A Dreamer Walking

story, Story, STORY!!!

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on April 15, 2010

Please click on the picture and read the comic before you read my post.

A good story is key to any good movie. This comic has a good point about the difference between Pixar and Dreamworks (for the most part). At the moment Dreamworks is cranking out 5 movies every 2 years. Because of the extreme demand for material, Dreamworks often seems to forget about quality. Their stories are usually weak and the characters shallow without very solid development.

Even though it is hard to believe because of their extreme success, Pixar movies are often very risky. Common Hollywood has shown they want reliable and safe stories. Since most of Hollywood does not want to take risks, they often make animated movies with common themes (animals talking) and lot of potty humor (because lets face it, potty humor SALES). If the movie is successful, they try to make a franchise out of the product; with a bunch of quickly made, artistically void, sequels (Shrek II-IV, Madagascar 2 and 3, Ice Age 2, 3, and 4… so far).

If Pixar wanted to play it safe they would not have started their career making an original non-musical animated movie (ALL the animated movie that had been coming out were musical and based on an existing story) about Toys. Pixar went further with their risky storytelling by having their main character be a self observed jerk for the first half of the film. Toy Story, was close to being shelved more then once, the Disney people who were trying to be in control, told Pixar that their movie did not have the main elements of a good animated movie. They thought the title of Toy Story would not reach an audience over 10 years. They thought  there was no major bad guy driving the film. And Disney was concerned by the fact that most of the crew working on Toy Story had not even graduated from collage.

So, Toy Story and Pixar were not supposed to be a success. The reason they were a success was because the story and characters were driving the film. The Pixar people cared about the movie and all the arguments about what got into the movie and what went out had to do with making the story better. In the making of Toy Story we saw people who actually cared about toys and gave the characters honest and unique personalities. They were able to stick to their guns because they were looking out for the stories best interest. This all took a lot of risk. No one knew what the result would be for no one had taken the rout Pixar was taking.

Through out Pixar’s history they kept taking risks. They hired director Brad Bird, who had just had a movie flop in the theaters (Iron Giant) and told him to “shake things up”, even though Pixar had been having nothing but success up to that point. Their movies after Toy Story would not be considered guaranteed money makers, either. We saw a movie with the main character being a rat that wants to cook and a movie about a robot where you hardly hear a line of dialogue in the first 30 minutes of the film. Then their was the movie UP, where you go on an adventure with a 75 year old man and 8 year old boy. With all these movies common Hollywood would say no. They worked however because the creators had vision that they were not willing to compromise with.

Getting money should not be the main reason for making a movie. The core of a movie can not be the special effects, the action, the humor, or the romantic love scenes. The movie can have all these things in them, but it needs to be initiated by the core of the story. The story needs to give purpose for the special effects, the humor, and the action. There needs to be reason to why something is happening.

There really is no limit to what kind of story you can tell. The only thing you need is a crew willing to take risks and follow vision. You need a story worth telling. A story that is able to get into peoples hearts is a story that will last. I want to make movies that impact people. A good movie is a unique story that makes its own statement or asks its own questions.

STORY must be put ahead of everything else in film business. If you do not have unique characters to explore and concepts to express, then you do not have a good enough reason to be making a film.

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