A Look Inside the storytelling of Pixar’s Inside Out.


This article can be found in its entirety HERE.


“Feelings or emotions are the universal language and are to be honored.  They are the authentic expression of who you are at your deepest place.”  – Judith Wright

Inside Out - Emotion Poster Collaboration

The stars of 11-year old Riley’s inner journey.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead! 

Leave it to the storytelling gurus behind Pixar Animation Studio to come up with a relatively simple, high concept story dealing with a complex subject, yet wrapped in a context that is both easily understood in its universalness while appealing to the young and old alike. Accomplishing this is no easy feat, but the folks at Pixar know perhaps better than any other studio the power of a thematically rich narrative.

Theme, after all, is often thought of as “the heart” of a story, what it’s really about.  The heart therefore represents that inner journey whereas the plot (events) are typically external to the character, but Inside Out twists this notion and makes the inner (emotional) journey part of the plot while emotions themselves are characters who learn and influence one another, resulting in change that ultimately reveals a universal truth.  As Lisa Cron wrote in her book Wired For Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence:

“Since theme is the underlying point the narrative makes about the human experience, it’s also where the universal lies.  The universal is a feeling, emotion, or truth that resonates with us all.”

We’ve found a new home!  You can read the rest of this article as well as others HERE

About Jim Barker

A multi-award winning sculptor who uses a pen to shape words on a page that leave impressions in the mind.
This entry was posted in Allegory, Empathy, Expressionism, Inciting Incident, Journey, Perspective, Story Structure, Theme, Two-hander, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Look Inside the storytelling of Pixar’s Inside Out.

  1. Bryan Lewandowski says:

    Great points! What exactly is the inciting incident in The Babadook?


    • Jim Barker says:

      The Babadook is, much like Star Wars, one of those stories set in motion from the very first frame which is why they’re often overlooked/over analyzed/mistaken. The very opening scene of The Babadook is the death of the husband in the car accident – he’s present for all of maybe two seconds, so if someone blinked they would have missed him. But it’s really what sets the story in motion. The book arriving is just a manifestation of the mother’s inner-struggles and representative of what the story is about (the accident/death being plot related).


  2. Pingback: A Monster Calls: A Perfect Illustration Of Why We Tell Stories. | The Bark Bites Back

  3. Pingback: I Used to be Part of the Problem | Super Young Widow

  4. Pingback: A Monster Calls: A Perfect Illustration Of Why We Tell Stories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s