Stakes give a scene urgency, tension, and drama. To measure how high the stakes are, first evaluate how much you care about getting your intention. Then decide WHAT IT WOULD COST YOU IF YOU LOST IT. (HINT: *Every* character must care about getting their intention or they wouldn’t be in the scene!)
So, let’s go back to Argo. What is Ben Affleck’s character – Tony Mendez – at risk of losing if he doesn’t get those six Americans out of Iran? Answer: There’s an unstable international peace situation: losing that could lead to war! More importantly, their lives are on the line! He has to risk sneaking them out of the country so they won’t DIE.
Those are stakes at their highest!
Think in terms of life and death – even in straight drama. Doesn’t it feel like you’re going to die if she doesn’t accept your proposal of marriage? It has to!! This will give you something to fight for and get your audience hooked into your scene!
Set your intention, evaluate the risk of losing it, and raise those stakes…it can make or break booking a job!
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