If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:44

Video transcript

in the last few videos we thought about obstacles to character can face leading to choices they have to make and the arc they follow each choice a character makes has potential risks impacts and rewards involved with it and those can be called the stakes the stakes of a story are summed up in one question why do we care why do I care if Nemo and his dad aren't reunited you have what's at risk if the characters fail and if the stakes are low usually it's not a very entertaining film but the higher the stakes are the more tension you get the more enjoyable it is my favorite film of all time is Jurassic Park and the stakes are pretty high if you fail the dinosaurs will eat you that's pretty clear you have to be at the audience gripped by those stinks I don't know what's going to happen early on in the arc I'd say that the states would be wouldn't seem as extreme maybe and then as the story progresses the stakes raise we have a lot of conversations about how big our stake need to be does it does it need to be life and death or is it better if it's just you know for a comedy sometimes you want it just to be about the character's reputation or something smaller so they you know you're not bringing too much gravity to a situation the important thing is to the character it should feel like the world to them even if it's just a talent show you want to show you want to show to the audience that that talent show is everything to this character I think by the end of Napoleon Dynamite we all want Napoleon Dynamite to win that talent show and to be accepted by everybody anything that is happening with your character I think it's really important to feel the emotional connections of that if I don't feel it they're not there stakes add drama and weight to any choice and can be divided into three categories internal stakes external stakes and philosophical stakes let's hear more about this from our story artists the external stakes are literally what's going on in the world are they lost are they being chased by burglars physically what will happen to them or to the world if they fail a great example of external stakes is from brave by giving her mom the cake that the witch made Merida turns her mother into a bear that is an immediate physical consequence of her choice that impacts both them as well as the story itself then if Meredith doesn't decipher and solve the witch's riddle her mom will become a full bear and be lost forever so internal sticks usually our psychological what's going on for the character emotionally or mentally what are they potentially going to lose what will they potentially gain why is it important that they gain that thing why is it sad or difficult if they lose that thing asking those questions will help you figure out what those digs really are a good example of internal stakes is from the original Toy Story throughout the film woody is forced to confront his own insecurities and pride embrace Buzz as a friend and learn to share and ease attention what's at stake for him internally is all of his relationships with the other toys and his very sense of self so philosophical stakes are what is impacting the world what is making the values or the belief system of this world change or not change and what does it mean if it does or doesn't change for philosophical stakes I think Lord of the Rings is a great example if Frodo doesn't throw the ring into the fire then middle-earth is going to be ruled under evil forever when you watch movies that have this pitch battle between ideas concepts good versus evil those kinds of things are philosophical ok let's summarize external stakes the possible physical impacts of a choice or action internal stakes the mental or emotional consequences of a choice and philosophical stakes what are the underlying ideas or values in your story the distinction between internal external and philosophical stakes is tricky so in this last exercise let's get some practice thinking about this using the film's you love