The main character is a bookmark, stuck in a forgotten book. Both are connected by chance, in a life marked by standstill in a deserted room.
One day a window is pressed open by a gust of wind, knocking over the book and blowing the bookmark onto the table. As they become separated, the journey begins. While the bookmark watches from a distance, the wind catches the pages, turning them into ocean waves.
Unfolding hands and feet, the bookmark is swept back into the book. With a surfboard taken from the book, the character is given the opportunity to experience its environment in a new way – wipeouts, washouts and nosedives in a wild ocean follow. Just as our hero is willing to resign, the ocean carries it higher and higher on a wave frozen in time – they become one. The wave breaks, releasing everything back into motion.
The bookmark enjoys the ride of its life, carving and floating its way in and out of tubes, until the last page is reached. The book cover closes with a snap, spitting out the surfer. The journey through this episode of its life is over. As the protagonist tries to get back into the book, light reveals other parts of the room, fully packed with bookshelves. It faces endless challenges in its newly gained freedom.
A short video – Making of…
On Twitter, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats has compiled nuggets of narrative wisdom she’s received working for the animation studio over the years. It’s some sage stuff, although there’s nothing here about defending yourself from your childhood toys when they inevitably come to life with murder in their hearts. A truly glaring omission.
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
Read the rest of them – The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar