I’m fascinated by Pixar’s ability to tell beautiful stories without words. If you want to become a better storyteller, studying what they do is a great place to start.
One of my favorite examples is at the beginning of the movie Up. There’s a wonderful montage that tells the story of Carl Fredricksen and his wife, Ellie. Not a single word is uttered, but it’s beautiful, powerful and moving.
Some things I noticed…
- The montage uses just one, simple melody. Notice, though, how the tone, tempo and styling changes based on the mood of the scene.
- Colors and lighting play an important storytelling role. Happy scenes are brightly lit and cheery. Sad scenes aren’t just dark and shadowy. The colors themselves are duller and less vibrant.
- Simplicity is a great storytelling vehicle. The folks at Pixar do a great job at directing you to a single facial expression, a single action, a single piece of body language, to drive the story.
- Repetition creates familiarity. The hammer smashing the glass jug. The role of the “My Adventure Book.” The use of balloons (which of course is foreshadowing of a bigger plot twist).