Episode: Interview With Brian McDonald: Storytelling Guru, Author of ‘Invisible Ink’ & ‘The Golden Theme’ :: PWP #21

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Interview With Brian McDonald: Storytelling Guru, Author of ‘Invisible Ink’ & ‘The Golden Theme’ :: PWP #21


“Everybody’s looking for the elevator. There is no elevator. You have to climb the mountain.”

-Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald wrote the two best books on storytelling that I have ever read.  (I have read a lot of books about storytelling.)

‘Invisible Ink’ will equip you as a storyteller.  ‘The Golden Theme’ will give you a sense of purpose as a storyteller.

Brian has taught story classes at Pixar, Disney Feature Animation AND Lucasfilm.  So though I can’t be 100% certain, I think that certifies him as the coolest guy on the planet.

He’s also written a bunch of comics including ‘Abe Sapien: Drums Of The Dead.’

In our interview, Brian shares some interesting insight about working at Pixar that will cure you of any anxiety you’ll experience about your own story craft.

Read on for more about storytelling, links to Brian’s books as well as some of his own book recommendations…

“Just because this is hard doesn’t mean you’re failing.”

-Brian McDonald

Lora and I have said from the beginning that the single most important thing in your entire comic is the story.

Everything else can be held together with chewing gum and shoelaces but a strong story is the only way to elevate and transcend the medium of comics. It’s the only way to make a comic that means something.

“If you ever feel like you’re there.  You’re not there.”

-Brian McDonald

If you’re going to create an indie comic with an audience of more than a handful of people, you absolutely have to tell an engaging story.

Lora and I have also said  that the good news for all of us is that storytelling is a learned craft. …just like drawing or golfing.

(Sure, there’s the ambiguous “talent” factor but that’s just too ambiguous to evaluate.  …and even if we could evaluate our own talent, would we want to? I don’t think I’d want to.)

My point is: This episode will help to make clear what greatness in storytelling is and how you can achieve it.  That’s Brian’s deal.  He approaches the mysticism of storytelling with practicality.  He treats storytelling as both an art AND a science and he’s an incredible communicator.

…which is why we wanted to interview him.

When will we ever feel equipped to craft a story that will resonate with people? Why not now?

Press play and aim high.

[ download the mp3 ]

“There is no ‘Advanced.’ ‘Advanced’ doesn’t mean you learn more complicated concepts. The simple concepts get more complicated. ‘Advanced’ means that you get a deeper understanding of the basics.  So the thing is to not be afraid of the basics. People who are novices run away from ‘simple.'”

-Brian McDonald


Books by Brian McDonald:

Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide To Building Stories That Resonate

The Golden Theme: How To Make Your Writing Appeal To The Highest Common Denominator

Freeman: A Novella In Screenplay Form

[ Also check out Brian’s ‘Invisible Ink’ Blog and Follow Brian on Twitter ]

Books That Brian Recommends:

‘Bill Idleson’s Writing Class’

Hitchcock/ Truffaut


Paddy Chayefsky: The Television Plays

Still Hungry?

Here’s another amazing interview with Brian about the future of storytelling.  It’s from a really cool interview show called The High Bar. [ thehighbar.tv ]

Comment and Share: What did you learn from this interview? How can you apply Brian’s teachings to your own story?

The post Interview With Brian McDonald: Storytelling Guru, Author of ‘Invisible Ink’ & ‘The Golden Theme’ :: PWP #21 appeared first on ChrisOatley.com.

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