Pixar filmmaker: Let your audience do the work

people sitting on gang chairs
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

This is a great soundbite from Pixar filmmaker Andrew Stanton about why we crave and relate to stories, and why reading, watching or listening to a story isn’t a passive activity.

Storytelling is joke telling. It’s knowing your punchline, your ending – knowing that everything you’re saying, from the first sentence to the last, is leading to a singular goal, and ideally confirming some truth that deepens our understandings of who we are as human beings. We all love stories. We’re born for them. Stories affirm who we are. We all want affirmations that our lives have meaning and nothing does a greater affirmation than when we connect through stories. It can cross the barriers of time – past, present, and future – and allow us to experience the similarities between ourselves and through others, real and imagined…

The audience actually wants to work for their meal. They just don’t want to know that they’re doing that. That’s your job as a storyteller is to hide the fact that you’re making them work for their meal. We’re born problem solvers. We’re compelled to deduce and to deduct because that’s what we do in real life. It’s this well-organized absence of information that draws us in.

h/t to Brain Pickings