What is an American Film? – Does such a thing still exist?

“How many of you want to make an American film?”
Were we to have an extended dialogue about this question, I’d try to lead you to a recognition that such a thing no longer exists. The MPAA recently released data on domestic and world box office figures for 2010. Worldwide box office totally $31.8 billion. Domestic box office was $10.6 billion. International (which used to be called “foreign”) was $21.2 billion.
Thus, 2/3rds of box office revenues now come from outside the United States.
Domestic box office has increased about 15% since 2006, but that’s in dollars, not attendance. In fact, attendance dropped 5% this year, but income managed to equal that of 2009 because of higher ticket prices, especially for 3D.
In contrast to the declining American box office, since 2006, international box office has increased 30%.
For much of the past 15-20 years, I and most others have been saying that box office revenues for American studio films were roughly split between foreign and domestic.
The fact that box office revenues are now 2/3rds foreign and 1/3 domestic explains a lot about what the industry is – and is not – interested in. One of the things it’s not interested in is something that’s simply an American film.
The MPAA data is at http://www.mpaa.org/Resources/653b11ee-ee84-4b56-8ef1-3c17de30df1e.pdf

Howard Suber recently asked, in his invitation only “blogette” email list:  “How many of you want to make an American film?” His response is excerpted with permission here:

Were we to have an extended dialogue about this question, I’d try to lead you to a recognition that such a thing no longer exists.
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The MPAA recently released data on domestic and world box office figures for 2010. Worldwide box office totally $31.8 billion. Domestic box office was $10.6 billion. International (which used to be called “foreign”) was $21.2 billion.
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Thus, 2/3rds of box office revenues now come from outside the United States.
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Domestic box office has increased about 15% since 2006, but that’s in dollars, not attendance. In fact, attendance dropped 5% this year, but income managed to equal that of 2009 because of higher ticket prices, especially for 3D.
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In contrast to the declining American box office, since 2006, international box office has increased 30%.
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For much of the past 15-20 years, I and most others have been saying that box office revenues for American studio films were roughly split between foreign and domestic.
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The fact that box office revenues are now 2/3rds foreign and 1/3 domestic explains a lot about what the industry is – and is not – interested in.
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One of the things it’s not interested in is something that’s simply an American film.
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Those of you who have been following this website for any length of time know my indebtedness to Howard Suber on every professional and intellectual level.  He continues to be my mentor and guru on all things story, character and film. His wonderful book is here:  http://thepoweroffilm.com/

The Bachelor and The Power of Love

Ratings for Brad Womack’s comeback season on The Bachelor are down, and he’s been scorned as a featureless, psychobabbling Ken doll. But beneath his boring exterior lies a highly skilled Romeo…
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According to Robert Greene, author of The Art of Seduction, Womack is the modern equivalent of Benjamin Disraeli, one of the greatest seducers of all time. It was Disraeli, after all, who as prime minister of England in the late 1800s seduced the socks off Queen Victoria by appealing to the stodgy royal’s femininity and deeply buried sexuality.
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Disraeli affectionately (and with irreverence that shocked everyone but la reine) referred to Victoria as the “Faery Queen.” He sent her political reports that were essentially love notes, filled with juicy gossip about her enemies (one of whom was wittily described as having “the sagacity of the elephant, as well as its form”). But the essence of Disraeli’s genius as a courtier was his ability to make it all about her.
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Enter Womack, who constantly deflects attention from himself to focus on the needs and whimsies of his potential brides. On his first date with Jackie, a 27-year-old artist who lives in New York, he brings her to a luxurious day spa. “Can I help you with this?” he says as he gallantly helps her into a robe. He then tells the camera how excited he is that the date “solely centers on pampering Jackie.”
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Later on, when he whisks Jackie off to a private dinner and concert at the Hollywood Bowl, he toasts his by now totally smitten date by saying: “Here is to what I hope is as close to a perfect day as possible for you. I’m glad it’s you.” And throughout the night, which concludes with a private Train concert, he frequently murmurs, “I hope you’re happy.”…
Greene pointed out that on The Bachelor, Womack is not in the traditional position of seduction artist—technically, it should be the women who are seducing him. But as someone who is trying to “seduce America,” as Greene described Womack’s “motive,” and convince audiences that he’s no longer an insensitive cad, his wooing energies are in high gear.
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The only time Womack ever seems flustered is when a woman disrupts his flood of attention and turns the focus back to him. Womack clams up and is visibly thrown off his game.
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This is the description of a Power of Love character.

Brad-Womack-BachelorI am not particularly a fan of The Bachelor but I was struck by this article on the current season.  It’s such an apt description of the Power of Love character.

These Character Types are the ultimate seducers.  They believe if they make themselves indispensable and/or irresistible, the other person will need them and will be obliged to love them.

On a paper valentine it says simply, firmly and powerfully “Be Mine.” Possessiveness and passive/aggressive domination are the hallmarks of these characters.

They manipulate by focusing the attention on the other person or love interest.  Power of Love characters lavish their attention and affection on others in order to exercise control, prevail or gain dominance.

That’s what it sounds like Brad Womack’s seduction strategy is as discussed in the article below:

Ratings for Brad Womack’s comeback season on The Bachelor are down, and he’s been scorned as a featureless, psychobabbling Ken doll. But beneath his boring exterior lies a highly skilled (even brilliant) Romeo…

…According to Robert Greene, author of The Art of Seduction, Womack is the modern equivalent of Benjamin Disraeli, one of the greatest seducers of all time. It was Disraeli, after all, who as prime minister of England in the late 1800s seduced the socks off Queen Victoria by appealing to the stodgy royal’s femininity and deeply buried sexuality.

Disraeli affectionately (and with irreverence that shocked everyone but la reine) referred to Victoria as the “Faery Queen.” He sent her political reports that were essentially love notes, filled with juicy gossip about her enemies (one of whom was wittily described as having “the sagacity of the elephant, as well as its form”). But the essence of Disraeli’s genius as a courtier was his ability to make it all about her.  (And thus gain control of the relationship.)

Enter Womack, who constantly deflects attention from himself to focus on the needs and whimsies of his potential brides. On his first date with Jackie, a 27-year-old artist who lives in New York, he brings her to a luxurious day spa. “Can I help you with this?” he says as he gallantly helps her into a robe. He then tells the camera how excited he is that the date “solely centers on pampering Jackie.”

Later on, when he whisks Jackie off to a private dinner and concert at the Hollywood Bowl, he toasts his by now totally smitten date by saying: “Here is to what I hope is as close to a perfect day as possible for you. I’m glad it’s you.” And throughout the night, which concludes with a private Train concert, he frequently murmurs, “I hope you’re happy.”…

…The only time Womack ever seems flustered is when a woman disrupts his flood of attention and turns the focus back to him. Womack clams up and is visibly thrown off his game.  (When the attention is on him he loses the advantage and can’t control and manipulate the person or the situation.)

The rest of the article is here:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-02-20/bachelor-brad-womacks-hidden-brilliance/?cid=hp:mainpromo6

#WritingAdviceWednesday – Oscar Nominated PDF Screenplays Here

oscar-nominations-2010-list-and-scheduleRaindance, a wonderful screenwriting resource, has posted the 2011 Oscar nominated screenplays for both original screenplay and adapted screenplay.  You can download them in PDF form from their website here: http://www.raindance.org/site/index.php?aid=7122

So, what is the difference between the two categories ‘Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen’ and ‘Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published’? Simply put, the former is a script that was written purely from the screenwriter’s or screenwriters’ imagination, and is original source material that has not be taken from any other previously written materials and mediums, while the latter tends to be an adaptation of another published work, such as a novel (i.e. ‘Winter’s Bone’) or comic book, or is based on a true story (such as ‘The Social Network’ or ‘127 Hours’).

The nominated 2010 screenplays can be found on the Raindance site here:  http://www.raindance.org/site/index.php?id=474,5334,0,0,1,0

A Bug’s Life & Revolution in the Middle East

A Bugs LifeI watched Pixar’s A Bug’s Life last night and was struck by the similarities in the story to what is happening in Egypt and all around the Middle East.  The film is a powerful statement of “there are more of us than there are of them.”

Whenever a ruthless dictator and a few brutal henchmen seize power and squander the resources of the community, they rely on fear, intimidation and violence to keep and maintain the repressive status quo.  Once the community wakes up and realizes its own inherent power, it can’t be stopped in its demands for freedom and autonomy.  It is usually the young who lead the way.

In the real world, the community may have to take several runs at the oppressive regime over an extended period of time but “you cannot stop an idea whose time has come.”  In the Middle East we see a surging hunger for democracy and a desire to end the repressive exploitation that has kept so many people poor, overworked and paralyzed by fear.

Here is my commentary on this wonderful Pixar film released in 1998 and well worth another look today.

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In A Bug’s Life, an island colony of hard-working ants is exploited by a dictatorial grasshopper thug, Hopper (voiced by Kevin Spacey).  Hopper and his vicious henchmen extort most of the colony’s food each summer. The ants are left with very little time to gather what meager provisions that are left.

Flik (voiced by Dave Foley), is young ant who rebels against the traditional conformity of ant society.  He is an individual thinker and an odd-ball eccentric.  Flik is a Power of Idealism character.  These characters want to find their special place in the world, be extraordinary in what they do and are often called to some great destiny (usually as a freedom-fighting warrior/leader).  They are misfits, mavericks and rebels. These characters reject popular opinion or the demands of authority to maintain and assert their own unique individuality and break through the accepted conventions of society.

All the other ants in the film march in lock-step following exactly the ant that went before.  They panic when the “line” is broken by a randomly fallen leaf.  Flik wants to do things differently.  He’s invented a threshing machine to make grain collection faster and easier.  He goes off on his own to do his own thing. None of the other ants want anything to do with him.  Because he’s young and still learning, Flik’s inventions tend to end in disaster.

When Flik adds his pile of food to the offering for the grasshoppers, he accidentally dumps everything into the stream. The grasshoppers arrive and are furious to find that their tribute booty is gone.  They double the extortion price and the colony will most likely have to work themselves to death and starve when their last food reserves are taken.

flik

Flik offers a radical idea.  He will leave the colony, find a band of warrior insects and lead a rebellion against the evil grasshopper regime.  Everyone thinks he is crazy but they send him off on what they see as a suicide mission, mostly to get rid of him.  They don’t want any problems or delays in their desperate attempts to gather more food for the grasshoppers.  The only ant who believes in Flik is Dot, a youngster who is the littlest member of the ant royal family.

Dot (voiced by Hayden Panettiere) is a Power of Imagination character.  Like all of these kinds of characters, she is innocent and naive.  Power of Imagination characters are childlike in their beliefs.  They are often overlooked small and gentle souls who believe against all odds, trust against all conventional wisdom and have faith against all experience or reason.  Dot has absolute unwavering conviction in Flik’s abilities.  She watches for him and when he returns she says:  “Flik you came back. I knew you could do it!”

Any rebellion against the status quo requires true believers in the impossible.  In the recent rebellions, it has been the women (the mothers, grandmothers and daughters) who have quietly been providing food, water and medical attention to the protesters, believing with simple unwavering conviction in what here-to-fore has seemed impossible to achieve.  I am sure some women probably fought but the pictures mostly have demonstrated the quiet resistance of the women who believe in the fight their sons, brothers and fathers are waging.

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Princess Atta (voiced by Julia Louis-Drefuss) is a Power of Truth character.  She is nervous and slightly neurotic, always doubting and second-guessing herself.  She hems and haws until Flik is beaten badly by the grasshopper overlord, Hopper.  When Flik refuses to back down, even in the face of certain death, she finally finds her courage and helps rally the ants.  The community’s powerfully linked arms, realization of their own inherent power and superior numbers overwhelms the grasshoppers.

As we are seeing in the rebellions unfolding in the Middle East, you can’t stop the power of a united community.  When people link arms and keep coming, eventually, and often at great cost, a repressive regime topples.  The simple truth is always: “There are more of us than there are of them.”   The following clips expresses the philosophy of despotic thug regimes everywhere and how the community, when powerfully called to action, eventually triumphs.

Enjoy and watch some simple entertainment that contains a potent message and lesson we all need to learn over and over again.  Find the clips here:

New International MA Program in Screenwriting

ifslogo_all_doublesizedI taught at the IFS film school in Cologne in November 2010 and had a wonderful time.  Terrific students and engaged faculty.  It was a great experience. The school is expanding its program to include an MA in cooperation with other international film schools.  This would be a fantastic opportunity to have a broadly-based education.  With international co-productions so important in Hollywood, its a way to make the overseas contacts that lead to success.  Here is the information:

MA Program in Screenwriting

A collaboration between the ifs internationale filmschule köln in Cologne, Germany, the School of Media, Music and Performance at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK, and the Tampere Art and Media School at the University of Applied Sciences in Tampere, Finland.

Program Information:  This program offers writers an environment in which to develop scripts for an international market that are not only innovative, but also commercially viable. The program’s key objective is to strengthen the economic and creative viability of European writers, and offers access to an exclusive European network while encouraging intensive dialogue between students.

Students will complete two feature film scripts during the course of the program. At the end of the program the affiliated institutions will be able to assist with acquiring development and production agreements for suitable scripts for venues such as the Berlin Film Festival, Cannes and, if appropriate, the American Film Market in Los Angeles.

Small groups of a maximum of 8 students work closely with scholars and professionals on their projects. Faculty consists of eminent professionals in the field. In addition to working with their advisors, students will have the opportunity to participate in the events of the ifs Film Studies BA Program, which involves working closely with renowned professionals from around the world including Tom Abrams, Nancy Bishop, David Bordwell, Nick Broomfield, Keith Cunningham, Laurie Hutzler, Phil Parker, and Thomas Schlesinger.

The program will be taught entirely in English. Schedule May 31, 2011 Application deadline June 2011 Selection WS 2011/12 Start of program July 2013 Graduation Application details and more information: http://www.filmschule.de/seiten/sgscreenwriting-prg.aspx

#ThinkpieceThursday – THE OTHER WOMAN and Video on Demand

otherwoman_MAINThe means of distribution are changing and will continue to change.  I believe we will soon see the rise of films made for “straight to streaming.”  Straight-to-video always had a stigma attached which I don’t think will be the case of movies that go straight to Netflix or Video on Demand.

Most movies don’t require a big screen– small character dramas and films without explosions, elaborate action sequences or lots of effects.  Many, if not most, “home theaters” have surround sound as good or better than older theaters. The view ratio of a large flat screen TV is about the same as the reduced screens in most multi-plexes.  By view ratio, I mean that a person’s field of vision is only as wide as most large flat screen TV’s.  It’s what they can view without having to turn their heads.

True, you miss the social experience of watching a movie in a crowd but for parents of young kids a movie date can cost upwards of $100 after you factor in the babysitter, parking, ticket prices and concession treats.  If the movie isn’t amazing why bother with the hassle of traffic and the cost involved.  Most parents I know would rather watch at home with a glass of wine after the kids are in bed.

In the excerpted article below, Eric Kohn gives an interesting take on VOD and the fates of Natalie Portman’s “triple-assault” releases BLACK SWAN, NO STRINGS ATTACHED and THE OTHER WOMAN:

A few years into the proliferation of video-on-demand distribution, the strengths and weaknesses of the format are apparent. VOD excels at creating instant, heretofore unavailable audiences for odd little features that would otherwise dwindle in obscurity.  For example, Michael Tully’s eccentric brotherly drama “Septien,” which became available in households around the country concurrent with its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last month (alongside four other movies released by IFC Films). A single passing notice for “Septien” in the New York Times may have led dozens of audiences to switch it on and discover a distinctly weird experience they may never find at a local theater. This process of discovery allows all kinds of unconventional cinema to catapult its way to the attention of larger audiences.

VOD also enables the popularity of lackluster product driven solely by its intrinsic commercial appeal, a phenomenon epitomized by “The Other Woman.” Prior to its theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles, the movie has already become a sizable on-demand blockbuster, landing upwards of $1 million in ticket sales from home rentals, according to a report by Mark Olsen in the Los Angeles Times. Shot nearly two years ago (it premiered at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival under its original title, “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits”), “The Other Woman” is mainly useful now because it illuminates an earlier era in the current Oscar nominee’s career, when she was more susceptible to bad choices. Ironically, the VOD numbers inadvertently validate those choices long after she has moved beyond them.

Factor in the curiosity quotient here and it’s clear people will take a chance on an odd little movie or a movie featuring a early performance, which wouldn’t be worth risking a high ticket price and all the other ancillary costs involved.  If you’re an artist who wants his/her content seen by an audience this is an amazing distribution boon.

#WritingAdviceWednesday – The Coen Brothers on Screenwriting

600full-joel-and-ethan-coen-1I always love to hear screenwriters talk about their craft and the details of how they work and think.  Here is some sage advice from the Coen Brothers.

Openness to bad notes that generate good ideas is the key takeaway here.  I always tell writers– Don’t listen to the specific note.  The specific note is an attempt to be helpful.  Listen to what the note-giver thinks would be accomplished by doing what is suggested.  Listen for what is missing emotionally that generated the specific note.  If you address the underlying deficiency– how you do it, specifically, usually isn’t that important.  There is something problematic underlying the note– however inane or off-the-mark the specific suggestion might be.

THR: What’s your daily work routine?
JC: We have a daily work routine in the sense that we come into the office, but I would call it a daily routine as opposed to a daily work routine. We don’t necessarily do any work when we get here.
THR: How do you deal with notes?The King’s Speech writer David Seidler told me a producer’s dumb idea to have a character in prison have sex with a nurse made him come up with a different, good sex idea that fit the script’s characters.
JC: I don’t think that’s a dumb idea, by the way.
EC: In the silent films, they had a story conference where they actually brought in a guy called the “Wildie,” which was a lunatic, not a figurative lunatic but a guy —
JC: Someone from the insane asylum who’d sit at the story table.
EC: He’d interrupt with just insane eruptions that had nothing to do with anything, and the writers would go, “Oh, yes, right. We could, y’know…”
THR: Where was this?
EC: This was at the Max Roach Studio.
JC: No, Hal Roach. Max Roach didn’t need a Wildie.
EC: You can sometimes treat studio notes that way too. Although sometimes you get studio notes where you go, “OK.” Sometimes – well, a good idea is a good idea. You don’t want to be snobby about where you take them from.
JC: Even if it comes from the studio.
EC: Even if they’re bad ideas, that doesn’t mean they’re not useful. That’s very true.
THR: What’s your daily work routine?
JC: We have a daily work routine in the sense that we come into the office, but I would call it a daily routine as opposed to a daily work routine. We don’t necessarily do any work when we get here.
THR: How do you deal with notes?The King’s Speech writer David Seidler told me a producer’s dumb idea to have a character in prison have sex with a nurse made him come up with a different, good sex idea that fit the script’s characters.
JC: I don’t think that’s a dumb idea, by the way.
EC: In the silent films, they had a story conference where they actually brought in a guy called the “Wildie,” which was a lunatic, not a figurative lunatic but a guy —
JC: Someone from the insane asylum who’d sit at the story table.
EC: He’d interrupt with just insane eruptions that had nothing to do with anything, and the writers would go, “Oh, yes, right. We could, y’know…”
THR: Where was this?
EC: This was at the Max Roach Studio.
JC: No, Hal Roach. Max Roach didn’t need a Wildie.
EC: You can sometimes treat studio notes that way too. Although sometimes you get studio notes where you go, “OK.” Sometimes – well, a good idea is a good idea. You don’t want to be snobby about where you take them from.
JC: Even if it comes from the studio.
EC: Even if they’re bad ideas, that doesn’t mean they’re not useful. That’s very true.

Clock, Watches and The Passage of Time in Movies

MARCLAY-1-articleLargeThis is from a review of a fascinating film montage, The Clock, that looks at the passage of time in life and in movies.  It is a wonderful article about an amazing film which is excerpted only in part here:

That timepieces crop up everywhere in movies is no surprise: Film was the first visual art form to capture and package time, and every movie is an elaborate manipulation of time. Time is the form and content, and, above all, the material. Moviemakers have developed endless devices to make us aware of time’s passage in their films, and to hold us in thrall, or suspense, within that artificial time — while we forget about the real kind outside the theater.
Central to the power of “The Clock” is its strict adherence to real time and its manic compression of movie time. When a clock on the screen reads 11:15 in the morning, it does so at exactly 11:15 in the morning Eastern Standard Time. The same for 11:15 in the evening, as can be experienced on weekends, when the gallery stays open and runs the piece continuously from 10 a.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday. Otherwise it tells time during regular gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
But while “The Clock” is accurately parsing real time, movie time goes nuts, rushing past in an exhilarating, surprisingly addictive flood. A door opened in one movie leads into another movie. Questions asked in one will be answered in the next or the next after that.
And there are, of course, clocks galore. This includes clocks of the wall, mantel, grandfather and bedside-table variety; clocks on steeples, towers, dashboards and bombs; and clocks in train stations, shop windows and spaceships as well as the occasional hourglass and sundial. And then there are watches, which are smashed, pawned, handed down from father to son, and used as weapons. (All the James Bonds are here.) They slide down the wrists of murder victims, turn up at crime scenes and even provide forensic evidence.
It is hard to say why this panoply of timepieces and plot twists is so gripping, but it is. After watching “The Clock” from around 7:30 p.m. last Friday to past midnight, I dragged myself away, despite the desire to stay and see exactly how the time would be told, how different hours would be rung in.

That timepieces crop up everywhere in movies is no surprise: Film was the first visual art form to capture and package time, and every movie is an elaborate manipulation of time. Time is the form and content, and, above all, the material. Moviemakers have developed endless devices to make us aware of time’s passage in their films, and to hold us in thrall, or suspense, within that artificial time — while we forget about the real kind outside the theater.

Central to the power of “The Clock” is its strict adherence to real time and its manic compression of movie time. When a clock on the screen reads 11:15 in the morning, it does so at exactly 11:15 in the morning Eastern Standard Time. The same for 11:15 in the evening, as can be experienced on weekends, when the gallery stays open and runs the piece continuously from 10 a.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday. Otherwise it tells time during regular gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

But while “The Clock” is accurately parsing real time, movie time goes nuts, rushing past in an exhilarating, surprisingly addictive flood. A door opened in one movie leads into another movie. Questions asked in one will be answered in the next or the next after that.

And there are, of course, clocks galore. This includes clocks of the wall, mantel, grandfather and bedside-table variety; clocks on steeples, towers, dashboards and bombs; and clocks in train stations, shop windows and spaceships as well as the occasional hourglass and sundial. And then there are watches, which are smashed, pawned, handed down from father to son, and used as weapons. (All the James Bonds are here.) They slide down the wrists of murder victims, turn up at crime scenes and even provide forensic evidence.

It is hard to say why this panoply of timepieces and plot twists is so gripping, but it is. After watching “The Clock” from around 7:30 p.m. last Friday to past midnight, I dragged myself away, despite the desire to stay and see exactly how the time would be told, how different hours would be rung in.

Read the whole article here– it’s quite interesting.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/arts/design/04marclay.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=clock%20+%20film&st=cse

NFL Leadership Styles – Can You Help?

Sometimes it is really useful to look at the Character Types of real people to see how what they do or say defines them.  The SuperBowl and the magnificent victory by Green Bay and their young quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a great example to start off with.

I’d like to type all the major players in the NFL in terms of their leadership styles.  I’m looking for some help here– with quotations or a link to a video as an illustrations.  I did a similar article on Celebrity Chefs on TV and how their cooking and food presenting style reflected their Character Type  Can you help fill out the NFL roster and comment on your favorite players?  Interview or commentary links or player quotes are really useful as illustrations.  See the leadership definitions below.

aaron-rodgersPOWER OF CONSCIENCE

Let’s start with Aaron Rodgers as a Power of Conscience leader.  Notice in his David Letterman interview below he talks about leading by example.  That is what the best Power of Conscience characters do.  He also talks about responsibility, duty, preparation, practicing hard and putting in the time to do the job well. That doesn’t mean he isn’t passionate about the game or inspirational– it just means that those qualities are not the primary attributes of leadership to him.

The Power of Conscience character leads by showing fairness, firmness, consistency, justice and providing a good example.  They believe the rule of law is humankind’s salvation.
The best Power of Conscience leaders are “servant leaders” who have  the humility to serve the greater good of others. Power of Conscience leaders teach their followers to be of service themselves.

The Power of Conscience character leads by showing fairness, firmness, consistency and providing a good example.   The best Power of Conscience leaders are “servant leaders” who have  the humility to serve the greater good of others. Power of Conscience leaders teach their followers to be of service themselves.

Here is Aaron Rodgers on leadership in his own words.

Dandy Dozen Movies FootballPOWER OF IDEALISM

Power of Idealism leaders are passionate and emotional leaders. They are inspiring and challenge their followers to give their all to a glorious cause.  They create a sense of special destiny and often link their mission to the grand heroism  or glories of the past.  These characters lead their followers into a lost cause or an impossible battle.  They know the odds are grim and victory is improbable but they charge in anyway.  What they are after is valor, honor and a grand and glorious legacy—the kind of immortality to inspire others in story, song or legend.  Who in the NFL leads in this way?

The player who comes to my mind is George Gipp.  In the film, Knute Rockne All American, Knute quotes George like this:

Knute Rockne: Now I’m going to tell you something I’ve kept to myself for years. None of you ever knew George Gipp. He was long before your time, but you all know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame. And the last thing he said to me, “Rock,” he said, “sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock,” he said, “but I’ll know about it and I’ll be happy.”

POWER OF REASON

Power of Reason characters are more loners than leaders.  When they are  put in charge (or they take charge) they use their intelligence, expertise, knowledge and technical skills to lead (or sometimes to dominate) others.  They are most comfortable as experts or technicians.

These characters are not very skilled at interpersonal relationships.  They don’t naturally engage or charismatically inspire others.  They usually don’t like the genial chit-chat of team banter and camaraderie. Instead, these characters  attract followers with their problem-solving abilities, technical ability, specialized experience or practical know-how.

When Power of Reason characters want to take command they argue that they are the most experienced or qualified to lead.  They argue that they are in fact the intellectually or skills-based superior choice.  Who in the NFL leads like this?

imagesPOWER OF AMBITION

Power of Ambition characters are most often potential leaders, protégés and young, upwardly mobile strivers.  They are impatient, high-energy individuals who want to get things done and who put a very high premium on accomplishment (right now!).  They are often willing to take short cuts and cut corners to get ahead.  They value fame, popularity and status.

These characters think well on their feet and are flexible and adaptable in a crisis.  They can talk themselves into or out of any situation.  When it serves their purpose they can fit in, with an almost chameleon-like ability, in any situation.  They can be witty, engaging, amusing and “great in the interview room.”  They are very charming and personable, if rather boasters and braggers.

The fictional player who fits this type is Brian “Smash” Williams’s (Gaius Charles) on Friday Night Lights.  He is talented, arrogant and likes taking short cuts and avoiding hard questions.

Smash Williams: Takin’ it like a man, Matty. You know, avoiding the calls, ducking out, hidin’ in the bushes.

images-1POWER OF WILL

Power of Will characters bring many wonderful leadership qualities to the NFL community.  They are decisive and authoritative.  Others naturally look to them to them to take charge.  They are strong, bold and  forceful leaders.  These characters stand out from the crowd with a commanding presence.   Their philosophy is “win or die.”  They see the world as a battlefield where only the strong survive.

Power of Will characters motivate others through the sheer force of their personality and their innate toughness and charisma. They are big dynamic characters who can “fill up a room.” Each wonderful quality of Power of WIll leadership has a set of corresponding Trouble Traits.  Decisiveness becomes rashness when a leader fails to delay action long enough to fully consider the consequences of an action or doesn’t have the patience to listen to others.  Leadership that is unilateral and absolute or will not permit dissent easily slips into dictatorial megalomania and colossal paranoia.  Who in the NFL leads like this?

The person who comes to mind first for me is iconic Green Bay Coach, Vince Lombardi, who famously said:  “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” He was a big larger than life leader who had incredible force of will.

POWER OF EXCITEMENT

Power of Excitement leaders make everything fun and can recast anything as a amusing game.  Their boyish charm and charisma can make them natural leaders. People gravitate toward these characters and follow them quite joyfully, rather like children who follow the lively, captivating music of the Pied Piper.  They have lots of natural or innate talent but often lack the discipline and drive to excel under difficult circumstances.

Power of Excitement characters rarely are happy in a leadership position.  They do not like the responsibility, follow-up and attention to detail that real leadership requires.  If it’s not interesting, amusing or enjoyable these characters get bored, don’t show up or make a quick exit.  Power of Excitement characters excel at  instigating and finding interesting opportunities, but don’t always count on them to bring any crucial item in on schedule.  Is there anyone in the NFL like this?

POWER OF LOVE

Power of Love leaders rarely like to be out in front in a take charge position.  They prefer to exercise their control as the “power behind the throne”.  Power of Love characters usually “lead” in supportive roles.  They are great mentors and excel at providing encouragement and emotional support.

Power of Love characters view leadership as serving others, being of practical use and creating the sense they are indispensable.  These characters get real satisfaction from pushing others forward and seeing them do well.  They tend to bond with individuals more strongly than the team as a whole.  Who in the NFL leads like this?

POWER OF IMAGINATION

Power of Imagination leaders are able to sense the deep internal connections that bind and unify all of us.  They lead by bringing together and inspiring others to see this bigger picture, this sense of common purpose or a larger universal mission.  At first glance, these assembled individuals might seem to be contentious or have little or nothing in common.

Power of Imagination  characters inspire united action by convincing disparate individuals that:  “We’re all in this together” and “If we work together we will all achieve something important or worthwhile.”  They are often gentle, shy or unassuming individuals who are the glue that holds a team together.  Who in the NFL leads like this?

favre vikingsPOWER OF TRUTH

Power of Truth characters often use an initial affable and friendly approach to solving problems, pursuing goals and leading others.  These characters don’t tend to be natural leaders. They don’t generally gravitate toward the front of the group.  They tend to be too suspicious, anxious, self-doubting and second-guessing to expose themselves to the front and center scrutiny of others.

Brett Favre is this kind of leader.  I wrote an analysis of him in an earlier post.  Power of Truth characters value loyalty and commitment very highly, but they can be very unsettled and indecisive. They can become self-doubting and suspicious to the point of paralysis.  At that point, they no longer trust their own instincts.

Brett’s is legendary for his retirement indecisiveness. In their darkest moments, these characters worry that they can’t believe anyone or anything.  They suspect everyone is lying to them and every situation is not what it seems.  They constantly look for little clues to confirm their doubts, suspicions and anxieties.  These characters continually test and probe when operating out of fear. They insist others constantly prove themselves.  They try to read the secret meaning in, or second-guess every move, every action and every decision made by others.

I’d love to fill out these profiles in leadership with your favorite NFL nominees.  It’s most useful if you have quotes or links to interviews or commentary that backs up your choices.  Please comment below or on my FaceBook ETB Page.  Please share it with your football-loving friends so we can get a dialog going.

Melissa Rosenberg’s New Gig

After taking on vampires in Summit’s Twilight Saga, writer Melissa Rosenberg is tackling a different kind of immortal being: Scottish highlanders.
The scribe is in negotiations to come on board to work on the studio’s remake of Highlander. Neal Moritz is producing the project, which offers an update on the 1986 movie starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown. Justin Lin (Fast Five) is attached to direct. Peter Davis is also producing.
The original story centered on a Scottish swordsman, who discovers he is part of a secret race of near-immortal beings and faces off against an unstoppable barbarian who covets the power gained from there being only one of their kind left.
6a00d8341c630a53ef013484270c83970c-250wiMelissa Rosenberg, one of the most successful female writers in the business, has a new fantasy assignment.  I’m looking forward to seeing how she revives a venerable old franchise.  I am a bigger fan of her work on Dexter than on Twilight, so I am curious what she does here.
After taking on vampires in Summit’s Twilight Saga, writer Melissa Rosenberg is tackling a different kind of immortal being: Scottish highlanders.
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The scribe is in negotiations to come on board to work on the studio’s remake of Highlander. Neal Moritz is producing the project, which offers an update on the 1986 movie starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown. Justin Lin (Fast Five) is attached to direct. Peter Davis is also producing.
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The original story centered on a Scottish swordsman, who discovers he is part of a secret race of near-immortal beings and faces off against an unstoppable barbarian who covets the power gained from there being only one of their kind left….
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(A)s the sole writer on Summit’s vampire pentalogy, she has proved adept at handling both character and action, as well as yearning, a key component of Highlander as protagonist Connor MacLeod watches his true love age while he does not. Before tackling Twilight, Rosenberg was a writer/co-executive producer on Dexter, the Showtime series that darkly balances family with bloody carnage.
Power of Idealism characters are those who yearn for someone who is emotionally or physically unavailable to the them.  They are always seeking what they cannot have or what is forbidden to them.  A huge component of this kind of story is loss and the resolution of loss.  Some story examples are:  Romeo & Juliet, Sophie’s Choice, Bridges of Madison County and Casablanca. The Power of Idealism book explains what these stories have in common.