Pixar in a Box and Khan Academy recently launched “The Art of Storytelling,” a series of interactive storytelling lessons for kids. It accompanies previous lessons on subjects such as color science, virtual cameras, animation, character modeling, rendering, and more. This new storytelling tutorial gives kids a behind-the-scenes understanding of how Pixar artists come up with ideas and tell a story using storyboarding.
And yes, it’s as incredible as it sounds! The Art of Storytelling is an incredible resource that will ignite learners to think about stories differently and tell their own stories in more complex, meaningful ways.
Storytelling Lessons for Kids from Pixar and Khan Academy
The Art of Storytelling will have six lessons total. So far only the first lesson is posted, the “We are all storytellers” lesson. However, like all the segments, this one section offers a wealth of information and ideas both in videos and in hands-on activities.
Check out this screen grab from Lesson 1: We are all storytellers. If you look on the left side, I’ve circled in red the sequence of the first lesson’s topics. As you can see there are six videos (indicated by a play symbol) as well as four activities for kids to apply the information.
That’s a ton of content for just one lesson!
Kids watching the video lessons will learn the principles of storytelling from getting ideas to shaping them into a storyboard as well as developing a different perspective, making a story emotionally appealing, and creating characters and unique worlds.
Then, they’ll apply the lesson in the interactive activity like the one below.
Filmmakers who share their insights in the storytelling series include:
Pete Docter – Oscar®-winning director of “Inside Out” (2015), “Up” (2009) and “Monsters, Inc.” (2001)
Mark Andrews – Oscar®-winning director and screenwriter of “Brave” (2012) and story supervisor on “The Incredibles” (2004)
Sanjay Patel – Oscar®-nominated director of “Sanjay’s Super Team” (2015) and animator on “Ratatouille” (2007), “Cars” (2006) and “Monsters, Inc.” (2001)
Domee Shi – story artist on Oscar® winning “Inside Out” (2015)
“We hope that by sharing how we tell stories, we’ll inspire students all over the world to tell their own stories,”
– Pete Docter, director
The sequence of lessons will be as follows:
Lesson 1: We are all Storytellers (currently available)
Lesson 2: Character (coming in late March)
Lesson 3: Structure
Lesson 4: Visual Language
Lesson 5: Filmmaking grammar
Lesson 6: Storyboarding
But There’s More from Pixar in a Box
My daughter recently asked me how illustrators for cartoon movies made backgrounds blurry and foregrounds in focus. I normally would have answered, “I don’t know” but now I can add, “I don’t know but I know where you might find out.” Because Pixar in a Box!
The other free lessons from Pixar in a Box show inquisitive children like my daughter how the Pixar artists create cool illustrations and effects. Kids will learn from the artists themselves about animating balls, building robots, and making virtual fireworks. Maybe these lessons will answering their questions. Maybe they will inspiring future generations of animators.
All I know is that we are so lucky this information is available to anyone and it’s free!