To an outsider (especially a struggling writer), the story development process at huge studios such as Pixar and Disney seems to be a buttoned-up, streamlined machine. But what appears to be formulaic – idea, script, storyboarding, artists, premiere, mega millions in profit – is anything but.
It’s encouraging news if you ask me. It means we mere mortals probably work through a similar story development process as the best and brightest storytellers in the world, with fewer people on our team, of course.
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To prove my point, SoCreate had the pleasure of interviewing storyteller Lorien McKenna. She spent years in Pixar’s story department, working on scripts for massively successful films like “Up,” “Brave,” and “Inside Out.”
While the development process is arguably conducted on a much bigger scale at Pixar, Lorien says it’s still “sort of like any other development process.”
Below, she shares the crazy maze an idea must find its way through to reach its final destination: the screen.
Steps in the Pixar Development Process
Step 1: The Idea
Step 2: The Pitch
Step 3: An Executive Producer is Assigned
Step 4: The Script is Written
Step 5: Initial Team Begins Art & Story Development
Step 6: The Feedback Loop
Step 7: Project Approval & Team Growth
Step 8: Additional Script Development
Step 9: Reels Dates Assigned
Step 10: Feedback Loop
Step 11: Additional Tech Development
Step 12: A Finalized Film!
Years later, a beautiful film hits the big and small screens after a massive collaboration of hundreds of people.
Even without a team of hundreds, you can recreate the very same process at Pixar with just a few trusted advisors in your corner.
But you’ve got time, writer,