I can’t believe I haven’t seen this site before! It’s amazing. GhibliWorld.com have interviewed Pixar’s Enrico Casarosa, where they talk about Hayao Miyazaki’s influence on Enrico’s work, Up, Ratatouille and Studio Ghibli among other things.
I think there’s another interesting difference between the stories directors choose to tell here and at Studio Ghibli. At Pixar directors often look for something personal from their own lives for inspiration. Andrew Stanton used some of his own anxieties of being a father to make Finding Nemo more authentic and true, that is the core of the story. You can pick every Pixar movie and connect it to some personal experience of its director. And that is a good rule in any kind of writing I’d say, the interesting thing though is that these experiences are mostly from adulthood. I think Miyazaki does something different: he puts on his “Super secret think like a 10 year old helmet” (he can switch age to younger and older too) and he’s going to tell a story from and for that point of view. It still baffles me that he’s able to do that, but it’s exactly that wonderful feeling of childish wonder that brings his movies to a whole other level. That ability seems to be also fueled by his nostalgia for those times.