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Video transcript
- As we discussed in the last video, a character may face many obstacles. These obstacles can prevent a character from getting what they want or achieving what they need. The choices a character makes in response to obstacles and how the character changes as a result can be referred to as character arc. - Something I like to think of is character, obstacle, goal, and the character to get to their goal has to go deal with this obstacle. The obstacles are what make them who they are, what make them change into this new person, and that really constitutes the arc. - And if you actually study a lot of the movies and stories that you read, the character starts off actually in their kind of basic form, still about to be formed, and the characters that they end up being at the end of the movie actually is their higher version. They're better. They don't get to go there unless they meet the challenges and the kind of pressure that will make them better versions of yourself. - Without obstacles, the character's just at a, you know, a flat line, and when the obstacles comes, it helps to push the character into the arc until they hit the hardest obstacle that they have to face at the climax, and then it's from there that they're able to complete their arc, so without obstacles, I don't think that the arc would even exist. - In Incredibles, we have a very clear, very external obstacle of the Omnidroid. Syndrome invites Bob over to the island and he says, "Here's this big droid. Let's see if you can test it, fight it." And Bob fights it, it's a very close battle with that first Omnidroid, but he barely beats it. It takes everything he has, but he does it. He's victorious, he feels good, but we as an audience know, okay, these guys are about on par. The next time he's invited back, the Omnidroid wins and Bob gets captured, so now we know, okay, the obstacle is bigger than the hero, and that reflects his learning arc. He needs to learn that the family is his big journey, the family's what makes him a hero. So at the end of the film, we get the Omnidroid again, but this time we have the entire family of Supers and our question is, are they as a family enough to stop this thing? Of course, the answer is yes. They're fantastic, they're The Incredibles. Nothing can stop The Incredibles. Until Incredibles 2. - So all stories have some kind of transformation, and it's really compelling to watch a transformation happen, whether it is your character, or if your character makes a transformation in the world. Sometimes a character might not have a big change, but they will impact the world around them, and that's also very interesting. - So an obstacle that a character faces, like Joy, what the character wants was to make Riley happy all the time. What happens is she falls into the memory dump. This is a major obstacle in the movie. The emotion of Joy is going to be inaccessible to Riley for good, and inside the memory dump, she plays a memory of what happens to Riley when she is challenged, and when she replays a memory, she realizes that the only reason that Riley actually is happy is because she actually goes through a phase when she was sad. Now she knows what she needs. Riley needs sadness, and now the action changes. Joy is going to move heaven and earth to make sure that sadness gets back to headquarters. More important than her own goal. She'll realize that Riley is actually much better with sadness and fear and disgust and all the other emotions in her life in order to make Riley completely happy. So when we actually watch movies wherein characters achieve something simply by just walking through a door, it doesn't feel authentic. In fact, we don't think the character deserves it. We want the characters to actually work for it, because we also know that if you get something for practically nothing, you won't value it. - [Instructor] A character's arc defines the change or transformation a character undergoes from the beginning of a story to the end. We'll explore structure further in the next lesson, but for now, in this next exercise, you'll have a chance to identify character arcs in the films you love, as well as brainstorm possible arcs for characters you want to create.