Mark, those four questions you took away from the Doran post bring to mind none other than Pixar Animation Studios, probably because I am preparing to teach a one-week class “Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling.” Reviewing and revising that content, two things are clear.

First, they NEVER green light a project unless they have a clear understanding of what the story’s key point(s) of universal emotional connection is with the audience. What will audience members find emotionally compelling? They have to know that and know it in a specific manner to go forward with any project. How to do that? That’s the second point…

They producer character driven stories, most often with central dynamics which are directly personal to the filmmakers involved in each project. So in effect, they explore their own emotional issues through the characters in their stories.

Every time I see L. Doran speak — and I’ve heard her at least six times via my involvement with the Black List feature writers labs — her words reinforce my belief that the best stories are character driven ones.

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