Setting a Story in Motion at Pixar

Think about it for just a moment… have you ever seen a bad Pixar film?


Is that only because of their ever-evolving, cutting edge animation and star-powered voice acting?


As we’ve all seen time and time again, when quality visuals and star power are glittered over the top of poorly written stories it almost always leads to mediocre results (at best). So why is Pixar consistently exceptional?

Simply put, Pixar’s dedication to story is unparalleled in the entertainment industry.

Whenever I have conversations about screenwriting and the film industry with non-writer friends (often after them sharing their unmet expectations of a recent “blockbuster” film), I always like to mention how Pixar uses one writer on projects and how that’s one element of their consistent quality. Along with Pixar choosing extremely talented writers, having that singular voice even in a highly collaborative environment gives their stories, and ultimately their films, that unique Pixar glow.

So, I was tickled when John August posted a link to Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt’s video on how to set a story in motion. Click here to check out the article and watch the video.

Along with being an enjoyable insight into Michael Arndt’s perspective and process, his way of presenting first act structure in this video helped me further solidify these familiar building blocks in a unique and fun way.

Thanks, Michael!

In Between Engagements – Official Trailer

Please take a moment to check out the official trailer for the film In Between Engagements.

While I’m likely biased since it stars my extraordinarily talented brother Kaelan Strouse, it looks to be a fun film and I can’t wait to see it.


Writing and Stuff

Decided to take a break from blogging to focus on…

  • Lots of work
  • A new feature length script
  • A Short film script for an Emmy Award Winning Director
  • The purchase of a new house (lots of work!)

Good stuff coming soon!

A Nicholl for your thoughts (Part 4)

I received my email from the competition on Monday evening and the screenplay I entered did not make it to the quarterfinals this year.

However, at the bottom of the email was…

“PS: Your script received two positive reads.”

According to this entry from the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Facebook page, that means my entry fell somewhere in places 1427 – 2526 out of almost 7,200 scripts.  I need to remind myself to feel good about being in the top 20%-35% and take that as a positive to keep writing and honing my skills.

On a positive note, my friend Ron Maede’s script “God Gets Fired” did make it into the quarterfinals!  I had a chance to read this script awhile back and am very excited for Ron since it’s a quite clever, interesting, and fun story.

Good luck in the quarterfinals, Ron!!!