Welcome to my series on Pixar’s now-famous 22 Rules of Storytelling. I don’t religiously follow all of these like they’re story commandments, but I do happen to agree with many of them. I thought it might be fun to examine why and explain what each means to me. You can start at the beginning here.
Stakes matter. There’s a reason we call the protagonist the hero (usually, anyway). We want a character with a cause that we can get behind. Someone we can identify with.
Everybody loves the underdog too. If our hero can be fighting the good fight against bad odds, then audiences have something to care about.
Just make sure you don’t contract Saving the World Syndrome. As long as stakes are meaningful, they don’t need to be gigantic.