In-Depth Look – PIXAR

“Cars 3” releases this week. In all honesty, the “Cars” franchise is the only Pixar franchise I haven’t liked. It’s always felt like a cash grab, but it’s giving me a great excuse to talk about one of my favorite film studios. I love Pixar films. They are full of heart, and each one is a truly inspiring. This is because each story revolves around a character that has everything going against them, and they still find a way to succeed. “Ratatouille,” by Brad Bird, is my favorite and is one of the few movies I can turn on any time and feel a sense of child-like wonder.

Their story of success is in many ways a lot like the movies they create. Maybe that’s why they’re so good at making them. A company at the time, doing something nobody had done before, with all odds against them. Look at them now.

Pixar has a great story, which would be too difficult to go over in one post, but here’s a glimpse for you.

After losing $1 million a year for five years, [Steve] Jobs needed to see a return on his investment [in Pixar]. So Pixar put “Toy Story,” the first feature-length computer animated film ever, into production.

“Some of us had never even worked on a movie,” Lasseter notes.

Initially, Disney, which was to release “Toy Story,” imposed its ideas on the production to disastrous results. The first trial reel was awful, Roy Disney recalls.

Only when Pixar animators tore up those notes and went with gut instincts did the production take off. The worldwide gross of $350 million by “Toy Story” (1995) lead Jobs to Wall Street where he raised $132 million through an IPO. That put Pixar on a firm footing and lead to a string of hits.

Here’s a great article by The Hollywood Reporter: The Pixar Story

Also, there’s a great documentary called The Pixar Story:

Friday Fun – Weekend Writing

Saturday Morning Thoughts: 

“I can’t open my eyes. Just a little more sleep.” 

One hour later. “It was National Donut Day last week….. Mmmmmm dooonnuuuts…” 

One hour later. “Wasn’t it National Best Friend Day the other day? I mean, I didn’t even find out until 11:50 P.M. I’m going to celebrate that today. Bff’s for life!”

‪Guilty… 😂 If you really do want to write, it’s a good idea to set aside a specific time to do it. Don’t leave any wiggle room! 
Don’t be a Homer.

In-Depth Look – Julia Fierro

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A few months ago, I gave a reading at a local bookstore. A small but enthusiastic crowd attended, and I confessed to the audience filled with emerging writers that I had, in my 20s and early 30s, stopped writing for eight years, and that I had accepted I’d never write again. Then someone asked, “How did you return to writing?”

I decided to tell the truth: Zoloft.

Full Article Link Here: New York Times – The Secret to My Success? Antidepressants 

Today, I’m excited to say we’re featuring one of our beloved members, Julia Fierro. She’s been writing her newest novel, “The Gypsy Moth Summer,” here at theOffice. For those of you in L.A., she has two launch events which are free and open to the public. One on Sunday, June 25th at 3 PM at Diesel Brentwood on the westside, and another on Wednesday, June 28th 7PM at Skylight Books on the eastside.


Her story in the New York Times particularly stood out for me, because it involves a great topic I haven’t covered before. We talk about inspiration here all the time, but one thing that can be extremely prohibitive to seeking inspiration is depression or anxiety. Julia also had trouble with obsessive-compulsive disorder. There are cures for these things, and Julia was lucky enough to find the right one for her. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find the right solution for you, but there are options. It’s important to try to find a solution, because you can’t truly get help unless you seek it. She has a wonderful success story, and it’s been a pleasure to have her here.

Rules for Writing Fiction – Neil Gaiman


“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”

What a wonderful and inspiring way to look at writing. Neil Gaiman has become quite a literary icon. My first introduction to his work was through his graphic novel, “The Sandman,” which is a great read. The studios have been trying to turn it into a movie or a show for some time now. He’s also coming up with a show called “American Gods,” which is based off of a novel he has written. Other notable stories are “Stardust,” “Coraline,” and “The Graveyard Book.”

Neil is mostly known for science fiction and fantasy, and has written some wonderful stories. His work could inspire you. Here’s some writing tips from him as well.

Neil Gaiman

1 Write.

2 Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3 Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

4 Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

5 Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

6 Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

7 Laugh at your own jokes.

8 The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Courtesy of “The Guardian

In-Depth Look – Jackie Chan


There’s no question about how powerful a good edit can be in film. Editing, is another form of writing, in fact a whole film can be rewritten in the editing room. Here’s an amazing 9 minute deconstruction on how Jackie Chan has mastered the Action Comedy, and the difference between American and Chinese editing styles. This is another example of the classic saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

Quote of the Day – Jane Yolen

This is true of anything you want excel at. If you want to write a good story, flex those fingers and put your brain to work! It’s also a good idea to be reading every day. If you truly want to write, it has to be something that you love to do. If you find it difficult, ask yourself why, and what you can do to change that. The answer is there, and you are the only one that can figure it out. Wash any doubts or fears away, and turn to positive reasons to write.