Ever wondered how Pixar continues making amazing videos? Is it magic? Is it luck? Probably a little bit of column A and little bit of column B, but more than it, it's about understanding story structure. Toy Story 3's screenwriter Michael Arndt explains how movies like Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo structure the first act of their stories to ensure we, as moviegoers, are hooked into the plot.
His process may sound a little formulaic and trite if you're not interested in how stories "work," but when you strip away any good story, you're always left with a familiar framework. There's a reason most people don't ask to see how the sausage is made. Unless you want to make sausage, then you shove your head right in and gaze around (okay, maybe don't do that). And when it comes to telling stories, I want to make sausage.