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Introduction to character

Aphton and Louise demonstrate a quick and easy trick for developing a character for a story: how do they react when you trap them in an elevator all day?

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Video transcript

- Hey Aphton! - Hey Louise! - Whatcha doing? - I'm working on this character lesson. And honestly, I'm struggling a bit. How do you make an audience care about a character? - That's a really hard one. You ever heard of The Elevator Test? - No, what's that? - So, when you're struggling with your character. And you're trying to figure out who they really are, it helps a lot to put them in an elevator and, (elevators crashes) What was that? - Okay, it's okay. Louise, how about you tell me about the elevator thing. - Okay, yeah, so when you're trying to figure out your characters. It helps to trap them in an elevator and see how they'd react in a crisis. Get me out of here! Hey, are you out there? The elevator's stuck. Really, really stuck. - Let's try this one. Okay, lights, we have lights. Okay, what's next? Okay, we're late for meetings. Someone will notice that we're gone. Breathe in. Must be a trapdoor somewhere. Breathe out. (cries) - [Louise] It's not working! - Okay. Louise, are you okay? - I'm fine! (light instrumental music) - [Robotic Woman] Hello, have you completed the exercise? - Ah, yeah, get us out of this elevator. - [Robotic Woman] This is elevator. Did my exercise help you think about your characters and how they might behave when they're in difficult situations? - You've got to be kidding me? Let us out of here! - Well, hang on Louise. I think it actually worked. I got good insight into what people actually do in a crisis. How about you? - Oh, well I. - [Robotic Woman] Clearly the exercise worked. And you discovered something different about each character. And as a bonus, you've discovered that entertaining characters are often deeply flawed. Don't worry, those flaws can also be the key, to why audiences care about them. Your characters will be the people, rats, fish, cars, or robots, that we follow through the whole story. The lessons they learn, the challenges they face, and the feelings they feel, will be shared by the audience. And when you are struggling to create a character that the audience cares about, there are many other exercises you can try. - Right on, elevator. That's what this lesson is all about. Playing with character. - [Robotic Woman] And remember, I'm always here to help you take your storytelling to the next level. - Bye elevator. - Bye elevator. - [Robotic Woman] I sure hope my next passenger is a tidier character.