Turns out there’s a formula.
We’ve talked before about the staggering success rate of Pixar. 25 years, nearly 20 movies, and not a loser in the bunch. Sure, some are more successful than others, but whether they earn a billion dollars or not, Pixar flicks resonate with children – and adults – in ways that a lot of family fare does not. This is for a multitude of reasons, but near the top of the list has got to be the characters which the studio creates to populate its films, characters who are based on very simple but static traits, four of which are identified in the following video from Studio Binder.
First off, Pixar characters have spines, no matter how meek they may appear. Secondly, they all have clear and external wants or objectives. Third, they all have unconscious internal needs to balance these wants, and finally, they all have satisfactory character arcs. These might seem like basic traits, but when you put them all together in Pixar’s specific formula, the results are some of the most immortal characters and films of the last quarter-century.
Now, obviously, there’s a little more to all this than just the bulletpoints I mention above, but that’s what the video’s for. If you’re a screenwriter, this is an invaluable two-and-a-half-minutes you can’t afford to miss. The same goes for storytelling fans, Pixar fans, or anyone who loves a good, well-developed character.