There’s a feeling that we get from watching Pixar movies that is hard to describe. They are silly and fun, yet they tug at whatever it is that makes us all human. Whether you love the Cars brand, or think nothing will ever live up to the original Toy Story, it is hard to dispute the fact that Pixar has created some of the most timeless and influential stories of recent years. Pixar Chief Creative Officer and overall creative genius, John Lasseter, recently gave an hour long interview to Charlie Rose, spilling many of his creative secrets for success. Given that he is one of the greats in the industry, we think it is important to listen.
Learn to Value the Arts
John Lasseter gives a lot of his creative credit to the fact that he grew up in a family where the arts were appreciated and valued. His mom was an art teacher, his dad worked on cars. (Perhaps now you can understand where the idea for Cars came from!) Since his mom saw the value in art, Lasseter did not hesitate to enroll in animation school right after high school. Could you imagine where the world of story telling had been if Lasseter’s parents urged him to stifle his creativity and become an accountant? Value the arts; they do a lot to enrich our lives.
Remember the Fundamentals
“…we never forget what the fundamentals of movies are…the stories and the characters.” Though Pixar was revolutionary in creating computer animation, it is the stories that John Lasseter says propels his movies to greatness. They do not use technology as a crutch to hold up average stories. The story comes first.
Think Believable, Not Realistic
During the interview, Charlie Rose worded a question to John Lasseter using the word “realistic”. Lasseter was quick to correct him. “I never want to produce a world that people think exist.” The idea of creating something believable is an art of combining details both within the plot and within the visuals that will leave the audience saying, “this looks really real, but I know it can’t be.”
John Lasseter says one of the Pixar moments he is most proud of is the first ten minutes of the movie Up. With absolutely no dialogue, we’re taken through a character’s entire life, leaving everyone in the theater weeping. These types of connections between audience and characters are what Lasseter says sets Pixar movies apart. “Not only are our movies beautiful and unique and unusual, but they have heart.”
Always Aim High
“We believe that kids are very smart. We don’t dumb it down. We aim high.” Just because a movie is animated does not mean it has to be silly to the point stupidity. Lasseter and the entire crew at Pixar work to keep their stories at a level that grandparents, college students, young professionals, teenagers, parents and children will all appreciate.
If you want to watch Charlie Rose’s hour long interview with John Lasseter, just click on this link.
And if you’re ready to make some movie making magic of your own, we are here to help. Get your story started by using this free storyboard template.
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