Pixar Rules of Story #10 – Finding your Voice


Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognise it before you use it.

Rule #10 is, essentially, another writing exercise that is both vital for our development as writers but, more importantly, fun! It talks about the importance of analysing our favourite films to work out what it is about them that appeals. The scenes, beats, tropes, plots, devices and pacing. All those things you like will help inform your own writing and identify your own “Personal Thematic” that will come across in your writing as you incorporate those elements.

The good thing about identifying your Personal Thematic in this way is that it is not genre specific. If your personal thematic is friendship, you can work that into all sort of films, across all genres. For example, thematically, Stand by Me and The Hangover are about friendship but couldn’t be more different tonally.

Knowing and understanding your own thematic preferences and influences leads to developing your own voice from the stories you tell, and that is what makes you stand out as your own self, rather than just another writer.

Although I can see the advantages to doing this, I would add one simple caveat – don’t just pull apart your favourite stories, or the ones you like. Watch as much as you can, whether it is within a genre you normally gravitate towards or to areas where you may rarely tread. All films, whether good or bad overall, may have aspects to them that you connect with and that can help you understand your own thematic leanings.

And this isn’t just about copying, it is about understanding how stories work and how they can help you to tell your’s.

Or, put it another way, Rule #10 is simply telling you that one of the most important things that will lead you on a path to great screenwriting, after getting words on paper, is:

Watch Films!

So go on… forget work and go switch on the TV!


Do you regularly watch and analyse films in relation to your own writing?

Do you see influences from the films you watch in your own stories?


Feel free to comment below and remember to come back next week for Rule #11 –Don’t be afraid of failure

Please also check out the Introduction to the series if you missed that, where you can also find an index to all the posts.



Posted on May 13, 2015, in Films, Learning, theme, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

MK McFadden

Portolio and Blog

The Part Time Writer

The blank page awaits

Fiona Faith Ross

Author Blog

Dead Letters

El blog de la serie de TV para teatro


learning the freedom to do anything...in VFX & animation

Sabina Giado

Muslim. Mom. Filmmaker. Hopeless romantic.

The Novice Screenwriter

A friendly blog and resource for writers, screenwriters and wannabes young and old

Mumblings & Musings of a Rookie Screenwriter

...you might want to avert your eyes.

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

I don't break news, I fix it.

Elan Mudrow


1001 Scribbles

Random and Abstract Lines


educational astronomy articles and videos


A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Above the clouds

My adventures with amateur astronomy

Grady P Brown - Author

Superheroes - Autism - Fantasy - Science Fiction

%d bloggers like this: