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Introduction to pitching and feedback

Pixar creates great stories through imagining, re-imagining, drawing, and redrawing. Pitching stories early and often helps gauge audience reactions and gather feedback. Refining and editing stories based on feedback improves their quality. Embrace the "what if" mindset and keep pushing for the best story possible.

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Video transcript

(classical music) - A good story. It had all the things I love in a book, great characters, an interesting world, a compelling plot, but I'm sure it didn't start out this great. Sometimes a Pixar story will start one way, and by the time it reaches the final version you see onscreen, it's become something really different. Did you know, in early versions of Toy Story Woody was a ventriloquist dummy and not the nicest toy in the box. - All right, all right, all right! Save your batteries people. - Or that Sulley was an aspiring dentist in the first version of Monsters University. In early versions of Coco, our main character wasn't called Miguel. He was Sam, and he didn't even play guitar. The film wasn't even about music. Good stories don't just pop out of our heads fully formed. (silly music) Great stories take many tries and often a few false starts. (silly music) Every single Pixar story is the result of imagining and re-imagining, drawing and redrawing. But, how do you know if your story's working? At Pixar we start by pitching, or telling, our story, early and often in the filmmaking process. We tell the story to ourselves in the mirror or as we drive to work. - The cowboy and a robot and maybe another cowboy. - We pitch to that girl from the gym whose name we're pretty sure is Nadine. We pitch to other artists. - There's the bad boy with the cat. - Pitching is a little like standup comedy but with pictures. And like standup comedy, we can gauge how our stories are doing by the reaction of the audience. Do they look confused? Do they understand what's going on in our story? We ask for feedback. Not everyone will get what you're going for. - I don't really get it. - Some people will really like what you've done. - You know, I really love the cowboys. - And you may hear two completely different opinions about your story. - Have you thought of just having one cowboy? - By doing this process of pitching and refining our stories we make them better. Could a drawing be clearer or more entertaining? Does the order of the shots need to change? We ask these questions and edit our stories. At Pixar we always say we don't draw movies, we redraw movies. Sharing and rethinking our stories is a part of the process. As you start making stories of your own, don't be afraid to ask, what if? - What if there was a dog in this? - And keep pushing for the best story you can make. (old Hollywood music)