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Pixar Storytelling: Rules for Effective Storytelling Based on Pixar’s Greatest Films Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
When the book arrived yesterday, I saw that neither were true.
1) The book reads like a good, undergraduate thesis. It highlights several classic storytelling (and screenwriting) tropes and plot construction methods, with lengthy, scene-by-scene examples from almost every Pixar hit film, ever.
2) The printed book was published in color, which required a higher-than-average selling price. However, the only only interior illustration is a color photo of the author, plus blue text for the chapter numbers.
Another reviewer has mentioned the fact that this is good information, but amateurishly presented.
I agree. These "rules" are solid, familiar points I've read over & over again in excellent books by Jeffrey Alan Schechter, Blake Snyder, Shawn Coyne, Larry Brooks, and others.
And, as a Pixar and Disney fan, I'm kind of appalled that the book's title and thumbnail cover image (with the Pixar-ish desk lamp) suggest that the author has some connection with Pixar. It's why I bought this book.
Sadly, the presentation issues don't end with the misleading title, subtitle, and cover design.
When I opened the book, instead of a title page, I saw a full page headed COPYRIGHTS. Yes, with an S. And then the standard copyright blurb. It's a little difficult to get past such an obvious typo in letters a half-inch tall.
The second page...? A disclaimer that concludes: "The author and publisher are not affiliate [sic] with Pixar or Walt Disney Animation Studios." Another glaring typo, and no mention that Pixar and related names are trademarked. (That's odd, for someone who makes his own copyright such a high priority.)
I never found a title page.
However, despite the book's amateurish first impression, I was STILL hoping to read some wonderful insights about storytelling.
Some of the information in the book is okay. Mostly, it's a fan's opinions of how Pixar tells engaging stories.
He makes some good points. Far more are confusing, at best. Due to grammar and punctuation problems, I frequently had to stop and re-read sentences, sometimes several times, to understand what the author intended to say.
A bigger problem: the author seems to assume we're familiar with every Pixar film. I've seen most, but not all of them.
So, when the author talks about "the scene where....," in a movie I haven't seen, I'm clueless. Whatever point he was making is diluted. In some cases (even if I've seen the film multiple times), his points entirely elude me.
When the author came up with this book concept, it was probably seemed like a good idea. If he rewrites this, possibly from the ground up, it might work. I'm not sure.
As I see it, these are the book's main problems:
- The cover and title need to make it clear this is NOT a Pixar book. The author ISN'T sharing an insider's views from Pixar's story creation process.
- This book's basic content -- the "rules" -- aren't new. Others, especially Schechter and Snyder, have explained them more effectively.
- The author seems to assume we'll "get it" if he simply references Pixar scenes. That may work well in conversations he's had, but in many cases, even when I'd seen the related film many times, I still wasn't sure of this author's points.
- This book needs proofreading to correct confusing grammar and punctuation. It probably needs thorough editing, too.
- Improved formatting could provide a better first impression and improve the reading experience. Justified margins are just one improvement I'd suggest.
- This book's price is far too high. Had the author been willing to leave out the full-color photo of himself, a b&w interior would have allowed him to price this book more appropriately.
"Pixar Storytelling" isn't entirely awful, but it's NOT a five-star book. The best I can give it is two stars, and that may be too high.
I'm returning this book to Amazon.
When you get past the really bad formatting, the context of this book is good. The author breaks down Pixar story telling into 10 different subjects. Some of the subjects are choosing an idea, creating empathy, and creating drama/conflict. He even has a message for Aspiring Artist. He uses examples of all of the Pixar films from Toy Story to Inside Out. This book does give me a different perspective on Pixar’s movies, and TED talks, and Toastmaster’s speeches.
The kindle version of this book is very bad, and does take advantage of many of the kindle features. You will find the context of this book good if you do not mind reading this book on your laptop. The publisher really needs to fix the kindle version of this book, or amazon needs to lower the price.
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