Pixar's Coco: Storyform Analysis

The rose petals of Beauty and the Beast were indicators of the Story Limit of Optionlock. The “timelock” on Miguel was not part of the Story Limit. It’s fine, but it creates a double ending (similar to Ratatouille and Speed).

When it comes to the Main Character Concern of a storyform, it’s not what “concerns” the Main Character that is in question, but rather where the source of inequity is from a personal perspective from the Author’s point-of-view.

What are they saying about Miguel and Past that is problematic?

And I understand that Hector is “concerned” with his daughter’s memory leaving - but is that really where he is introducing conflict into the narrative? I can see the Authors using Memory as a Benchmark for his Concern, but I don’t see him actually impacting or influencing through problematic memories.

A single instance of a memory is not a Concern - it could be a Signpost - but it’s not a concern that lasts throughout an entire narrative.

If Miguel’s Concern is the Future (and a Benchmark of the Past), then that would make Héctor’s Concern Subconscious (and he would have a Benchmark of Memory).

Héctor tries to cross the bridge by attempting to trick and then rushing past security because he wants to see his daughter. He joins with Miguel after they make a deal to put his picture back on the ofrena, which would allow him to see his daughter again. His fear of not seeing Coco “one last time” before his “Final Death,” drives him, among other things, to lie to Miguel:

Miguel: “Hey, you said you had front-row tickets!”

Héctor: “That. . . was a lie.”

What do these illustrations have in common? Subconscious.

I know! As I was writing that up, I thought this seems awfully benchmarky.

That was my experience trying to come up with examples of Miguel in The Past. It all felt very benchmark.

His future’s already picked out for him. He wants a future as this big musician like his idol, but instead, he’s told that he’s going to spend his life making shoes. That seems to be motivating everything he does – the running away; stealing the guitar (that might be OS).

Sorry to back up the conversation, but I just saw the movie. I don’t remember a single time being mentioned as it relates to a Storylimit. There’s nothing mentioned about “we have X amount of time” or “we have until X time” or whatever. What timelock were you seeing?
The possible limits I saw were a limited number of family members to get a blessing from, possibly before he completely became a skeleton, and before sunrise, which are all spacelocks.

Ugh, you know you’re right. For some reason I remember it being set to midnight for some reason. But it was sunset. Still feel like sunrise was treated as the final Optionlock when it wasn’t. Thanks for the clarification!

(opens up editor to edit article)

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How is Hector impacting and challenging everyone around him through Memory?

What about the Past is a personal struggle for Miguel?

I kinda posted my opinion on the subject at the beginning of the topic, but here’s a bit more : Hector wants to be remembered by his family and being forgotten would be the end for him. Not only is it his greatest concern throughout the story, but it creates all kind of havoc around him : bitter memories from his ex-wife is what drove the family away from music, directly impacting Miguel and his passion as a result ; him manifesting his presence once again creates tensions with his family members ; De La Cruz wants to prevent him from being remembered as the composer of the songs (by killing him and then trapping him in the land of the dead) and threatens to get at him and Miguel if that were to happen… “Contrasts with Miguel who clearly stated at the beginning that he didn’t care about being remembered and would rather realize his dream than being part of a family like his. Hector’s the most fit to influence him.” (but this one applies in the context of a Changed MC, as it feels more like Miguel adopted Hector’s view of how important it was to be remembered and how “Family comes first” without him giving up music, it’s more like he shifted his priorities)

As for Miguel, his family’s history with music hinders his growth as a musician. He is forced to become a shoemaker and to hide his passion ; at the same time, his fascination for historical icon of music Ernesto de la Cruz, as well as his great-great-grand father that everyone seems to erase from family’s history, prove to be a touchy topics for everyone in his family, making it a constant struggle for him. I believe issues of Interdiction, Prediction, Fate and Destiny resonate strongly with Miguel, just like Truth, Falsehood, Evidence and Suspicion work for Hector.

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Awesome. Thought I must’ve missed something.

If okay, I want to clarify one more thing already discussed. @MWollaeger mentioned that he agreed with the placement of the perspectives but not the reasoning. I would say Miguel’s Universe is about being part of the only family in Mexico that hates music. This is a problem because he loves music, but every time he tries to play music his abuelita (sp?) is there to stop him and tries to convince him how bad it is. Hectors Mind problem seems to be about what others think of him, mainly that they think he left his family. This is a problem because, thinking he left them, his family no longer puts his picture on the ofrenda (sp again?). Does that soundly roughly accurate?

It sounds awesome.

But it doesn’t sound like Memory and Past.

Agreed, was going for the Domain level. Not sure I see the Concern level as Past and Memory, so waiting to see how that plays out.

Is it the family history that is creating problems for Miguel? Or is it the justifications created by the family history that challenge him?

The first would be Past as a Concern. The second would be Past as Backstory.

A post was split to a new topic: A look at Pixar films and Dramatica

I’d say the first one. Miguel seems to always focus on what has happened in the past, and not just the justifications created by the family history (which he narrates at the beginning). He looks up for an historical figure - Ernesto De La Cruz - to fuel his passion / drive to play music, which is at odds with the traditions in his family and sets him apart from the rest : he aims to follow in his footsteps by following his dream, just like De La Cruz (and Hector) did decades ago. A mean to repeat the past that puts him in constant struggles with his surroundings, making him eventually push his family away (“I hate being part of this family”, “I don’t want to be remembered”, etc.) That, and his whole quest is built around the false premise that De La Cruz really is related to him because his true great-great-grandfather has been erased from the family’s history. And later in the movie, him realizing that Hector really is his ancestor and that De La Cruz poisoned him for glory (we and the characters understand what has truly happened) leads Miguel into even more troubles as he is thrown into a cavity. But in the end, he’s the only one who is able to shed the lights on De La Cruz and set history right.

Again, I believe this ending to be more a matter of a Changed MC (Memory) than a Steadfast MC (Past), considering that the ending isn’t just re-evaluating what has happened, but remembering someone for who he truly is (having Coco remember her dad, Hector being remembered as the true composer of the songs, etc.) In any case, Memory plays an important part in the movie so I believe it to fit somewhere in the Concerns.

Not sure I could argue this all around, but doesn’t he have problems like not being able to play music at home so he can only talk about while shining shoes or he has to hide his music stuff, and he wants to join the talent show but he doesn’t have a guitar, and then he gets cursed and has the blessing of his family to return but it’s a problem because it’s not the right blessing, and he’s cursed, like, right now?

This would be my guess:

Miguel MC of Universe/Present - he can’t play his guitar because it will upset Grandma
Hector IC of Mind/Conscious - no one thinks of me, I don’t think much of myself
familial RS of Psychology/Conceiving - importance of music/familial connection
land of the dead OS of Physics/Learning - finding out how much grandma Coco loved her father’s music

I feel like these propel the narrative forward through inequity moreso than the Past/Memory combination. Those seem more like Benchmarks to me, which is an interesting thing to me–especially since we often confuse the two. I wonder if the Benchmark is a good way of measuring the subjective concerns of the characters in that Throughline.

I like Learning because if you look at the dead, they’re all in conflict when it comes time to find out whether or not your family has forgotten you - the crossing over/border patrol scenes.


I wasn’t sure how to explain RS, but the rest is pretty much what I was thinking. I was a little iffy on saying Héctor had problems from Conscious until I put on Edge of Tomorrow again last night. I looked at the storyform and saw that Tom Cruise’s character was Mind/Conscious and one of the first scenes was of him basically being like “you want me to consider going into battle? No way, won’t do it,” and then getting arrested. That looked very similar (if a bit reversed) to Hectors first scene where he’s like “Please consider letting me cross the bridge? No? I’ll just go anyway.” Then he runs through the gate and gets arrested.


Interesting. I’m glad you weren’t going for the Future block because that didn’t seem right to me!

Thinking about what is beneath those terms… the thing about Hector wanting to be remembered is that he doesn’t want to be a memory, he wants to be thought of right now.

Also, Work/Attempt really sums up what we’ve been saying about Miguel.


I started there, but then I made a choice somewhere else that forced Attract/Repel. I was thinking of Work/Attempt as something like working to play music and attempting to be a musician. But Attract/Repel is about his attraction to all things music (Ernesto De La Cruz, the marketplace or whatever with the Mariachi, the talent show, his grandfathers guitar, a family member that will bless him without forbidding he play music) and Repel would be his grandmother pushing him away from music and saying “you don’t want to end up like him”.

Yeah, I wasn’t really advocating for it. As I was typing it up, the gnome on my shoulder was saying, “Hey – it’s not a subject chart.”

Gotcha. Didn’t mean to imply that you were. Just using it as a springboard to the next level. I like Attract/Repel over Work/Attempt for Miguel and I’ll have to get back in front of my laptop at lunch, but I think I had Precinditions/Requirements for OS.
(Edit: it may not be time to go to the next level if others have questions about the Concerns. I’m not usually too confident in my analyzing abilities, and got excited that I feel like I know what’s going on in this one…at least for the Domains and Concerns)