Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling – Rule 9

Hey there!

I love teaching VO talent about storytelling, and how important it is to your VO career to develop and hone your storytelling skills.

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 9…

When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

This rule brings me to the art of avoiding the cliché.

If you can enumerate the ways you’d voice a line if you were just beginning, making simple choices that reflected only what you’d heard others do in the past, then you can eliminate those, and move on to choices that really reflect your core, natural voice.

Example: how would you voice this line?

Witch: I'll get you, my pretty! And your little dog, too!

If you’re being lazy about it, or not very creative, or not paying attention to your brand, it might come out sounding like Margaret Hamilton in the original Wizard of Oz.

But if that’s the cliché, then that’s one down you don’t need. Do it your way. Once you know the ways you don’t want to do it, the way you choose to do it best always seems to show up.


Next rule?

Bringing you and your brand to the party.

I’ll share that with you next time.


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  1. Oh how- funny- I visualized a TV commercial for a BEER product and Paris Hilton kissing a bottle and patting a little dogs head and saying the tag as she blows him a kiss or maybe a little Taco Bell dog and Shaq or Tyson biting into a taco and saying and your little dog too- now THAT is a little controversal lol