Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling – Rule 1

Hey there!

You’ve no doubt heard me prattle on about storytelling, and how important it is to your VO career to develop and hone your storytelling skills.

It’s essential.

So, every so often, I like to roll out items from this list from Emma Coats, who used to work at Pixar as a story artist, and who serially tweeted Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling.

I’m going to give you one of these rules every so often as we move through the next several months, along with how you can apply the rule to your VO artistry.

Today, Rule 1…

You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

In all forms of voice work, from commercial to animation, you have to fall in love with your character, and the journey they take in the copy.

Yes, even if you’re the helpful Honda guy.

Your character in commercial work, in narration work, in audiobooks, in animation – is your baby. And storytelling thrives on the attempt, not the success.

We root for characters that are dedicated and resourceful, whether they actually succeed at what they’re doing or not.

Whatever your character, voice them from a position of joy for their existence and their quest. If you’re a salesperson for a big box store, then your character’s journey includes saving people money, giving them great advice and a lot more.

If you’re a character in an animation piece or video game, then chances are your character is on a bigger journey than 30 or 60 seconds. And if you’re voicing an audiobook, then apply this to all of your characters and their quests.

Next rule?

It’s all about the audience.

I’ll share that with you next time.

5 Responses to Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling – Rule 1

  1. KK Ryder-VOICE CANDY STUDIOS SoCal April 2, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    I just love that you share-b’cuz we LEARN so much!!!! this one is so true-and it also encompasses that NARRATOR voice that we all have inside of us!!

    • joe wiese February 20, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

      Hello. I am a voice over talent and would like to share my work. If your interested in my created character on youtube I would like to send you the link. Or you can go to youtube and put in TRIP CARSIN – ADVENTURE REPORTER

  2. Dale Latham May 22, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    What a great tip! This piece resonated with me (Aha-moment) and now I am waiting impatiently for the rest. Thanks for sharing the knowledge and being a part of my #PLN.

  3. Carl J. Street February 20, 2017 at 7:30 am #

    Agreed — case in point, Leonidas, Hannibal, and Spartacus all “failed” miserably; yet the narratives of their efforts make for edge of the chair dramatic stories.

  4. Tonya February 20, 2017 at 9:03 am #

    “Voice them from a position of JOY…”
    — i love that !

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