Interview: BRAVE’s Mark Andrews reveals the secret to writing a Pixar movie

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Ever since the first Toy Story came out and brought us all to tears, screenwriters around the world have wondered what happens in the secretive Pixar writing room.

ScreenwritingU brings you the inside story to what really happens behind closed doors when writers get to create a movie for Pixar with our one-on-one podcast interview with Brave screenwriter Mark Andrews.

Brave tells the story a Scottish princess who doesn’t want to go through the process of having an arranged marriage. But oh, do her parents have a different idea. When the princess finds a magical out to her big dilemma, things start to get very odd in Scotland.

Screenwriter Mark Andrews, who showed up for the premiere Monday wearing a kilt, is just the man to write and direct this kind of story. He knows there’s no such thing as magic. It’s all about hard work.

“I call the story process alchemy,” says the long time Pixar employee who has worked on titles such a The Incredibles, Cars and Ratatouille. Many consider him to be Pixar bigwig Brad Bird’s “right-hand-man.”

“We’re trying to turn lead into gold,” Andrews says of the process of writing. That’s not too tough when you have a room full of Pixar writers, right?

Believe it or not, it’s tough for them, too. The writers usually sit around a big table, which Andrews describes as “chaotic,” arguing and improving scenes as ideas come to them. “Especially with these original tales, it’s hard to do because you’re doing it from scratch,” Andrews explains of the grueling process of designing a story that moves the audience emotionally but is fun and fast, too.

So, what’s the secret then? How does Pixar leap over those hurdles producing successful stories time and time again? “We go into it intellectually,” Andrews says. “But we come out of it using our guts.” So, there is no science. Not really.

You just have a use a little magic, which according to Andrews, comes from inside. Andrews screenwriting credit list includes John Carter, Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars. Andrews was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2006. Brave releases in theaters Friday, June 22.

Photo credit: Disney Pictures

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