Activity Progress:

Pixar’s The Art of Storytelling

Khan Academy partnered with Pixar to create an entire course on storytelling. Click here if you want to take the whole course.

For the purposes of video games, we are going to pick the videos that are most important to making stories in playable form.

Videos may talk about activities, but those only apply if you take the whole course.

Character Development

Here’s a list of definitions introduced during this lesson.
  • External feature: the clothes, design or look of a character.
  • Internal feature: the personality, beliefs or drive of a character.
  • Want: something that drives a character to act.
  • Need: something that a character must do or learn in order to succeed or grow.
  • Obstacle: something that stands in the way of a character obtaining what they want.
  • Character arc: the choices a character makes in order to overcome their obstacles and how they change as a result.
  • Stakes: What is at risk if the character fails to achieve their goal (OR, what are the consequences of their choices?)
    • External: what will physically happen to a character or the world
    • Internal: what will happen to a character emotionally
    • Philosophical: what will happen to the values or belief system of the world

If you want to learn more about each of these, watch them on Khan Academy on this page.

Story Structure

  • Act One: consists of introducing the characters, introducing the story, and getting a landscape of where the story is trying to go
  • Act Two: consists of the choices and actions your main character makes as they attempt to overcome the escalating obstacles in pursuit of their goals
  • Act Three: consists of the final test of the protagonist and the resolution that follows; where the story comes together
  • Inciting Incident: an event which leads to a key obstacle your protagonist faces and sets the rest of the story in motion
  • Low Point: the point in the story when it seems like everything is lost for your main characters
  • Moral: the lesson that the main character learned at the end of the story
  • Point of No Return: a choice which the main character can never turn back
  • Resolution: the return of the world and characters to a calmer place, perhaps a more complete or better version of themselves
  • Story Beats: the most important moments in your story Story Spine: a tool used to develop story beats following a simple pattern

Telling a Short Story

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