A woman stands in front of a white background on stage

Disney Pixar Writer Meg LeFauve Comes to Austin Film Festival

By Arlett Ramirez
Assistant Web Content Manager

AUSTIN, TX – Oscar-nominated screenwriter Meg LeFauve visited the Austin Film Festival on Oct. 25 to host a panel where she discussed how to write emotional characters.

LeFauve began her career as a producer and president of Jodie Foster’s film company Egg Pictures. She worked with Foster for 10 years. Lefauve produced “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys” which starred Foster, Kieran Culkin and Vincent D’Onofrio. She wrote the script for Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” and received a “story by” credit on the film “Captain Marvel”.

LeFauve co-wrote Pixar’s Oscar-nominated film “Inside Out”. She talked about her experience working at Pixar and how she struggled to acclimate to the new environment.

A woman stands in front of a white background on stage
Meg LeFauve speaking at the Austin Film Festival on Oct.25 at the Driskill Hotel Ballroom.  Image by Peyton Webb.

“It was hard. I remember telling my husband that it wasn’t easy and he said ‘did you think it was going to be easy when you got to the big leagues?’” LeFauve said. 

Pixar is one of the biggest movie studios in the world and has won many awards for their films. They’ve changed the way movies are made and animated. None of this would have been possible if not for teamwork. 

“I learned how to work collaboratively at Pixar,” Lefauve said, “It was something I had to learn.”

LeFauve gave the audience a step-by-step way to write a script and stressed the importance of having a theme. 

“Redemption is not a theme,” LeFauve said, “Theme is emotional and personal. It can be spoken or unspoken.”

One of the essential parts of a script is having characters that have a belief system. A belief system is how someone lives in the world and it’s formed in the most ancient part of the brain.

The belief system is the character’s survival instinct and the audience should see that through their behavior and actions. For example, children take thoughts and patterns from people around them – a trusted source. These repeated experiences reprogram the character.

LeFauve also points out how women in film have been inculturated to not want. They’ve been portrayed to not openly want anything and be a sidekick to the male protagonist.

Her closing remarks were: 

“Screenwriter means being an artist. Being an artist means being vulnerable. Vulnerability is the key to good writing.”- Meg LeFauve

Featured image by Peyton Webb.

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