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Long Overdue Newsletter: April 2021

That awkward moment when your dentist asks,

"How many times did you floss during quarantine?"


Quote of the Month

Smithsonian Magazine

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install A lovely bookshelf on the wall. Then fill the shelves with lots of books.”

- Roald Dahl


Creative Writing Lesson

With any iconic character, it's hard to imagine a time when they didn't exist, or existed in a different form. For example, we assume Woody and Buzz Lightyear were always... well, Woody and Buzz Lightyear. They were pulled off the creative shelf already assembled.

But take a look at this passage from Walter Isaacson's biography on Steve Jobs. Early on, Woody looked a lot different and the Pixar team was receiving conflicting notes:

Katzenberg's big push was to add more edginess to the two main characters. It may be an animated movie called Toy Story, he said, but it should not be aimed only at children. "At first there was no drama, no real story, and no conflict," Katzenberg recalled. He suggested that Lasseter watch some classic buddy movies, such as The Defiant Ones and 48 Hours, in which two characters with different attitudes are thrown together and have to bond. In addition, he kept pushing for what he called "edge," and that meant making Woody's character more jealous, mean, and belligerent toward Buzz, the new interloper in the toy box. "It's a toy-eat-toy world," Woody says at one point, after pushing Buzz out of a window.

Couple thoughts:

- During a rough draft, give yourself the freedom to evolve your main characters. How you picture them at the beginning will likely change by the end. You're still learning who they are as you write the story.

- When receiving notes, it's important to hear from multiple people in your Feedback Circle. If Pixar only heard Katzenberg's opinion,