How To Make A Great Pilot — Squid Game

Try out Campfire for free by clicking then use my code ‘closerlook22’ to get 20% off all lifetime purchases.

Squid Game’s pilot did something fascinating with its protagonist. How did it get away with making him a total loser at the start? How is it possible to root for a protagonist if they’re unlikeable? And is likeability even necessary at all?

My Patreon:
Hate me on Twitter:
My Discord server:

A massive thank you to my $10+ patrons:
LittleBits
Kyong Kim
Ralf Singh
Joshua Mangrum
Matthew Brady
Frank D. Lemke
Mike Schmidt
[OG]
Attic
Chefda
ElizabethJustElizabeth
Felicity Franklin
Luminé
Mister Anderson
Thomas Feuer
Thomas Paczolt
Trace Sosebee

314 Comments

  1. Ok I know I’m 8 months late but I have to ask: what if the character is at peak life? Happy with pretty much everything but loses it later within? How do you interpret that?

  2. TTHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK YYYOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!! THIS IS GOLD…………………. can we apply this at Heat Ledgers joker?

  3. i like that we get introduced to someone who is the main protagonist who is at first so unlikeable. but the moment he suffers it feels to me he paid for his bad stuff he did before. but when its revealed to him that his life is on the line, it feels to me like that its too much suffering, i'm thinking "is this really what he deserves?" and i just hope he escapes death because i feel like he already paid for his unlikability and i fear for his life

  4. "Presenting what's lacking in their life then begin a plot where they get a taste of what it's like to not have that issue anymore… that's the key to introducing your protagonist"

  5. Not really a film I would consider the cornerstone of literature, however when I watch the movie happy death day I hated the woman who was the star of it because she seemed like such a bad person with shallow morality and over the film as she became a better person I was hooked despite it being again not a film I would consider the cornerstone of literature

  6. Its only as big as it is due to the incrediably successfull viral social media marketing.. not much good about it objectivly speaking. In fact, i predict that as Netflix and Co perfect their SoMe marketing, this will only be a small success compared to future examples

  7. The video got boring at the 6:30 mark more or less…. just leaving a feedback

  8. you may have just helped or maybe even saved my series that I hope to one day make with the whole "your main character doesn't need to be likeble" point.

    also my scripts are very messy and hard to look at, I think I might check out camp fire at some point.

  9. Watched squid game way after it's peak internet hype and I've never felt like the protagonist was unlikable.
    To me he was just someone who made bad choices and was kinda forced to risk even more (i.e. make more arguably bad choices like betting on the horse race) to try to make up for previous bad choices.
    In the end he really tried his best for his daughter

  10. This is particularly true in the age of streaming. Years ago you could get a way with a slow-paced pilot introducing loads of characters. Now you've got 5 minutes if you're lucky to hook the streamer in, or they'll browse elsewhere or even cancel their subscription!

  11. The Campfire looks interesting. Will get it a try and see how much I can use it. Thanks.

  12. To have an unlikable protagonist is quite common trope in most of the Korean shows, anime, manga etc…….

  13. The anti hero that everyone hate in the diegesis. Typically asian ^^ love it

  14. I think the bigger thing isn't necessarily likability as it is relatability. We've all been in a place where we didn't have enough money or felt like we weren't living up to the expectations of our parents, kids, etc. Maybe not to the extreme that the protagonist in Squid Game did, but we've all felt it. And a lot of people think that they're in a no win situation, but money will solve all their problems. But there are so many examples of money not solving those problems. or at what cost it will be to get enough money to solve all those problems.

    But I agree that the pilot needs to tell us what to expect. Sort of like the opening shots of a movie establish the atmosphere of the movie – will it be a comedy or action etc.

  15. I never rooted for Gi Hun. Despised him the entire series. I ended up rooting for the Ali, Grandpa, police man, and North Korean girl.

    Yes, Gi Hun is a good person beneath. But the positive qualities are below such a layer of stupidity, naivety, and plot armor that rooting for him never became a thing for me.

  16. Relatable is useful. But I'd counter that compelling and understandanle is even more useful

  17. When I'm not watching the video and just listening to the audio and he says "When you boil it down."
    It sounds like "When yo boy let down."

  18. I like how he talks about kids watching and he censors omni man crushing a man's skull but then immediately cuts back to the very adult show Squid Game where people are brutally shot and exploded, dissected, and cremated.

  19. It's really a lot better with the original language and subtitles. The dubbed version just doesn't have the right emotion.

  20. this was a pretty good video, thinks makes me think about how some movies with sequels just don’t make me care for the characters no matter how “cool” they try to make him

  21. Squid Game does an amazing job making the protagonist and all the other contestants relatable. But it really didn't make the villains relatable.

    If I were a billionaire, would I set up death games? No, absolutely not, and neither would any of you. Neither do real-life billionaires. That part really fell flat for me.

  22. Basically every great show's first episode has, uniqueness, the immersive world of the character, and the objective of the character usually tidbits of it being solved throughout the series, all thrown into the vibe of the show.

    Some shows go great in the middle of the season and some do the opposite i.e. great at first then flops.

  23. I like how he says he doesn't want YouTube analytics to think this video is meant for kids by not showing scenes from Invincible, yet 2 minutes earlier he showed a 5 year old child getting capped in the dome XD

  24. Breaking Bad and Squid Game have perfect pilots

  25. Lost still has the best and most memorable pilot to me. Man…

  26. Characters with flaw are more understandable then those without

  27. I’ve yet to watch the walking dead cause i feel like it’s an easy idea, the show sells itself. But breaking bad & squid games are completely made up and deliver

  28. Closer look: what if mrbeast had a challenge where he would kill anyone who fails

    Avocado animations: hold my beer

  29. As much as I couldn't bring myself to care about the show after midway through, I also like the pilot because it does an excellent job of selling just how screwed our protagonist is if he doesn't get a lot of money fast, which provides a good justification for his willingness to play a death game

  30. idk who has to hear this but I use Scrivener for writing and it is a PHENOMENAL piece of software that is so customizable, malleable, slick and tight that writing really just feels like second nature instead of a chore. never in a million years going back to clunky Google docs when Scrivener does everything it does minus group collab ALL OFFLINE and with zero damn loading times or connectivity issues.

    i'm not even sponsored LMAO but seriously check the program out.

  31. Its also about characters that are ACTIVE. We might not like them but we will watch them because they are MOVING — they are proactive.

  32. Utiliting Intrinsic and Extrinsic goods would be very effective as well

  33. 09:32 You should've watched it with subtitles.
    Seriously, as someone who supposedly loves movies and shows, you should've respected the original.
    Kinda weird and illogical that you didn't. You should know better.

  34. It's a small thing, but I love the background music you chose for this video! Really relaxed and contemplative

  35. Almost great pilot. The Ali helping Gihun part is ruining it for me. Why this Indian guy care to this stranger and helping him that risk his own? Especially in a game that you need to focus on your own step. Its unrealistis at best.

  36. If a character is under the threat of bankruptcy and homelessness would that be the first tier of need (food, shelter, rest etc.)

  37. Best pilot I’ve ever seen was in Supernatural

  38. This was such well crafted and presented analysis. I always struggle to find the deeper meanings and intentions in media, but you explained it and drew parallels in such an eye opening way. Amazing video!

  39. For ppl who are also intrigued by this Maslow's hierarchy of needs angle to fiction writing, I'd highly recommend reading Chainsaw Man. I know this channel doesn't concern itself with manga/visual novels, but it's a fascinating case study of what was discussed in this video.

  40. I hope you liked the video! Remember to check out campfire by clicking https://bit.ly/CloserLook21 if you want to organise all of your story & worldbuilding notes into one easy to reference workspace.

    See you guys in the next one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *