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Oversight Company Culture: The Pixar Story Telling Contest

on August 04, 2015

I recently read about an approach to story telling that Pixar uses during the initial creative development of their movies. Former Pixar story artist, Emma Coats, developed a six-sentence structure for creating clear and concise stories that I really thought was clever and wanted to test out on the Oversight team as (at the time) we were revamping our sales and marketing messaging.

The story structure:

Once upon a time ___________. Every day______________. One day____________. Because of that____________. Because of that_________. Until finally______.

During one of our weekly “Lunch and Learn” events, the DG team was tasked with coming up with their own “Oversight Story” based on the above structure. They’d present their stories as part of a friendly competition, so the marketing team could try and piece together the common threads of each story and mix it into our new messaging.

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, the activity stimulated my own creative juices and I came up with the following story about a king and his efforts to increase travel and expense compliance and reduce his overall spend...

Once upon a time a great king worried that the Princesses, Princes, Dames and Knights he sent throughout his lands to conduct the business of the kingdom were squandering away his treasury on damsels, distressed dudes, drink, and minstrel shows.

Every day the king would question his exchequer about his dominions' expense accountings, but was told that periodically checking a sample of a few of the Princesses, Princes, Dames, and Knights expense reports was ineffective and had not proven to be a reliable predictor of finding the truth.

One day the king realized that he needed to consider closing the summer palace due to uncontrolled travel expenses, and he had discovered he was running low on Princesses, Princes, Dames, and Knights, many whom were banished from the kingdom. There had to be a better way to control his kingdom's expenditures!

Because of that the king invited the wisest analysts in the kingdom to come to the castle to present ideas on how to reign in the uncontrolled spending.

Because of that the king discovered the wizards of Oversight and implemented a unique service called Insights On Demand that reviewed 100% of the Princesses, Princes, Dames, and Knights accountings of their travels, identifying all potential expense irregularities without the need to torture the truth out of them.

Until finally there was peace in the kingdom as the King had full visibility into his royal travel affairs.

If you had to create your own Oversight story, what would it say?


Al Gordon

Al Gordon is a contributor for Oversight.