Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling – Rule 6

Hey there!

Start me talking about storytelling, and how important it is to your VO career to develop and hone your storytelling skills…and it’s hard for me to stop talking about it.

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 giving 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 6…

What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

In the VO2GoGo animation class, I talk about going against type with your character choices, and not going for the typical approach to a character.

One way to do that is to have a conversation with the character. Ask questions. Chat a bit. Just make it up as you go along, but get to know the character.

Once you do, make it even more interesting by challenging your assumptions about what the character would do in certain situations.

And see which of those situations you can find parallels with in the script you’re being paid to voice.

What is unexpected? What is surprising? What raises the heat, or refines the voice, or makes the lines come alive?

Answer that in the voice of the character, and you’ve got an advantage no one else has.


Next rule?

More about great endings.

I’ll share that with you next time.


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  1. Great advice!!
    I recently submitted an audition for a PFH book through ACX. According to the rights holder (author), my rendition of the character was completely off. Like no where near what she envisioned. BUT I landed the role 1) because I took direction and recreated the character to her specs (with my own flair added of course) and 2) she said all other auditions were people just “reading the words”, not telling the story.
    Your advice is gold to me. Thank you.