When sitting down to watch an animated film, the last thing you'd expect to happen is to break down into a sorry mess of tears. An assumption one should apparently never make when gearing up to watch a Pixar movie, seeing as crying, even when you're an adult, is ultimately inevitable. Trust me, it's a lesson I had to learn the hard way after finding myself trying to embarassingly hold back sobs in the cinema, halfway through Inside Out, over a raggedy, pink elephant named Bing Bong. That being said, what exactly makes Pixar's creations, from Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Up, Coco, and more, all so perfectly emotional and generation-defining?
Turns out, they have a specific 22-step structure for all their writers to take note of. Five of which are the most essential to eventually creating that tear-jerking, magic, "Pixar Moment" by the end of the story.
First is the five-step format, a.k.a. the introduction to a character's daily routine, until it's shattered by an unexpected change that they then have to struggle through. Second, is the importance of giving their characters strong opinions, whether they're agreeable or not, that will soon elicit from them universal emotions that anyone can relate to. Third, a reminder to only use coincidences to get their characters into trouble, instead of out of one. Fourth, throwing polar opposite personalities against each other, only to watch them grow and learn from the other in the end. Lastly, the mandate to only reveal the real lesson of the story by the end, which keeps their writers from feeding the audience didactic, on-the-nose themes throughout the film. In short, your tears quite literally sneak up on you.
Watch the whole video, below to learn more about Pixar's secret formula.