The rules 6 and 7 of pixar (or almost)

Les règles 6 et 7 de chez pixar (ou presque)

Anatomy of a scenario

Rules 6 and 7 of Pixar to tell a story


Hello all, here are the rules 6 and 7 of the 22 rules of writing from Pixar. You can find the rules 1 to 5 here ;o)

I’ll put a link to The free E-book (but in English), written by Stephen Vladimir Bugaj , who has been writer/ director at Pixar and who has “compiled” these rules. As on his website, he allows everybody to download and to talk about his E-book. I put you the link here : http://static1.squarespace.com/static/52675998e4b07faca3f636a5/t/527f0a75e4b012bf9e7361c5/1384057461885/Pixar22RulesAnalyzed_Bugaj.pdf

This will allow you to have a kind of anatomy of the scenario once the 22 rules will be in lines.

You can also go to the website of Stéphane Vladimir Bugdaj here (in English).


For those who do not speak English here is the summary of the 22 rules. It is a translation in my own way ;o) that is to say, sometimes with more hints :

6) Define the positive points of your character and put his / her opposing enemy.

I do not hide you that in fact this rule, if taken in the first degree, can lead to a lot of writers into a trap quite common…

Let me explain. This rule says : put your characters out of their comfort zone. Their conduct tests and analyze how it‘s act, interact and manage the situations. In short, do what I tell you from the beginning : evolve your characters according to the events they encounter.

Therefore, this rule, taken in the first meaning, you put up a world between all the time in contradiction with your character and you create a system of storytelling is rather flat and devoid of nuance. But this also means removing the ability to your viewers the pleasure of discovering how your characters react to situations comfortable…that is to say, of all the days.

Write and construct a story based solely on conflicts constantly “annoying” induces a structure that is very mechanical. The writers fall into a common trap that seeks to create conflict by all means.

Example : If your character is a violinist extraordinaire, the perfect opposite would lead you to put him in situations where he might not play fair. But this situation may only play on rhythm more than on the conflict likely.

While this rule is much more interesting when it is used to the emotional and not the skills of the characters. It is as to force or compel a character to not use any of his skills (gifts) because you got a possibility to add value to your story not as a central element or central conflict in your story, but as the conflict secondary.


I must tell you that the cra transformational of your characters is built on the emotional for the most part. This rule can be used for your character so out of his comfort zone emotionally. By doing this, not only your characters suffer hardships, but you encourage them to change their emotional responses. This is how you will build it correctly the arc, the emotional content of your characters.


Here is an example for you to understand what I was trying to explain to you :

Let’s imagine that one of your characters do it so that, thanks to lies. Let’s assume that you place it in a situation where he is obligated to tell the truth. You create an interesting situation you use what it is to create a conflict that is directly related to the arc of a transformation of your character. This conflict will bring your character to develop his sincerity, or on the contrary will plunge to its destruction if the story is a tragedy.


You must oblige you to present your characters in their area of confort, their ordinary world so that your viewers know that they have to do. If we take the example of the liar, the ordinary world would be a world in which lying to him is natural and easy. The viewer would see it as a gift, a brilliant feature of your character.

And then you’ll move your character out of his comfort zone by making him live situations where it could not use what he usually does in his ordinary world. You will create at the time of the dramatic situations that will force them to change, to transform.

Once your character is will be accustomed to this change and that it will become “natural” or will become such a part of itself, then you can put it in a situation in which the lie would be the most obvious solution to a new conflict. It will be again a comfort zone and you will be in opposition, during an event, these two values.

This kind of confrontation is very effective, because any character who undergoes a transformation of his personality is going to use his old skills , not as something that is part of it, but rather as tools to get out of a situation without falling into the pitfalls of his former self. This is not a situation that required that to use ” tools “ that purpose. The hero can very well, evolved, not to fall back to what it was before, but to find a solution equivalent to the use of his former through.

This confrontation with what it was before so he has to go through a transformation is very strong in terms of dramaturgy, especially if during the story and the trials he has to face you have to give yourself time to accept this transformation. You receive the interest of the viewer who does not wait for one thing : to know what the character is going to choose.


  • To go back to what it was (which is bad)
  • Or stay what it has become


Knowing that to go back to what it was before you risk to destroy it…

If you had to retain only one thing, it is that you need to build your story and all the drama from your characters, and their comfort zone. Then put them in situations, events that require them to go beyond these areas so that they could find other solutions and that they will change. And then once processed, compare them to what they were before their transformation to see how they react. The interest of a story is built around the fact (idea) that the hero can choose to back or not back.

7) It is necessary to know the end of his story before you begin

As in rule 3, I am fully agree with this rule : It is necessary to know absolutely the end of your story even before the beginning !

Just because you know how your story ends, gives you a goal to achieve in your writing work and it is much easier to know where we are going.

The most effective way to structure your work is the following :

  • Start off with a dramatic concept of basic, a basic situation if you prefer, which incorporates the principle of the transformation (the arc-transformational)


  • Set the details of this end : the resolution of all conflicts, and especially the answers to all the questions asked during the history. To answer these questions you need to know what this means for your heroes, and especially to know how the main conflict of your story is going to adjust and what it will involve in thematic issues of your story and emotionally to your hero.


  • Set the beginning of your story, that is to say : The ordinary world and the trigger of which will flow all the issues and conflicts of your story. You must have a global vision of your story (you should know what you want to tell), that is to say, both the plot and the personality (the emotional) of your hero. Then you must define what will be the central conflict around which you just defined tends.


  • Establish that going to be the middle of your story keeping in mind that all parties must link naturally in order to have a clear narrative and well-structured.

This structure may seem to you to be ” rigid “. Some must be saying ” I can’t follow this model because my ideas come spontaneously “ and I will tell you that everyone is like that. But we must tell you that this phase is only there to have good bases and combine your concept. You say that the use of this model is only an intermediary and that it avoids a huge loss of time if you follow the reflections of the kind : ” I have a great idea ! Let’s see what I can do.”

As soon as you have your basic concept you need to, no matter what happens, the structure ! What are the ideas that come to mind, these are only ideas…none of these ideas is structured, none of these ideas is a story that is exploitable. It will be necessary, whatever happens, this idea, these ideas in history. It is thus necessary to pass by a work of structuring. Use this model can, therefore you avoid a lot of difficulties for the future. The structure will also allow you to be able to rework/ rewrite your story.


You need to ask :

How and why the concept/ the basic idea has she changed ?


Is that the end still works ?


If this is not the case, up to what point the fact of change this end change the rest of the story ?

You need to do the same for the beginning and the middle. Once you have a general idea of what they were able to have all of these changes you will be able to look into the details of the story. If you always take the time to think about the goal you want to achieve in your story, you will always find the way to achieve ! It may be that you will not succeed on the first try/ at the first try, and you will need to try something else in order to discover how to get there. It is there that lies the interest of the rewrite and reflection.


That’s it for this article on “The rules of writing for pixar rule 6 and 7”, which means a lot for me.

Let me have your comments at the bottom of the article.

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Thank you to those who will make it ;o) and that are already doing that ;o).

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Has next Sunday.

Tom Weil

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

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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