In this animated lesson, Michael Arndt explains some of the things he learned while working on the screenplay for Toy Story 3.
When I saw this video, I immediately wondered what it was from. It’s clearly professionally made, so why is it on some random guy’s YouTube account?
I emailed Michael Arndt, who wrote back that it was originally a bonus feature on the Blu-ray for Toy Story 3. He gave me his blessing to link to it.
I’m aware the model I set up here applies imperfectly to TS3 itself. (It applies much more cleanly [for example] to TOOTSIE, which I consider one of the best comedy first acts of all time.) The broader point is that the emotional fuel for your first act break is largely set up in your inciting incident — and that is something that does apply to TS3.
Disney and/or Pixar own the copyright on the video, so they could pull it down. But I hope they won’t. This kind of lesson celebrates what’s made their films so successful, and deserves wider exposure.