A striking quotation about Aristotle’s Poetics and its contemporary relevance.
Pixar Animation Studios is one the great technical and financial successes in the movie industry. Early in its development, two individuals who were to be instrumental to that success, John Lasseter and Pete Docter, knew that story-telling and not just techical wizardry was essential to great movie-making.
“Seeking insight, Lasseter and Docter attended a three-day seminar in Los Angeles given by screenwriting guru Robert McKee. They came back to Point Richmond as true believers in McKee’s principles, grounded in Aristotle’s Poetics. High among these was McKee’s doctrine that a protagonist and his story become interesting only as much as the forces arrayed against him make him interesting; character emerges most realistically and compellingly from the choices that the protagonist makes in reaction to his problems. A McKee seminar resounded with the master’s observations about story structure and how it related to the progression of the hero’s problems and his responses to those problems. McKee’s teachings became the law of the land at Pixar.”
Aristotle: Still the master, 2,350 years later.
Source: David A. Price, The Pixar Touch (Vintage, 2009), p. 127.