May 27, 2014

A Note On Pacing

As I have a tendency to do, I'm currently reading about 4-5 books at the same time, depending on my mood. One of these is Starting Point: 1979-1996 by Hayao Miyazaki. Yesterday, I read the Foreword derived from a 2005 interview in Ghibli of John Lasseter (one of the founders of Pixar). In it, Lasseter made some very interesting comparisons between Miyazaki's work and Hollywood, and how Pixar drew inspiration from the former to make Pixar's stories more emotional.

And the key is in the pacing...

"There's a term that a certain studio executive used when he sensed a movie was starting to slow down. He'd say, "I'm going for popcorn." He felt that unless a movie raced nonstop to its conclusion, an audience would inevitably lose interest. I totally disagree with him. Things don't need to be faster all the time.


The co-director on the Toy Story 2 movie was Lee Unkrich--he was also the editor for all of our films. I turned Lee on to Miyazaki-san's films, and we've had many discussions about how Miyazaki-san is a master of pacing. There are certain moments in a film you cannot rush through It's important to allow the audience to reflect on what's happening on the screen.

I remember reading reviews of Toy Story 2 when it was first released. Many critics mentioned that it had an Toy Story's success. You need that component to reflect pathos, sadness--all those heartfelt emotions. Like I've said before, you just can't rush those things."
emotional depth lacking in most animated films. In fact, they were surprised to discover that a cartoon could deliver such depth. I am very proud of that. Most of the critics didn't specifically mention the movie's pacing, but to me that was the key to

I believe this is an important point, not just in animation, but in any story telling venture.  Something I need to remind myself of it too, since I have a tendency to wonder if my books are getting boring whenever I have no-action sequences. Instead, I should use these slower moments to elevate the emotional aspects of my characters.


  1. Hi, this is Shinya!
    Have you ever watched Japanese animation such as Miyazaki's movie?

    1. Hi Shinya!

      I certainly have! I love Miyazaki's movies! It's hard to imagine that he's retiring...

  2. Hallo!
    If you come to Japan, you will be able to visit Ghibli museum! This place is very near to my home.
    I can go this museum by the train.
    You can look English site.

    1. Hello, Shinya!
      I would LOVE to go the Ghibli museum--I can't wait to go check it out when I go to Japan (we'll have to get the tickets in advance, I see) :)