and anything that stands against him must be obstacles that prevent it from reaching his goal and resolve the conflict that led him to go on an adventure ! Even the internal barriers, that is to say, the defects of the hero, his bad character must be part of the equation.

The work of the hero is to keep the cap so that the viewer is acquired the body and soul to the cause of the hero. He must sustain her in her quest but also have to be sensitive to the transformation that the hero is going to have to do (and to his bow, transformational) to achieve his goal. The more your hero will have the possibility of losing everything, the more the public will be behind him. This also means that more obstacles will be great, the more the goal will be difficult, if not impossible. This means that each thing that separates your hero from his goal and closer to the’failure heightens the stakes and pushes the audience to want to know how this will all end.


Increase the collateral damage is also a way to amplify the failure. That is to say, if the hero fails, he will die, but the world or life as we know it will disappear also. This rule works for the heroes, but also works for the enemies, not only because it will make very good villains and the obstacles will be even more great for your heroes, but mostly because, if the bad guys have goals opposed to the heroes, they are going to have to invest much more to achieve their goal. They will push your hero to its last entrenchments , so that it fails.


To continue on the antagonists (villains) they must have a huge advantage or if you prefer they are almost invincible. This way the heroes will have to join forces with other characters to hope, perhaps, defeat the villain. IF you create a villain that is too low for the hero, it will have no evil to defeat it, which will aim to remove all dramatic tension and lowering the stakes and the interest. If you look good in action movies, there is always a group of “small” villains who are not very strong, often stupid and attempt all of them to compete with one and the true villain that he is powerful, passionate.


Attention this is not the number or the amount of obstacles which makes the issues more important, but it is the power of the opposition they provide (what I just told you with small bad action films). Let’s take a simple example : If a soldier uses a tank to go to fight against 1000 Roman legionaries, the viewer will never be hanging on to his seat because there will be not really a voltage towards the soldier…with a tank it should come out fairly quietly ;o)

On the other hand if it is a single Roman legionary who attack him only tens of tanks, then the audience will ask themselves whether it will get by or ask

“how will he do to get out ?)

It is obvious that, as we have said in other rules, it is necessary that the personality of your hero will affect the way in which it interacts with events that occur. It is necessary, therefore, that its responses are consistent, credible, even if they are extraordinary or very little in common with the world that you have created.


The tension that you have created must be maintained until the end, until the denouement. Because of this, the success or failure of your hero can not be too simple or too suddenly, under penalty of being all put to the ground. To do this it is necessary that the final battle is won on the wire, it is necessary that the spectator in doubt until the end, that way you keep the link heroes/ spectators. A victory too easily won, or an uneven fight in favor of your hero will not have the same impact of empathy on your viewers. From the moment that the spectator will understand that the victory is easy or possible for your hero, it will release the pressure and pull away from your hero. Ditto, if your hero fails, the spectator will live intensely all the stages of the fight, and he will be much more close to your hero if, during the fight, he went through moments of hope. You will understand the issues that need to be the center of your story as your characters and the audience must clearly know what they are. Otherwise the spectators would not have the ins-and-outs and, thus, would have less empathy, or not at all. This is why you absolutely need to know, as a writer, the stakes of your story because in the contrary case you will write a confusing history from the beginning to the end.


One of the tricks to avoid this is to start your story by the end and lift the barriers up at the beginning of the story. Begin by the end of your story will also allow you to better control the evolution of your characters (heroes and villains). But also that all the steps of the adventure are coherent, that is to say, each obstacle/ challenge leads to the next. It should not create a barrier to make it pretty or to pass the time, it is necessary that it has a specific meaning in the story.


17) All of your ideas are good, but not necessarily to be used in a single scenario

It is a rule that I’ve more or less addressed in an article of this blog. This is an important rule because it has a double effect. The first is that all of your ideas are usable to term and the second is that leaving ideas aside will allow you to not to stay stuck or to hinder your creativity. Leave some ideas aside will allow you to progress.

Everything that you write is not a waste of time. We have seen in the previous rules that, often, to find good ideas for your scenario, it is necessary to take the paths of traverse, the test, thees refine and add. In short, test several ideas to simply find the best, this forces you to leave aside your first idea to test other. Which brings us to this famous quote

“Any replay is also a new reading “


What you have to say is that the more you write, paint etc….plus it gives you experience. This experience comes not through what you pass, but rather of your ability to understand what works but especially what does not work. This also means knowing how to identify the reason and try several ideas to find the right solution.

It is one of the things that you need to know very quickly : Do not hold on to a good idea, but it doesn’t work in your story. Rather than transform your story so that it sticks with your idea. Abandon what does not work and move on to something else and abandon it completely ! Do not attempt to put it in your story later.


Abandon an idea does not mean the return to later. Do not deceive yourself or do you voilez not the face or you might lose. Think that your extraordinary idea that does not work may be included later in your story is a heresy. But this idea may be suitable for another stream of your scenario or just going to work with a different story and I can promise you that this idea will be up to you in a timely manner.

So are you saying that your great idea, which has never been used, does not represent a loss of time. Take this as a

“You have tried the tracks to find the best solution “

It didn’t work this time, this is not serious, don’t be ashamed, don’t feel like they have lost time. All of this is part of the creative process, that’s all. Everything that is created does not have to be ;o)


To conclude, as many writers, artists, you are going to keep and store your ideas are not used in a drawer until they are used. Are you saying that all these ideas are not developed, they are only tests that could be useful later…or not. If you find yourself stuck on one of your stories, these ideas may help you…or not. But this is not for this that you must use all these ideas. Does you block not telling you

“I’ve got plenty of great ideas, it is necessary to use these at any price “

Many of your ideas will remain in this state. This is part of the creative process…they will not have been for nothing, thees create has been life-saving for you because it allowed you to gain experience and maturity.


That’s it for this article on rules 16 and 17 of the’anatomy of the scenario according to Pixar

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Has next Sunday.

Tom Weil

Here are other articles to help you create your characters and write your scenarios

Anatomy of the timeline Pixar rules 1 to 5

Rules of writing the screenplay Pixar rules 6 to 7

Rules of writing, anatomy of a screenplay Pixar rules 8 to 11

Rules for writing anatomy of a screenplay pixar 12 and 13

How to find a name for your characters

How to give emotion to your characters

Here’s how to create your main and secondary characters

How to master the identification with the characters

How to create your sheets of characters

Introduction to the adaptation of a book Parts 1 and 2

The importance of the sequences of the daily life in your scenario

The point-of-view narrative

How long is a short film !

10 steps to write a film

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