1. We are all storytellers

Due May 31st by 11:59 pm

What makes a story great?  What makes someone a good storyteller?  Storytelling is something we all do naturally, starting at a young age, but there’s a difference between good storytelling and great storytelling.  In this lesson you’ll hear from Pixar directors and story artists about how they got their start and what stories inspire them, and you’ll begin to think about what kinds of stories you might want to tell.

Introduction to storytelling

Activity 1: Expressing memories

Part A: Think of a memory that you remember vividly. It should be a memory that comes easily to you.

Part B: Why do you think you remember this so well? Try connecting one or more emotions to this memory.

A strip of characters from Pixar's "Inside Out" movie: sadness, joy, fear, disgust, and anger.

Part C: Now try and express your memory and emotion in some way. The goal is to get it out of your head. Here are some ideas for what you could do.

  • Verbally: Tell your memory to someone that you know. Can you make them feel the emotion?
  • Written: Write your memory in less than a page. Do the emotions come out in your words?
  • Visually: Express your memory using only lines and shapes. Do the emotions come out in your drawings? Example

Go to your Google Drive folder and create a Google Doc to write your ideas and responses.

Your Favorite Stories

Activity 2: Your three favorite films

Part A: Identify the three films that you would take to a deserted island….

A scene from Pixar's film "Up" of a very tall waterfall.

Part B: Why do you think you connected with these stories? Come up with at least one reason for each.

Part C: What, if anything, do these three films have in common? How are they different?

Go to your Google Drive folder and create a Google Doc to write your ideas and responses.

What if…

Activity 3: What if…

An illustration of a man thinking, with his hand on his chin and a question mark above his head.

Part A: Return to your 3 favorite films and try reframing each of them in terms of a “what if” statement. Share these with someone (written or verbally) and see if they can guess what movie it is from!

Part B: Now it’s your turn. Come up with 3-5 of your own “what if” ideas.

Go to your Google Drive folder and create a Google Doc to write your ideas and responses.

World & Character

Activity 4: Worlds & Characters

A scene from the Pixar short film "Sanjay's Super Team" with a boy inside a building with magical sculptures.

Part A: Return to your 3 films. Identify the worlds and characters in each. Write these down.

  • Who are the main characters?
  • Is there a character you identify with most?
  • Where does the movie take place? Is it one world or multiple worlds?

Part B: Try mixing a character and world from different movies. Try this a few times and see what happens.

Part C: Return to your three “what if” statements from the previous exercises. Pick your favorite one. Can you imagine a possible character and world?

Part D: (optional) Draw or write about what life would be like in this world.

Go to your Google Drive folder and create a Google Doc to write your ideas and responses.

Advice from Storytellers

Glossary: Storytelling

Here’s a list of definitions introduced during this lesson.

  • Story: a sequence of events which unfold through time.
  • Perspective: a point of view or way of seeing the world.
  • World: the environment or set of rules where a story takes place.
  • Character: the subjects or individuals we follow on the journey of the story.
  • Protagonist: the main character(s), whose journey the story is about

Effective communication among peers is extremely important, and using the correct terminology will help you get your ideas across more effectively. Create a Google Doc in your Google Drive and name it The Art of Storytelling Glossary. Each week copy and paste the new glossary terms into that document and focus on learning those terms the way they’re used in the animation industry.

Due May 31st by 11:59 pm

When you complete this module’s activities, upload your doc using the link below:

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