Michael Arndt has one of those careers that I think most screenwriters would love to emulate. He was a Nicholl semifinalist in 1991 and 2001 before winning the Best Screenplay Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine. He wrote Toy Story 3, perhaps the most beloved animated film of our generation, and he’s also had major successes in the sci-fi realm with the scripts for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Oblivion. Michael was also the initial writer on the upcoming Star Wars project, but he was taken off the project. (The script is now being written by JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, supposedly for time reasons.) Check out this great video by Michael on how to begin a script the Pixar way.
Inside Out (screenplay) (pre-production) – 2015
A Walk in the Woods (screenplay) (filming) – 2015
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (screenplay – as Michael deBruyn) – 2013
Oblivion (screenplay – as Michael deBruyn) – 2013
Brave (additional screenplay material) – 2012
Toy Story 3 (screenplay) – 2010
Little Miss Sunshine (written by) – 2006
In terms of writing characters or stories, at least initially, there’s no difference between live-action and animation. A good story is a good story, whatever the medium.
The best writing really does come from the deepest, most private part of you.
You never want your second act or the whole movie to just be this relentless march towards its goal. You want things to take the audience by surprise.
My thing is that most scripts aren’t bad scripts, they’re just not finished yet.