DZ-91: Raising (different kinds of) Stakes

How can you keep your audience hooked when they know the end of the story?

Chas, Stu and Mel take a deep dive into stakes, using then lens of biopics to help us think about them. If an audience already knows the “plot” outcome of a story, then how do you create stakes to make a story tense for the audience?

To explore this, we deep dive into HIDDEN FIGURES (about the NASA Friendship 7 mission), DOWNFALL (the final days of Berlin in WW2), and BRIGHT STAR (the life and death of romantic poet John Keats). We unpack the ideas around internal, external and philosophical /moral stakes and propose some new terminology that may help us write stakes more effectively.


Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.

Thanks to Chris Walker for editing this episode.

– 00:00:00 – Intro
– 00:04:41 – What even are stakes?
– 00:24:26 – Hidden Figures
– 01:00:46 – Downfall
– 01:33:38 – Bright Star
– 02:10:33 – Key Learnings
– 02:18:57 – Thanks Patreons!

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