To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.
In StoryWonk Sessions, join Lani Diane Rich and Alastair Stephens as they take their favorite movies and TV shows, turn them upside down, give them a damn good shake, and see what falls out. What can we learn about storytelling from the modern masters of the craft? Let's find out together!
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Monsters University||And so, we reach the end of our journey, just as Mike and Sully are reaching the beginning of theirs. Join us as we go out in style with our last Pixar movie!||8/9/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Brave||Scotland, magic and bears -- oh my! We're back with Brave, and discussions of civilization vs. barbarism, mothers vs. daughters, and this movie vs. itself.||7/17/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Cars 2||We're back on the road with Pixar's twelfth feature film, 2011's Cars 2. Does it make it to the finish line, or does it stall?||7/12/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Toy Story 3||We return to old favorites with Pixar's eleventh feature film, Toy Story 3. How do Woody, Buzz and Andy hold up fifteen years after their first outing?||7/5/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Up||It's a tale of high points and puns about high points as StoryWonk Sessions returns with the tenth Pixar movie: Up!||1/23/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Wall-E||We break format a little bit this week as we enlist special guests to help Alastair defend Wall-E from Lani's wrath. Can the story bear the weight of the all-consuming theme? Is there humanity to be found in this tale of robots in love?||9/12/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Ratatouille||This week, we travel to the finest restaurants in Paris to look at a story of great moments, but missed opportunities. Brad Bird is back, and he's brought Patton Oswalt with him -- what's not to like about a little rat, and a little ratatouille?||9/2/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Cars||We're back to discuss the seventh Pixar movie, Doc Hollywood. No, wait, Cars -- I meant Cars. How does the highest-concept film so far work out? Were we charmed by Radiator Springs? How long do we have to wait for Randy Newman? Find out now!||8/4/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: The Incredibles||This week, we enter the superhero relocation program and discuss The Incredibles. Is this a turning point for Pixar's narrative style? Does the structure impress, and does the magic sparkle? Is it, in fact, super?||4/20/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Finding Nemo||On this week's show, we just keep swimming with 2003's Finding Nemo, living in the now, the Platonic version of this film, Chekhov's volcano, underwater anvils, and the brilliance of Ellen DeGeneres.||3/14/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Monsters, Inc.||Boo! This week, we look at the fourth Pixar feature release, 2001's Monsters, Inc. Join us as we discuss prologue-ectomies, double climaxes, the Red Scare, three-beats and foreshadowing, and door physics.||2/20/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Toy Story 2||This week, we continue our Pixar series by looking at the film which cemented their reputation as the best storytellers in town, Town Story 2. Join us for a discussion of craft, magic, Aristotelian virtue ethics, The Rules Of Being A Toy - Volume 2, and h||2/14/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: A Bug’s Life||This week, we continue our Pixar series by looking at their difficult second album, A Bug's Life. Join us for a discussion of craft, magic, man vs. society, ecosteampunk, and, inevitably, Antz.||1/30/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions: Toy Story||This week, we begin our Pixar series by looking at their triumphant debut, Toy Story. Join us for a discussion of craft, magic, the power of play, claw-machine cargo cults, and Weeping Angels.||1/23/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStoryWonk Sessions||The StoryWonk Sessions begin January 23, 2013 -- don't miss it!||1/16/2013||Free||View in iTunes|
Found Storywonk through their fantastic Buffy podcast, so started working my way back. Love their dissection of Pixar movies --love the illustrration of story beats and structure. It's great that even when a film falls down a bit, they still find the silver lining. They're really entertaining narrators as well. I'd pretty much listen to them debate anything at this point.
Not like the real thing
I enjoy storywonk. A lot of good information delivered in a straight forward and entertaining way. Sessions however seems like I've stopped in to visit and end up listening to a married couple disagree all night.
I enjoy the info they share when not talking in circles and would would like for them to live up to the promise of every week, or at least tell us on Sunday that they aren't going make it this week.
I give it three stars because I like Storywonk Sunday and hope they'll tun Sessions around. With out that hope I give it two.
Is a Film just a Story?
OK, do not listen to these podcasts if you want a full appreciation of the films of Pixar. You will leave sad and intensely depressed, as the commentators focus on only one aspect of these animated films - the story. I like some of StoryWonk’s other work, but this is just poorly conceived.
Now, I guess there is value in looking at a portion of a film and judging if the story holds up. But the consensus is none of the Pixar films are good stories - and that every one would benefit from the two reviewers cutting some parts and rewriting others. She hates prologues, even though the film makers clearly use them as introductions to new worlds that consist of story and image. She hates Wall-E, but clearly does not get the dystopian science fiction structures of the story. The both dislike Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.
They see much less innocence and much more overt sex in almost all the films, which is totally disturbing. I mean, does anyone else see the bear fight in Brave as an ‘uncomfortable’ pseudo rape scene? They hate Albert Brooks in Finding Nemo. They hate Up as the story isn’t ‘logical’. It’s a story of a guy who floats his house away on balloons, of course it’s not logical. It’s an ANIMATED FANTASY FILM. They seem to really like the more cliched films with bland stories, which feels very weird. They seem to have never heard of the concept of ’slapstick’ or ’suspension of disbelief’, which seem to me key to getting anything out of animated film.
I’ve listened to all of these podcasts, and my sense is they’re not a valid commentary on these films. These films are more than the story. Animated film is about the wonder of a new world that may or may not be like ours, story is part of it but not all of it. Picking apart the story means missing the forest for the trees.