Behavioral Stakes exercises

Behavioral Stakes:   Our “What” is emotional reactions to active elements.  Commitment and repetition are the only “why” we need.  But “Because” can elevate the emotional stakes of a scene with context.  

“Stakes” come in many forms – and we want to apply emotion to all of them.  These exercises focus on elevating characters by allowing choices to affect who they are as people.

Defining Behaviors – while a player who is doing something for the first time is dealing with Situational Effects, a player who is doing something for the hundredth time is defining herself as a person, and a player who is doing something for the first time after having done something else a hundred times is being affected.  The audience loves knowing our characters; it allows them to react with us in-the-moment.  We can build stakes by heightening patterns of emotional behavior.

BEHAVIOR Suggested Exercises:

(BUT) YOU ALWAYS/NEVER – Player One initiates to Player Two with a statement starting with one of the following variations:
• You Always…smile
• You Never…pick up your trash
• But You Always…read my mind
• But You Never…eat fast food
Player Two accepts the reality of the endowment.  Player Two should feel about the endowment (Not being able to smile makes me sad).  Player Two should heighten the endowment by elevating/expanding the details (“I feel like Prometheus stealing Doritos Tacos from the gods!”).
Lessons:
• You’re that guy; how does it feel? – Don’t just be Comic Boy Guy; love all things comics; despise books without pictures.
• Actively experience – Don’t just talk about what you’ve done or what you will do; engage the active elements of the present moment.

YOU ALSO / I ALSO – Every line of dialogue must start with either “You also…” or “I also…”.  Heighten the details through an emotional perspective.  Accept the endowments, engaging physically and in the present.
“You Also have booger hanging.”  “You Also have no tact.”  “I Also am disgusted by you.”  “I Also have bad gas.”
“I Also paint amazingly.”  “You Also live in a mansion.”  “I Also make computer chips without practical purposes.”  “I Also want to sell crap for millions.”
Lessons:
• Start in the middle – Making assumptions jump starts our scenes.  Choosing to react emotionally to and with those assumptions turbo charges our scenes.
• Actively experience – Don’t just talk about what you’ve done or what you will do; engage the active elements of the present moment.
• Can’t argue with these endowments

4 thoughts on “Behavioral Stakes exercises

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