Want to be a great storyteller? This free online course from Pixar is for you

Humans are wired for stories, according to science. Hearing a well-told story literally causes a cascade of brain and hormonal changes that increase feelings of arousal, empathy, and psychological reward.

You may not know the details of the neuroscience involved, but you’ve almost certainly felt its effects – probably with a box of popcorn in your lap enjoying a fun Pixar classic like The world of Nemo, Upside down Where Wall-Efor example.

Movie studios like Pixar are some of the best storytellers in the world. But the ability to take other people on a mental journey, elicit understanding, and grab their attention is a skill almost any professional can use. And easily now ordinary people can learn a thing or two about captivating an audience with a great Pixar story. Best of all, the courses are offered completely free online.

Pixar in a box

Thanks to a partnership with online learning site Khan Academyanyone who wants to improve their storytelling skills and has an internet connection can learn the basics of the craft from the experts.

The initiative is called Pixar in a Box, and previous seasons have looked at more film-specific technical skills, such as visual effects and animation techniques. The final course, however, is for anyone who just wants to know how Pixar comes up with so many great stories, and covers topics like engaging an audience’s emotions and creating compelling characters.

The first “We Are All Storytellers” module is now live, with more character and structure sections to come. Want to know more ? Check out the quick teaser below or the course itself on the Khan Academy website.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.