Pixar’s Top Filmmakers Will Teach You About Storytelling for Free

Pixar storytelling
Facebook/DisneyPixar

If there’s one thing that Pixar knows about, it’s storytelling. And no one is more qualified to talk about storytelling than the creators of Pixar hits like “Toy Story,” “Up,” “Cars,”Inside Out” and “Wall-E.”

Oh, and the lessons are free.

Pixar, the renowned Disney-owned animation studio, has launched a series of free online courses on the art of storytelling. According to Engadget, Pixar intends the courses to “help you find the kind of stories you want to tell — and help you tell them better.”

The first of six storytelling lessons, “We are all storytellers,” is available at PixarInABox.org. Pixar is creating these courses in collaboration with Khan Academy, a nonprofit online education site.

According to Variety, Pixar will roll out the rest of the “Art of Storytelling” lessons through the rest of this year. The online courses will use videos, exercises and activities to show students how to build characters and worlds, and to guide students from an initial idea to a completed storyboard.

The courses feature a serious roster of talent. Directors and artists giving their insights on storytelling include Pete Docter, director of “Up,” “Inside Out” and “Monsters, Inc.”; Mark Andrews, director of “Brave” and story supervisor on “The Incredibles”; “Inside Out” story artist Domee Shi; and Sanjay Patel, animator on “Cars,” “Ratatouille” and “Monsters, Inc.”

“We hope that by sharing how we tell stories, we’ll inspire students all over the world to tell their own stories,” Docter said.

This is the third installment of courses from Pixar in a Box. Previous courses have focused on more technical aspects of making animated movies, like color science, virtual cameras and character rendering.

Your Turn: Would you like to learn more about storytelling from Pixar?

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. His favorite Pixar movie will always be “Toy Story.”

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