• Extending Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling to Experience Design

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    Pixar is a creative organization we often draw inspiration from. Aerogramme Writers’ Studio recently captured a list of Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling, a list originally tweeted by Emma Coats, Pixar’s Story Artist.

    It’s a really nice list. And it closely overlaps with what we all do with envisioning and writing into existence what an experience should be.

    So I had some fun, took some creative license, and changed a couple our words in [brackets] below to compare the rules of storytelling to the design of experiences:

    • You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as [a user], not what’s fun to do as a [designer]. They can be very different.
    • Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
    • Finish your [experience], let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
    • When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the [ideas] to get you unstuck will show up.
    • Pull apart the [experiences] you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
    • Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
    • Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th—get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
    • If you were your [user or customer], in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
    • What’s the essence of your [experience]? Most economical [interaction with] it? If you know that, you can build out from there.


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