#TypesTuesday – Doctor Who: 1 Character, 9 Types

Types Tuesday

by Guest Contributor Oscar Harding

There is no other character in all of film and television like The Doctor from Doctor Who.

Countless actors have delivered unique and differing interpretations of everyone from Hamlet on stage to The Joker on film, Blanche DuBois to Hannibal Lecter. Sometimes characters in TV series like Eastenders or Film franchises like The Avengers are recast.

But The Doctor changes appearance, and retains all past memories. Every actor who has played The Doctor is also playing everyone who has come before them.

It is a fascinating anomaly and means The Doctor has, at some point throughout the show’s 53-year history been every single one of the “Power Of…” character types.What is particularly interesting is that in some way, the defining characteristics of each incarnation are a direct result of how their predecessor died.

The logic of the Regeneration concept allows for this unique quirk no other fictional character is able to do. With the latest actor to play the role, Jodie Whittaker, recently being announced, and the current actor, Peter Capaldi, about to finish his time in the role, it seems like a good time to look at an incarnation of the Doctor who has embodied each of the 9 character types.

BE WARNED! Major spoilers follow for every era of Doctor Who.

Power of Love

The First Doctor (William Hartnell) was introduced as a grandfather who fled his home planet with his Granddaughter, Susan. Every dangerous adventure he undertakes is occupied by a need to protect Susan as much as he also wants to show her the Universe and broaden her horizons. Susan eventually decides to stay with a man she meets on one of their adventures, and though it is heartbreaking for The Doctor, he realizes that letting Susan stay is the safest option for her.

Every dangerous adventure he undertakes is propelled by a need to protect Susan as much as he also wants to show her the Universe and broaden her horizons. Susan eventually decides to stay with a man she meets on one of their adventures, and though it is heartbreaking for The Doctor, he realizes that letting Susan stay is the safest option for her.

He may be remembered as grumpy, but almost every action of this incarnation is motivated by love, even if it doesn’t initially seem like it. This Doctor, despite his appearance, is young and everything he does is for his companions. He isn’t the embittered, battlescarred Doctor we meet later on in the show’s history.

His iconic speech as he bids his Granddaughter farewell shows the love and admiration he has for her:

Power of Ambition

The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) is the result of his predecessor being forced to change appearance against his will, and he wakes up, without his transport, and exiled to earth. He ultimately wants to be accepted by the military taskforce who have hired him, and to return to him people and be accepted by them.

His flamboyant action-hero persona is a cover for a lonely man who just wants acceptance. A classic Power of Ambition character, but one who is justified in his behaviour. His predecessor was forced to regenerate and exiled by his own people. Of course the Third Doctor would be Power of Ambition- the way he was born wouldn’t allow him to be anything else.

In this video him with his typical Power of Ambition attitude towards others:

Power of Will

Just one look at the outfit of The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) tells you everything you need to know about him. His predecessor looked young and acted young. Full of wonder and naivety, he saw the best in people and sacrificed his life to save his companion. Born from selflessness, The Sixth Doctor is brash and rather jarring- he is hard to like until you really get to know him.

Like any Power of Will character, he has the capacity to be boorish and abrasive, which can be as much of a strength as it is a weakness. This particular personality becomes The Doctor’s downfall as he is put on Trial by his own people (again) and pays for it with his life. Power of Will characters believe it is better to burn out than to fade away, and as the below video demonstrates, The Sixth Doctor takes no prisoners and offers no apologies for being Power of Will:

Power of Reason

Having made so much noise in his previous form, The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) learns from his most recent mistakes by opting for a more calculated, cerebral approach to saving the Universe. As time has gone on, fans and critics alike have praised this darkest of Doctors. Power of Reason characters see everything as a challenge or a puzzle to be solved, and The Seventh Doctor is a big fan of chess, playing everyone off against each other to save the day, be they friend or foe.

Acting the utter fool as a front, this incarnation was a master strategist, reveling in obstacles to overcome and not stopping often enough to think of those who were pushed aside in his quest to find resolution. Ultimately, this drive to outwit everyone would define the character for years to come, as the actions of The Seventh Doctor inadvertently caused The Time War- more on that shortly.

This video, showing The Doctor talking himself out of a gun being pointed in his face, is an excellent example of a Power of Reason character at work:

Power of Idealism

The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) cut a dashing, Byronic figure. A handsome romantic forever searching for adventure and that next high. He couldn’t be more of a Power of Idealism character, which makes his death all the more tragic. He regenerated from his cold, calculated predecessor on New Year’s Eve, 1999 and was immediately thrown into a race against time to save reality itself, without a moment to pause for breath. He had a love of the finest things in life, and was very much like the great Romantic poets like Shelley.

It was this lust for life which made him blind to the machinations going on in the Universe that resulted in The Time War, a devastating conflict that raged across every dimension. True to his Power of Idealism characteristics, he chose to ignore the conflict, except to play the hero and help those caught in the crossfire, though never interfering because that would involve difficult choices- being a warrior would be beneath him. Ever unique, he would “help where I can. I will not fight.” It was this refusal to try and stop the War that brought about his demise, as he tries to save just one person instead. Forced the regenerate, his end is perhaps the most heartbreaking of all the incarnations, as he tells those who would engineer his rebirth:

I don’t suppose there’s any need for a Doctor anymore. Make me a warrior.

You can watch the whole tragic ending in the video below:

Power of Imagination

Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.

The War Doctor (John Hurt) might be the most interesting incarnation of them all, and not just because he is the one we know the least about. Literally born out of necessity, he was conditioned for conflict and refused to take the name of “The Doctor” as he became a commander in The Time War. Everything we have seen and read of him, however, shows him to be reluctant- to fight, to kill, to forgive himself, even to accept that he is just as much “The Doctor” as everyone who came before and after him.

The War Doctor is every bit the reluctant hero, forced into existence and on an epic quest to end the greatest war in all of creation. Like any Power of Imagination character, greatness is thrust upon him, despite his protestations that he is the “Doctor No More”. There are incarnations that would take this quest on with swagger, many of them citing pacifism and choosing not to let anyone die because of their actions, but not The War Doctor. Forever doubting his is good and heroic, he is exactly like Frodo Baggins or Luke Skywalker, other classic examples of Power of Imagination characters. Exhausted by centuries of war, and having saved the day, this hero gets a happy ending as he regenerates, knowing he can proudly call himself The Doctor again.

The below video shows The War Doctor faced with his greatest decision, which could end the War but wipeout his home planet:

Power of Excitement

Power of Excitement characters are the life and soul of the party, and The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) is relentlessly fun to be around, and a real ladies’ man. But he never dares to look back, or stops to think that he can’t always be the hero. When he reflects on heartbreak or lets down his facade of constant cheeriness and optimism, it is in the most dramatic fashion. Everything he does is with flair, and in pursuit of adventure, but more often than not it is at the cost of those whose paths he crosses. Despite being a hero, like a Power of Excitement character always is, The Tenth Doctor is an agent of chaos.

Ultimately, this thrillseeking incarnation is a deeply tragic character because he rarely stops to reflect on his actions until it is too late. He was born from a predecessor haunted by his actions in the Time War who found love in Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler. That love is amplified when he turned into the Tenth Doctor.

At the end of his life, sacrificing himself to save his friend Wilf (Bernard Cribbins), his regeneration is the most destructive and explosive because he held off the process for so long. His parting words were “I don’t want to go” and he seems to be the personification of Dylan Thomas’ quote “rage, rage against the dying of the light”.

The below video shows the reckless dark side of this archetypal Power of Excitement character at work, as he defies the very laws of time:

Power of Truth

The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) came into existence after his predecessor, all alone, finally gave in and regenerated. He was literally given a baptism of fire, his TARDIS in flames and crashing towards Earth. After such a dramatic entrance, he is immediately faced with a multitude of mysteries he must solve, and even when he tries to ignore intrigue, this Doctor must turn detective for the good of those around him.

He finds a family after suffering so much loss as his previous incarnation, and the only way he can keep them safe is to pursue the conspiracies that seem to surround him. Ancient religious orders determined to kill him, a woman who claims to be his wife popping up all over his timelines, and cracks in the skin of the universe that threatens to consume everything. Facing similar challenges as his predecessor, Seventh Doctor, this incarnation has to be cunning, quickwitted, and always alert. The irony is it is this very characteristic is what brings about his end, which haunts him all the way at the start. His era gets very confusing, which seems appropriate for a quintessential Power of Truth character like The Eleventh Doctor.

The below video shows us what happens when a Power of Truth character is proved right, and he gets to the bottom of a mystery. It’s not pretty…

Power of Conscience

The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) began his time in the role obsessed with the question “Am I a good man?”. By the end of his life, desperately trying to save a community of colonists from an army of Cybermen, and stranded with two incarnations his best friend and worst enemy, The Master, he gave a defining speech when confronting them as they fled the chaos, which can be viewed in the video below. It speaks volumes to his character, and is the most obvious evidence that he is a Power of Conscience character through and through.

He started out as a bitter man, his predecessor stranded on Trenzalore for hundreds of years, protecting the planet from swarms of enemies and ending it all from sheer exhaustion. But this incarnation’s face was familiar- in fact, it is the face of a man he saved many years before. It was a reminder to himself to do what is right, no matter the cost. He may have been harsh like the Sixth Doctor at times, but came to prove that despite his gruff exterior, he had a heart the size of The First Doctor. No other incarnation has beat himself up so much about doing the right thing, and never letting injustice occur. Power of Conscience characters think about nothing else, and The Twelfth Doctor is no exception. He thought less of adventure, and more about what it means to be The Doctor- a good man.

What’s Next?

We won’t get our first glimpse of The Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) until Christmas, and we won’t get to know her character until late next year, so it’s impossible to guess what type she will be. But if the conditions of her predecessor’s demise are anything to go by, she could very well be a Power of Love character. Only Time (and Space) will tell.

For more examples of all the character types, you can purchase the in-depth e-books at the ETB shop, or you can read more articles on all the “Power Of…” types including James Bond, Batman and Sherlock Holmes, every Tuesday.

And if you want to start an argument about guest contributor Oscar Harding’s analysis please post in the comments section!

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#TypesTuesday – Cersei Lannister and Power of Love

Types Tuesday

I thought this would a good time to review a past reader comment on Cersei Lannister.  The reader writes:

Reader: For me, the quote used in the previous article illustrating Cersei’s Power is evidence for her being Will instead of Love: “The more people you love, the weaker you are. You’ll do things for them that you know you shouldn’t do. You’ll act the fool to make them happy, to keep them safe. Love no one but your children, in that a mother has no choice.”

Reader: I don’t think that a Power of Love character would ever think of love as a weakness – love is what gives you power instead of threatening it; doing things for others is the essence of who you are and the basis for your power. But it makes total sense for a Power of Will character to see love as a weakness, as something to avoid if possible.

My answer:  A Power of Will character might see love as a weakness because love does make you vulnerable.  But a Power of Will character would never humiliate him or herself to make another happy or to keep them safe.  Think Tony Soprano. He is never laughed at nor does he play the fool for anyone.

My answer: Tony kills one of the people he loves most in the world, his nephew Christopher Molisanti.  During a car accident, Christopher is mumbling because he is high. Tony believes he can’t take a chance on Christopher blabbing private business so Tony kills him.

Their own survival is paramount to a Power of Will character. Cersei sees the survival of her children as paramount.  She says she is willing to abase herself for their happiness or safety.  That, in fact, does make her weak personally.

My answer: The final proof is Cersei’s getting pregnant just as she ascends the throne.  Given the Maesters and potions at her command it seems reasonable she could avoid pregnancy.  But she is triumphant in announcing it to Jamie.  The most joyous part of it all– She has secured the throne for their child.

If she was a female Power of Will character, she would want the throne for herself! AND She would not do anything that puts her physical condition into question.  She is a warrior queen, leading her army into “The Great War.” Pregnancy, in that patriarchal society, would put her leadership in question. There is a reason Queen Elizabeth I never married and never had children– She wanted power for herself and didn’t want to be subjected to control by anyone.

The Power of Love character is an iron fist in a velvet glove.  But that fist is wielded for others, not themselves.

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#ThinkpieceThursday – The Power of Love is a Double Edged Sword

Thinkpiece Thursday

 

Power of Love characters fear being useless, unnecessary, unwanted or unappreciated. They believe that if they aren’t hypersensitive to others’ needs they will be rejected and abandoned. They define their own self-worth by how much others need or are dependent on them.  Examples in song are below “As Long as He Needs Me” from the musical and film Oliver and “He Needs Me” from Punch Drunk Love.

These characters believe the way to get love and keep love is to be helpful, useful, loving, kind and, above all, necessary to the other person. They fear that if you don’t put others first you won’t have good relationships. If you don’t have close personal relationships, then life isn’t worth living.

On a paper valentine it says simply, firmly and powerfully “Be Mine.” Possessiveness and passive/aggressive domination are the hallmarks of these characters in their Dark Side. Power of Love characters often lavish their attention and affection on others in order to exercise control, prevail, gain dominance or conquer another’s heart. The example below is “Mother Knows Best” from the movie Tangled.

Here are the three examples in song (lyrics are below):

“As Long As He Needs Me” from the musical and film Oliver as sung by Shirley Bassey.

LYRICS FOR AS LONG AS HE NEEDS ME

As long as he needs me…
Oh, yes, he does need me…
In spite of what you see…
…I’m sure that he needs me.
Who else would love him still
When they’ve been used so ill?
He knows I always will…
As long as he needs me.
I miss him so much when he is gone,
But when he’s near me
I don’t let on…
…The way I feel inside.
The love, I have to hide…
The hell! I’ve gone my pride
As long as he needs me.
He doesn’t say the things he should.
He acts the way he thinks he should.
But all the same,
I’ll play
This game
His way.
As long as he needs me…
I know where I must be.
I’ll cling on steadfastly…
As long as he needs me.
As long as life is long…
I’ll love him right or wrong,
And somehow, I’ll be strong…
As long as he needs me.
If you are lonely
Then you will know…
When someone needs you,
You love them so.
I won’t betray his trust…
Though people say I must.
I’ve got to stay true, just
As long as he needs me.
Another great example of love as need is “He Needs Me” from Punch Drunk Love:

 

LYRICS TO HE NEEDS ME

And all at once I knew
I knew at once
I knew he needed me

Until the day I die I wonder why
I knew he needed me
It could be fantasy oh oh
or maybe it’s because…

He needs me
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me!

Da da da da da da da da da da da dum da da da da da da da da da da da

It’s like a dime a dance
I’ll take a chance I will because he needs me
No one ever asked before, before, because they never needed me
“But I do”
But he does!

Maybe it’s because he’s so alone
Maybe it’s because he’s never had a home

He needs me
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me!

For once, for once in life I finally felt that someone needed me
And if it turns out real
Then love can turn the wheel

Because…
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me
He needs me!

Da da da da da da da da da da da dum

The Dark Side of Power of Love is sung with great effect by Mother Gothel in Tangled:

LYRICS TO MOTHER KNOWS BEST
You want to go outside? Why, Rapunzel!
Look at you, as fragile as a flower
Still a little sapling, just a sprout
You know why we stay up in this tower
I know but
That’s right, to keep you safe and sound, dear
Guess, I always knew this day was coming
Knew that soon you’d want to leave the nest
Soon, but not yet
But
Shh! Trust me, pet
Mother knows best
Mother knows best
Listen to your mother
It’s a scary world out there
Mother knows best
One way or another
Something will go wrong, I swear
Ruffians and thugs, poison ivy, quicksand
Cannibals and snakes, the plague
No! Yes! But
Also large bugs
Men with pointy teeth, and
Stop, no more, you’ll just upset me
Mother’s right here
Mother will protect you
Darling, here’s what I suggest
Skip the drama
Stay with mama
Mother knows best
Got ahead, get trampled by a rhino
Go ahead, get mugged and left for dead!
Me, I’m just your mother, what do I know?
I only bathed, and changed, and nursed you
Go ahead and leave me, I deserve it
Let me die alone here, be my guest!
When it’s too late, you’ll see, just wait
Mother knows best
Mother knows best
Take it from your mumsy
On your own, you won’t survive
Sloppy, underdressed, immature, clumsy
Please, they’ll eat you up alive
Gullible, naive, positively grubby
Ditzy and a bit, well, hmm, vague
Plus, I believe gettin’ kinda chubby
I’m just saying ’cause I love you
Mother understands
Mother’s here to help you
All I have is one request
Rapunzel?
Yes?
Don’t ever ask to leave this tower again
Yes, mother
I love you very much, dear
I love you more
I love you most
Don’t forget it
You’ll regret it
Mother knows best

#ThinkpieceThursday – Destructive Lovers

Thinkpiece Thursday

by Guest Contributor Oscar Harding

There are two possible endings to every love story, either the characters are together at the conclusion or they are apart. If characters are to stay together they must work through their differences and, basically, grow up and grow together. When a love story ends tragically either one character can’t grow up or some greater internal force keeps them apart, like honor or duty.

Recent examples of each end are, Barry Jenkins’ 2016 best picture-winner Moonlight, and Abdellatif Kechiche’s 2013 Palme D’or-winner Blue Is The Warmest Colour. Spoilers follow for both films. 

In Moonlight, central character Chiron (Ashton Sanders), discovers his sexuality and his love for friend Kevin (Jaden Piner). They are torn apart by Kevin’s brutal betrayal until their reconciliation after more than a decade.

In Blue Is The Warmest Colour, central character Adèle (Adèle Exarchopolous) has some awkward sexual experiences with men before realizing that enigmatic Emma (Lea Seydoux) is the one for her. But two fall out forever over Adèle’s impulsive affair.

Moonlight is a Power of Love story, and Blue is the Warmest Colour is a Power of Idealism story. In a Power of Love story, the couple ends up together. In a Power of Idealism story, they are separated lovers who are haunted by loss and longing.

In Moonlight, Chiron is a shy alienated Power of Reason character and Kevin is a charming eager to please Power of Ambition character. Kevin’s desperate desire to fit in explodes in violence toward Chiron as Kevin tries to fit into a toxic culture of the thuggish gang masculinity. Only drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali), a kindly Power of Love character provides the understanding and nurture that Chiron needs in his social isolation. 

Chiron and Kevin are reunited after years apart. A more mature and humbled Kevin discovers Chiron has protected himself with the outward toughness of a thug. Kevin has found contentment as a fry cook who supports his son.  Kevin’s honesty and tenderness give Chiron what he needs- love, not lust. Their relationship shows both men hope for real happiness.

In Blue is the Warmest Colour, both Adèle and Emma are Power of Idealism characters. They are intense, passionate, and gifted. Emma is a bold vibrant painter and Adele is a talented writer, too afraid to show her work and risk possible rejection.

Emma is devoted to Adèle.  Adele is the great love of her life and muse for her glorious early paintings. She believes Adèle is perfect.   Adele is unwilling to accept Emma’s adoration and be satisfied. Adèle fears Emma will ultimately reject her.  She has an affair when Emma is preoccupied with helping a friend.   When Emma discovers Adele’s betrayal they have an explosive screaming break up.

Years later they meet and a reconciliation is possible. But Emma has completed her emotional journey.  She has grown up and finds contentment and peace in an ordinary domestic life.  This grounds her creative growth and helps her mature as an artist.

Adele cannot move past her torment over her lost “great love’ with Emma.  She is adrift in loss and longing and wants Emma back, or to have an affair at the very least.  Emma refuses.  She cherishes her family. Even though Adele is still her passionate “great love” Emma walks away from her. Adele simply cannot move on.

Power of Idealism stories always end with separated lovers.  Other examples are Bridges of Madison County, Casablanca, or Gone with the Wind.

Power of Love stories always end with the lovers together.  Examples are every romantic comedy you’ve ever seen.

Character is structure. Will your couple live happily ever after despite their differences? Or will the lovers part ways, remembering always that “great love” that got away?

 

 

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Why is the Cop on the Job?

In a serialized cop drama the mechanics of “How” a crime is solved is so much less important than “Why” the cops are doing what they are doing and “Why” they are affected by the job. If there is no “Why” it’s just cops going through the motions, which can make a serialized story feel by-the-numbers and hollow.

The “Why” provides the emotion, passion, and inter-personal conflict between the individuals in the story (and all the internal conflict within the character). Too often writers simply project their general idea of being a cop and use the mechanics of “How” to put the cops through their paces— Instead of being specific about “Why” one particular individual is a cop and “Why” he/she does the job in a particular or unique way.

There are four basic categories of “Why” anyone becomes a cop (or a doctor, or any other professional):

1. It’s a job. Being a cop is solid union employment and a dependable way to make a living and support a family. The cop does what is expected and punches out. The cop puts in the time and is concerned and responsible on the job. But he or she doesn’t take the job home and retires as soon as is feasible.

2. It’s a career. Being a cop is a good opportunity for advancement. The cop is working to achieve something else. The job is a means to an end (rising through the ranks, running for political office, becoming a consultant, etc.) It is a stepping- stone to something else and worth the hard work and extra effort to achieve a larger goal.

3. It’s a vocation. Being a cop is a life mission or a higher calling. The cop is there to make a difference, have an important impact, or change people’s lives. The work is a consuming passion for the cop. There is no dividing line between work and personal life. Work is the cop’s life.

4. It’s a mistake. Being a cop is not a good fit. The individual is a cop for the wrong reasons or the wrong motivations. Or the reality of the job doesn’t conform to the ideal of the job or the fantasy of being a cop. In any case, the individual puts in the time and effort, got the job, and now is trapped.

Any kind of employment, but particularly policing, has a variety of people who look at the “Why” of doing the job very differently. All individuals naturally assume their “Why” is the most valid reason or, if everyone else was honest, is the real motivation for anyone doing the job. This is a great opportunity for personal conflict in a story. Too often in cop shows (or shows featuring the medical profession) everyone is doing the job for the same reason. That isn’t the case in life and it shouldn’t be the case in drama.

Layered onto “Why” someone is employed as a police officer (it’s a job, a career, a vocation, or a mistake) is the “Why” of the individual’s Character Type. Looking down on nine different police officers toiling away long into the night it might be easy or convenient to believe they are all working hard for the same internal motivation or with the same value system and world view in mind. But every one of the Nine Character Types sees the world very differently, believes very different things about how the world works, and sees the primary role of a cop from a unique perspective.

1. Power of Conscience cops believe policing is an important duty and carries with it the responsibility of making the world a better place. Doing the right thing is crucial to these kinds of cops. Their struggle is what is the higher duty or the most right—law or justice. (These two principles are not the same thing). Hill Street Blues‘ Joyce Davenport (Veronica Hamel) is this kind of character. Howard Hunter (James B. Sikking) is the comic version on the same show. Homicide’s Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor) is also a Power of Conscience character. Rylan Givens (Timothy Oliphant) in Justified is a more recent example. Although not a cop show, the sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in The Walking Dead, was a Power of Conscience law enforcement officer.

2. Power of Will cops believe policing is a matter of strength and the ability to dominate the situation. The use of power is crucial to these kinds of cops. Their struggle is what actually constitutes strength or power— excess or restraint. (Does compassion and tolerance make you stronger or weaker?) NYPD Blue’s Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) is this kind of character. A more recent example is Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) on The Shield.  In The Walking Dead, Shane Walsh (Jon” Bernthal) is a Power of Will law enforcement officer.

3. Power of Ambition cops believe policing is a matter of winning or losing. Appealing to other’s self-interest is the way to get things done. Their struggle is with short cuts vs. the long hard patient slog—results or process. (If no one else plays by the rules why should they?) Hill Street Blues‘ John “JD” LaRue (Kiel Martin) is a Power of Ambition character. A more recent example is Lieutenant Cedric Daniels (Lance Reddick) on The Wire.  Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) is another example of this kind of cop in The Shield.

4. Power of Love cops believe policing is caring for others and helping them succeed. Compassion and understanding is crucial to how they get the job done. Their struggle is when to employ “tough love” or just give up on someone. (When does empathy or understanding simply enable bad or destructive behavior?) NYPD Blue’s Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) is this kind of character. Another example is Phil Esterhaus (Michael Conrad) on Hill Street Blues. Woody Harrelson as Detective Marty Hart in True Detective is a Power of Love cop.

5. Power of Idealism cops believe policing is a matter of individual style and personal excellence. Use of unique talents and refusing to buckle under to stupid bureaucrats is crucial to their method of policing. Their struggle is how to maintain their individuality and still be part of a larger organization. (When does being a maverick or a rebel cause more harm than good?) Homicide’s Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher) illustrates the Power of Idealism character as a cop.  Another example is Detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) on The Wire.

6. Power of Reason cops believe policing is a matter of keeping personal self-control and maintaining the social order. Objectivity, expertise and a depth of knowledge are crucial to getting the job done. Their struggle is to connect with their own emotions. Dexter’s title character (Michael C. Hall) is one of the best recent examples of this kind of character on the police force. Monk’s title character (Tony Shalhoub) is the comedic example. Sofia Helin as Saga Norén in the Swedish series The Bridge is another great example of this kind of cop.

7. Power of Truth cops believe policing is a matter of uncovering secret agendas and avoiding hidden pitfalls. Establishing trust, knowing who your friends are, and being attuned to conspiracies are crucial to getting the job done. Their struggle is to accept the ambiguity of the job and the possibility of never finding real certainty. (Is the “truth” a moving target or something fixed and certain?) Homicide’s conspiracy obsessed Steve Crosetti (Jon Polito) is this kind of character. Hill Street Blues’ loyal to the core Frank Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) is another example.  Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) on the UK version of Wallendar is a Power of Truth detective so is Matthew McConaughey as Detective Rusty Cohle in True Detective.

8. Power of Imagination cops believe policing is a matter of listening to your instincts, following hunches, or special intuitive clues. Often access to what others cannot see or hear or a quirky special kind of insight is crucial to doing their job. Their struggle is how to interpret their unusual intuition or how best to communicate it to others. (Do they take me seriously or do they think I’m crazy?) This kind of cop is rare on television. Hill Street Blues’ Michael (Mick) Belker (Bruce Weitz) is an uncouth ruffian version of the Power of Imagination character.  Another example is police consultant Allison DuBois (Patricia Arquette) in Medium.

9. Power of Excitement cops believe policing is an adventure and a thrill ride. Their charm, good-humor and ability to get themselves in and out of traps is crucial to how they do their job. Their struggle is in following orthodox rules when it is so much more interesting to play fast and loose, improvise, and shoot from the hip. (Are we having fun yet?) Beverly Hills Cop’s Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is the quintessential example of this character.

The “Why” of policing combined with Character Type creates a variety of complex and interesting individuals. It would be possible, for example, to create four very different Power of Conscience characters depending on whether they view policing as a job, as a career, as a vocation or as a mistake.

Their values and their world views would not change but their attitudes would clash. For example: How these characters define their “higher duty” or what is the “most right” is hugely influenced by the reason they are on the job. Those different perspectives provide enormous potential conflict. Here is the breakdown:

1. A Power of Conscience cop who sees policing as a job would probably believe the higher duty is owed to family. This cop would follow the rules, be conscientious, but not take the job home.

2. A Power of Conscience cop who sees policing as a career would probably believe the higher duty is owed to the organization or society. The higher the cop rises, the more effective the position becomes to do good and improve the larger situation. This cop would be relentless in seeking opportunities to advance a larger moral agenda.  And the issue of “how much bad am I willing to do in service to a good cause” would be a recurring personal theme.

3. A Power of Conscience cop who sees policing as a vocation probably believes the higher duty is owed to the victims of crime. This cop’s passion would be justice for the victims and punishment for the criminals. His or her personal life would be consumed by this life mission.

4. A Power of Conscience cop who see policing as a mistake would probably believe the higher duty is owed to one’s self. Policing can be a dirty murky business where there often is no right answer and true justice is hard to find. This lack of clear-cut black and white or right and wrong would probably be an unbearable burden on this individual– giving rise to external moral outrage and internal guilt or self-loathing. How can I be good or worthy in a cesspool?

Creating an ensemble which clearly addresses “Why” the cop is on the job combined with Character Type provides an endless source of internal and external conflict. Making use of the full variety of human experience in specific combination creates memorable partnerships, unforgettable enemies, and extraordinary individual characters.

Nigella Lawson and her Recent Troubles

Nigella Lawson’s admission she used cocaine in a fraud trial of two sisters who were her personal assistants has caused a sensation in the British press.  The intimate details about her relationship with her husband, multi-millionaire Charles Saachi, was further fuel for scandalous gossip.

The story reminded me to look back on an article I wrote about celebrity chefs and their Character Types.  (The full article is here http://www.etbscreenwriting.com/celebrity-chefs-character-types/)

Below is my analysis of Nigella at the time:

POWER OF LOVE

Nigella Lawson is a Power of Love character.  She is a food seducer.  Cooking is a sensual pleasure and the opportunity to nurture.  She is  often described as being “sexy and flirty” while working with or presenting food.  She celebrates her own voluptuous curves and says she takes her greatest joy in “feeding others”.  Here is how she describes her philosophy in one of her books:

The trouble with much modern cooking is not that the food it produces is not good, but that the mood it induces in the cook is one of skin-of-the-teeth efficiency, all briskness and little pleasure. Sometimes that’s the best we can manage, but to others we want to feel not like a postmodern, post feminist, overstretched modern woman but, rather, a domestic goddess, trailing nutmeggy fumes of baking pie in our languorous wake. So what I’m talking about is not being a domestic goddess, exactly, but feeling like one. – Domestic Goddess

Lawson’s culinary efforts have been described as decadent, succulent, passionate, luscious, and lavish.

Lawson’s sexy roundness mixed with her speed-demon technique makes cooking dinner with Nigella look like a prelude to an orgy.  – The New York TImes

Her appeal is further described here:

Women like her, she says, “because I’m not thin”, while men who lack the domestic skills to unwrap a chip supper can watch her licking a fingerful of her signature Slut Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly and wonder what they have been missing.  – The Telegraph

Power of Love characters, regardless of what they look like are innately sensual and sexy.  They are Earth Mothers or Nurturers regardless of their gender.  In her many television shows like Nigella Bites and Forever Summer with Nigella, Lawson presents food as a comfort, a pleasure and the abiding warmth of true sustenance.  Cooking is her way of giving pleasure to others.  When she is criticized it is for creating a kind of “Food Porn” that is a too voluptuous or too much the over-stuffed sensory feast.

POWER OF LOVE AND POWER OF WILL

Earlier in the year, her husband, Charles Saachi, famously grabbed Nigella by the throat in the outdoor patio of a London restaurant.  She testified she saw a young woman with a “sweet looking” baby and said she “was so looking forward to having grandchildren”.

She says her husband then grabbed her by the throat and told her he was the only person she should be concerned with and that he should be the only person giving her pleasure.  Saachi contended in the press that he grabbed his wife by the throat with one and then two hands in order to make her focus on the conversation they were having (and presumably on him).

After photos of the incident were published Saachi was cautioned by the police for assault.  A police caution is a serious formal warning but stops short of actual prosecution.  Very soon after publication of the photos Nigella filed for divorce.

She says her husband has been continually emotionally abusive.  Why didn’t she leave him before then?  Power of Love characters tend to be very forgiving in their relationship with Power of Will men.  It’s typical of a Power of Love character to believe if she just loves her man enough, or in exactly the right way, he will have to love her back.

Power of Will men are controlling, often have anger and temper issues, are extremely jealous, and are very physical. They see their partner as belonging to them and them alone.  In a strange way, this possessiveness and aggressive behavior can “feel” a bit like love to Power of Love characters.  He may not be treating her kindly but he has a powerful connection to her and she had a big emotional impact on him.

Saachi insists he still deeply loves Nigella and is “devastated” by the divorce. He said in court, “I adore Nigella, and I’m absolutely brokenhearted to have lost her”.

As this sordid saga plays out in court and in the press, I’m sure we’ll see other testimony that supports and further defines this battling couples’ Character Types.

 

#TypesTuesday – Archetype or Character Type? Wizards in Harry Potter

dumbledore-etbscreenwritingI was having a conversation with a friend the other day about archetypes. I must admit, I am not a fan. To me an archetype is a job description: a wizard, trickster, mother, hero, outlaw, seductress, judge, or mystic simply do different kinds of work in a story.

Let’s take the first job on the list, wizard. The Harry Potter book and film series features many different wizards. Each has his or her own individual kind of wizardry and distinctive personality.

That’s the problem with archetypes. There is no one way to be a wizard. There are lots of different ways to play that role in a story. Different wizards view their role or job differently, believe different things about the world, and frame their responsibilities very differently. In a story, a character’s job or role is much less important than how the person sees the world, understands that role, and fulfills his or her duties.

That’s where Character Type comes in. Character Type determines how a person views the world, sees his or her place in it, and develops a philosophy of life and love, Character Type creates innate strengths and weaknesses and determines the lessons to be learn over the arc of the story. Different Character Types are concerned about very different aspects of their role or job. For example:

A Power of Will wizard is most concerned with using his or her abilities for vengeance or to expand and defend a personal domain or to bend others or the elements into submission.  Lord Voldemort is a great example.  “There is no good and evil, there is only power…and those too weak to seek it.”

A Power of Conscience wizard is most concerned with the justice and ethics of magic and how it is most rightly or properly used.  They do not break rules or tolerate misbehavior.  Minerva McGonagall is a great example:    ‘Now, I must warn you that the most stringent anti-cheating charms have been applied to your examination papers. Auto-Answer Quills are banned from the examination hall, as are Remembralls, Detachable Cribbing Cuffs and Self-Correcting Ink. Every year, I am afraid to say, seems to harbour at least one student who thinks that he or she can get around the Wizarding Examinations Authority’s rules. I can only hope that it is nobody in Gryffindor.”

A Power of Ambition wizard is most concerned with the flash, dazzle and showy presentation required to be impressive, gain prestige, status, being popular, or acquiring a grand reputation.  Draco Malfoy is a great example:  “My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford… You’ll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.”

A Power of Truth wizard is most concerned with divining oracles and prophesies or delving into deep dark hidden secrets.  They are secret keepers and it’s hard to know where their real loyalties lie.  Severus Snape is a great example:  “What made you think he’d really stopped supporting Voldemort, Professor?”  Dumbledore held Harry’s gaze for a few seconds, and then said, “That, Harry, is a matter between Professor Snape and myself.” Snape has the most surprising reveal in the story, which changes our whole view of him at the end.

A Power of Reason wizard is most concerned with the magical formulas or precise processes that lead to specific knowledge or expertise.  Hermione Granger is a great example:  “That’s what Hermione does. When in doubt, go to the library.” She is a little off-putting and can be very condescending but she is one of the smartest and best informed young wizards in the group.

A Power of Excitement wizard is most concerned with adventurous exploring, wild experimenting or creating the chaos that makes magic fun and surprising.  They hate being bored or trapped. Sirius Black is a great exmple:  “Personally, I’d have welcomed a dementor attack. A deadly struggle for my soul would have broken the monotony nicely. You think you’ve had it bad, at least you’ve been able to get out and about, stretch your legs, get into a few fights…. I’ve been stuck inside for a month.”

A Power of Love wizard is most concerned with relationship magic, bonding spells, and creating mutual alliances.  These Character Types are stalwart friends and are self -sacrificing for others.  Harry’s best friend Ron is a good example:  “We’re nearly there,” Ron muttered suddenly. “Let me think — let me think…” The white queen turned her blank face toward him. “Yes…” said Ron softly, “it’s the only way … I’ve got to be taken.” “NO!” Harry and Hermione shouted.”That’s chess!” snapped Ron. “You’ve got to make some sacrifices! I take one step forward and she’ll take me — that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry!”

A Power of Idealism wizard is most concerned with creating magic that is completely unique, entirely special, and is a reflection of his or her deepest passions.  These are the truly exceptional wizards, those who are the legends.  Dumbledore is a good example:  “Professor Dumbledore, though very old, always gave an impression of great energy. He had several feet of long silver hair and beard, half-moon spectacles, and an extremely crooked nose. He was often described as the greatest wizard of the age.”  Harry Potter is also such a legendary wizard, specially marked, and charged with a unique and extraordinary destiny.

A Power of Imagination wizard is eccentric, slightly dreamy and live in a world of their own.  Although unassuming, these Character Types have enormous heart and bravery.  These kinds of wizards can see and hear things others don’t or simply miss.  Luna Lovegood is a great example:  “Oh, yes,” said Luna, “I’ve been able to see them (winged horses) ever since my first day here. They’ve always pulled the carriages. Don’t worry. You’re just as sane as I am.”

Each type of wizard looks at the role of magic through very different personal lens of Character Type. Resorting to an archetypal “wizard” too often leads to stereotypical behavior that is cliched. There is no one way to be a wizard just as there is no one way to be a cop, a nurse, a priest, a mother, or a fool. Each Character Type makes the role, the job, the archetype entirely his or her own.

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Power and The Game of Thrones

Soap Operas were the first television broadcast formats to use non-linear narratives. These programs have always featured interrupted story lines, shifting character focus and point of view in various episodes (and a large cast with whose characters regularly drop in and out of particular story lines), as well as alternating story arcs which advance separate but related story lines, or different characters that deal with different aspects of the same plot. There is frequent use of flashbacks, dream sequences, and other disjointed uses of time.

Popular and critically acclaimed Prime Time programs that are perceived as innovative and highly original use a combination of many of the same storytelling techniques. Why do shows such as The Game of Thrones feel fresh, inventive, and avant-garde to television audiences while Soap Operas often feel tired, old fashioned, and provincial? The answer can be found in two words– Great Characters.

If you look at the structure of The Game of Thrones it is about 80% eating or drinking and talking, walking and talking, having sex and talking, or riding and talking.  A few spectacular set pieces or violent action sequences do punctuate all of the talking but the show is primarily about relationships and power, relationships and love, or relationships and trust or betrayal.  This kind of relationship drama is the foundation of a soap.

The Game of Throne brings its relationships to life with complex characters that have a specific point of view and whose actions are always consistent with their particular way of looking at the world, their role in the world, and their philosophy of life, love, and power.

Let’s take a look at the main Game of Thrones characters in relationship to how they understand power and its use.

The first major character introduced in the series is Eddard “Ned” Stark. He is the lord of the Wintefell and head of the House Stark. He is a Power of Conscience character.

These characters know instinctively if something is wrong, unfair, or improper. They have a keen sense of justice and feel responsible for doing the greater good. In Ned’s own words: “The law is the law.” “You think my life is such a precious thing to me, that I would trade my honor for a few more years …of what?”  These characters look at power as their sworn duty to do right and take responsibility. Ned is tested by an offer to save his children by confessing to a treason he did not commit.  He believes his higher duty is to his family rather than his word.  He is beheaded any way and his children hunted down or dangerously trapped.

Catelyn Tully is the wife of Ned Stark and Lady of Winterfell. She is fiercely protective of her family. Catelyn always follows her heart rather than her head where family matters are concerned. She is  jealous of Ned’s bastard son, Jon Snow. She resents that her husband brought the boy into HER family.

Later in the story, Catelyn is consumed with avenging the deaths in the House of Stark. She is a formidable adversary and, like most Power of Love characters, wields an iron fist in a velvet glove. She finds her power in protecting and pushing her family forward.

Robb Stark is the eldest child of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark. He is declared King in the North by his bannermen and family allies after his father’s execution.  He is leading forces in a rebellion to break the North from the control of the Iron Throne.

Robb is a Power of Idealism character.  He is a warrior/savant called “The Young Wolf” and instinctively knows how to strategize and win battles.  Like Jaime Lannister, another Power of Idealism character, Robb is an extraordinary warrior and believes the rules don’t apply to him.  And like Jaime, Robb is in love with someone forbidden to him.  He is a doomed romantic who secretly weds a woman who will cost him his life and his war. His power is his ability to inspire others and in his extraordinary fighting abilities.

Jon Snow is Ned Stark’s second son.  He was born of an undisclosed romantic liaison.  He, like his father, is a Power of Conscience character.  Jon feels unworthy as Ned’s bastard son and joins the Rangers to find a good and moral purpose for his life.  But, like all Power of Conscience characters, the issue soon becomes what is the higher duty or most important moral purpose?  Does he try to help and save his brother, Robb, and the Stark family?  Or does he remain true to the vows he took as a Ranger to protect only the Wall and hence the entire realm.  Jon finds power in being a good and righteous man, he often doesn’t know what such a man looks like in the dark and complicated world he faces.

Sansa Stark is the elder daughter of Catelyn and Eddard Stark. She is raised as a true high-born lady with all the traditional feminine charms and graces. Sansa is also a Power of Love character. She is a young romantic and lives for day she will marry her handsome prince and have his children.

When her Prince Joffery turns out to be a cruel little sadist she, like most Power of Love characters, believes if she loves him long enough and well enough he will have to love her back. These characters often see their own value reflected in the eyes of another.  Sansa sees her power as a dance of romance and courtly love.  But she too, over the course of the series, reveals the strength of steel inside her velvet glove.

Arya Stark is the third child and second Stark daughter. She is a rebellious, high-spirited girl who doesn’t fit in with the other young ladies of the court. She wants to excel as a swordsman and fighter.

Arya is a Power of Idealism Character. These characters want to find their special place in the word, be extraordinary, and be called to some great destiny (often as a warrior). They reject the demands of  traditional authority to maintain and protect their own individuality and personal freedom. Arya seeks the power of having the ability to be fully and truly herself.

Brandon is the fourth child and third  Stark son. He is a Power of Imagination character.

These characters can see, hear, or “feel” things others cannot. Bran has a mystical connection with his direwolf, has prophetic dreams, and has a growing access to the “old magic” as the story goes on.

He is seemingly small, insignificant, and a cripple due to a fall. But he has great inner powers yet to be revealed.  Brandon’s only access to power as a connection to the mystical, magical, and the divine.  “You can’t kill it you know, the raven is you.”

Robert Baratheon is the (late) King of Westeros. He took the Iron Throne in a war known as Robert’s Rebellion. He is a Power of Will character.

Tywin Lannister, another Power of Will character, lusts for domination and control, but King Robert lusts for wine, women, hunting, and eating.

He is a Power of Will character in the tradition of Falstaff. Robert is volatile, dangerous and is entirely ruled by his appetites.  Power to Robert is living large and lustily and answering to no one.

Cersei Lannister is the wife and later widow of King Robert. Cersei is the only daughter of Lord Tywin Lannister.  The House of Lannister is one of the wealthiest and most influential families in Westeros.

Cersei is another Power of Love character.  She exercises power through her son, Joffery.  Although she know how dark and cruel his heart is she still loves him as fiercely as a mother lion.

“Tears aren’t a woman’s only weapon.”  “Everyone who isn’t us is an enemy.”  She finds her power behind her son’s throne.

Ser Jaime Lannister is a knight of the Kingsguard, a position he has held for twenty years since he was made the youngest Kingsguard ever. He is the eldest son of Tywin Lannister and is his sister’s incestuous lover.

He a Power of Idealism character and is acknowledged as one of the best warriors in the land.  Jamie is unique and extraordinary. He makes his own rules and follows his own peculiar code of honor.  His power is in his extraordinary and unique abilities.  “There are no men like me. Only me.”

Tywin Lannister is Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport, and Warden of the West. He is one of the most powerful lords in Westeros and father of Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion Lannister.

He is a Power of Will character. These characters take what they want, fight for every inch of turf, refuse to show any weakness themselves, pounce decisively on the weakness of others, and swiftly avenge any wrong (or perceived wrong). “Do you think I’d be where I am if I had lost a battle?” These characters show no mercy and expect none.  His power is in his strength and ruthlessness.

Tyrion Lannister, is the third and youngest child of powerful Lord Tywin. Tyrion is a dwarf, and is sometimes mockingly called The Imp or The Halfman. He is a Power of Truth character.

Unlike Varys who is a sly secret-keeper, Tyrion is a bold skeptic and cynical truth-teller. He often says what others are too afraid, too embarrassed, or too timid to say.

The major theme in his story going forward is betrayal or seeming betrayal by nearly everyone. Power is an illusive thing for Tyrion, it resides in loyalty and trust.  Both are so rare in Westeros as to be almost nonexistent.  He survives by his keen wit, cynical nature, and his powers of perception.

Varys is a eunuch, a secret keeper, and the Master of Whisperers (the head of the royal Spy Network). He is an advisor on the king’s small council.

Varys is a Power of Truth character. These characters believe the world is filled with hidden dangers, illusive enemies and concealed pitfalls. His philosophy might be stated: “Things are never what they seem.” “Trust no one.” “Watch out for secret agendas and hidden pitfalls.”  He believes power is “a trick, a shadow on the wall”.  Power is perception.  “It resides where people believe it resides”.

I liked what the AV Club has said about the series– “Each storyline is separated into roughly equal-sized chunks, then split between episodes. Every week, viewers drop in on one of those storylines for a few minutes, hopefully departing enticed to come back the next week by a cliffhanger (or two). Some episodes focus more heavily on certain characters, but each hour goes out of its way to drop in on as many characters as possible, just to keep the audience aware of what’s going on. As in soaps, this creates stories that don’t so much build as exist in an eternal present. The show has climaxes and traditional stories, but it seems to constantly be moving forward. There’s always something else coming, and the series has to maintain the illusion that whatever finality there is offers more of a comma than a period.”

I would add that the gaining or losing of power and how power is best used are the underlying theme that tie all the far-flung action of the show together.  This theme provides a sense of continuity to what’s going on in every part of the world and across all the battle fronts (foreign and domestic) on which the war is being fought.  Power is what binds the characters to the story and also binds the disparate action of the episodes together.

Forgiveness in Volver and Casablanca

Volver & Casablanca
The film Volver begins with a wonderful scene in which all the women of a small rural village scrub the tombstones of their dead. An unrelenting wind blows and threatens to overwhelm their efforts. But the women persist. What a stunning visual metaphor for the performance of the mundane tasks of life in the face of overwhelming grief.
We are told that these winds also fan fires that burn out of control in the village. Raimunda and Sole’s mother and father were consumed in such a fire. This is another powerful metaphor for rage and grief, the core of which is revealed in a stunning confession toward the end of the film.
After Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and Sole (Lola Dueñas) clean their parent’s tomb along with Rainmunda’s teenage daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo). The women then visit Aunt Paula (Chus Lampreave) and we learn Raimunda was estranged from her mother and Aunt Paula raised her.
Aunt Paula is nearly blind, mentally confused and forgetful. It’s a miracle she can still manage on her own. The old woman insists that she doesn’t. The girls’ dead mother, Irene (Carmen Maura) helps her out. When Aunt Paula dies, circumstances dictate that Sole attends the funeral alone. She returns with the ghost of their mother, Irene, in the trunk of her car.
Volver is a powerful story about how loss and grief are, at last, resolved. This is a very specific process that is present in every layer of laughter, horror, sadness and love in the film. It opens the path to forgiveness for Rainmunda and her mother.
We learn that Rainmunda’s father was a philanderer and a sexual predator. He sexually abused Rainmunda when she was a teenager. Rainmunda got pregnant and had her daughter, Paula, as a result. Rainmunda has kept this a secret all these years.
Rainmunda could never forgive her mother for not knowing what was happening and not protecting her. She turned her back on her mother and refused to have anything to do with her. In order to resolve her anger, grief and loss Rainmunda must revisit the past to:
1. See the situation as a whole
2. See her relative place in the situation
3. Speak the unspoken emotional communication
4. Cherish the positive
5. Let go of the rest
This process is key to resolving any loss and is outlined in great detail in The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman. It is an approach that is vital to any story about finding the courage to forgive.
Let’s look at how these steps are applied in Volver:
1. See the situation as a whole.
As the film opens, Rainmunda is an overburdened and overworked mother, just as perhaps her own mother was. In a repetition of the past, her own husband drunkenly attacks Rainmunda’s daughter sexually. Rainmunda has no idea this sexual attack is coming; she could not prevent it and she could not stop it.
In a stunning confession later in the film, Irene admits that she discovered Rainmunda’s abuse by Raimunda’s father/Irene’s husband. Irene killed her husband and set the building on fire. Her husband was with another woman and everyone assumed that the woman’s body was Irene’s. Irene was forced to become a “ghost,” hiding in Aunt Paula’s large rambling home and caring for the woman who took care of her daughter.
Raimunda now sees the whole situation. Her mother loved her and was as fierce on her behalf as Rainmunda was on her daughter’s behalf.
2. See your relative place in the situation.
Rainmunda couldn’t possibly understand her mother until faced with the horror of such a situation herself. Irene could not forgive herself until she saw how powerless her daughter was to prevent the same situation. Rainmunda and Irene now see one another in each other’s eyes. Each woman sees her relative place in the situation by seeing the relative place of the other.
3. Speak the unspoken emotional communication.
The unspoken communication is, of course: “I love you. I have always loved you.” As mother and daughter begin to understand each other, they rediscover the deep bonds of love and sacrifice that connect them. The power of love and the powerlessness of love bind them together. Their hearts open and they forgive each other.
4. Cherish the positive.
Rainmunda has a wonderful moment of cherishing the positive in a very funny scene about her mother’s farts. This is a stellar example of Almodovar’s quirky unsentimental portrait of these women. It is the kind of little memory that makes us love and cherish each other in all our weakness and human frailty.
5. Let go of the rest.
When Augustina, their Aunt Paula’s long-time neighbor, becomes ill with cancer the women return again to the village. Irene slips into Augustina’s house and is greeted as a welcome ghost by Augustina, who is near death herself. Another grief in the story is about to be resolved.
The body that was found in the burned building was Augustina’s mother. Irene will be able to reassure Augustina that her mother didn’t disappear on a whim to leave her alone and unloved. Irene takes charge of Augustina’s care and slips back into her purgatory world as a ghost. Her daughters let Irene go to do her penance with a quiet and simple grace.
The movie’s title song, a tango made famous by Carlos Gardel is sung by Rainmunda (Cruz), Estrella Morente provides the dubbed vocals.
I am afraid of the encounter
with the past that returns
to confront my life.
I am afraid of the nights
that, filled with memories,
shackle my dreams.
But the traveler that flees
sooner or later stops his walking.
And although forgetfulness, which destroys all,
has killed my old dream,
I keep concealed a humble hope
that is my heart’s whole fortune.
www.planet-tango.com/lyrics/volver.htm
Lyrics translated by Walter Kane
Volver is a profoundly hopeful film, despite being filled with rape, murder, incest and death. The hope that is the heart’s whole fortune is the generosity that allows human beings to forgive. Forgiveness is our amazing power to reject the poison of the past, redeem our lives and reconstruct our bond with those whom we love. (For it is those we love who have the power to hurt us the most deeply.)
This same process is also at work in Casablanca, another powerful film about resolving anger, grief and loss. When Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) walks back into Rick Blaine’s life (Humphrey Bogart), Rick goes through the same five step process to resolve his anger, grief and loss.
1. Rick must see the situation as a whole. Rick learns Ilsa had to send him away to save him from the Nazis. She had to keep her marriage to Victor Laszlo secret to protect him and others in the resistance. She had to go to Victor (Paul Henreid), who was deathly ill outside of Paris.
2. Rick must see his relative place in the situation. Victor was the hope of the whole resistance movement. The resistance would die if Ilsa didn’t go to Victor and save him. Ilsa made the only choice she could possibly make under the circumstances.
3. Rick and Ilsa speak the crucial unsaid emotional communication. They love each other, they have always loved each other and their hearts will always belong to each other. Ilsa says: “I said I would never leave you.” Rick replies: “And you never will.”
4. Rick and Ilsa are able to cherish the positive: Rick says: “We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have it, we’d lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.” By truly cherishing that time together they have rekindled and reclaimed their love for each other.
5. Rick is able to let go of the rest: Rick says: “The problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” He sends Ilsa away just as she sent him away. Rick says: “If you don’t go with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, but soon, and for the rest of your life.” “Where I’m going you can’t follow. What I’m going to do you can’t be any part of.”
Like Volver, Casablanca puts Rick in Ilsa’s situation. He now fully understands her choice. He validates Ilsa’s choice by making the same choice she did. Rick sends Ilsa away with Victor because Victor’s work in the resistance cannot continue without her.
Although they are not physically together Rick and Ilsa will live forever in each others’ hearts. Their grief and loss are resolved and they are both free to go on with their work and their lives.
Here’s how to implement these steps in your film:
1. See the situation as a whole. Have your character learn, discover or expose something that fills in a crucial missing piece in the story. Your character has made some assumption that was false, incomplete, misguided or ignorant. His or her bitterness and/or anger is built on an assumption that isn’t the whole truth. He or she doesn’t fully understand what was in the other person’s heart or what the full circumstances were. A revelation, discovery or realization fills in the gap.
2. See your relative place in the situation. Your character’s bitterness, anger, loss or grief stems from a single-minded and narrow personal perspective. His or her feelings or situation were just a part of what was going on at the time. Instead of seeing things just from a personal perspective, force your character to see the broader canvas. Put your character in the other person’s situation or position. Make that person’s choice more understandable by forcing your character to make a similar kind of choice. Force your character to “walk awhile in the other person’s shoes.”
3. Speak the unsaid emotional communication. This is some form of: “I love you. I have always loved you.” Those we love have the power to hurt us most deeply. Remembering and reclaiming that love is crucial to forgiveness. Please note: This communication is not “You have hurt me deeply.” It is a positive affirmation of the other person and how deeply the character feels about him or her.
4. Cherish the positive. There is a reason nearly everyone in the world knows the line: “We’ll always have Paris.” It’s because Rick’s line speaks to the power of positive memories. No one can take those transcendent moments from us. They remind us of all that was good, true, funny and/or wonderful about a person or time we loved. Force your character to embrace and cherish what was positive about the person or situation.
5. Let go of the rest. Forgiveness is not an emotion. It is an action. Forgiveness is letting go of the hurt, bitterness and/or disappointment of the past. Forgiveness demands that we let go of that which we cannot change. It requires us to be generous with ourselves and let go of the destructive bonds that bind and imprison us. Force your character to let go of bitterness and anger. Give your character an action that offers the gift of generosity.
I often ask my students to think of someone they love who has hurt them deeply. I ask them to think about how hard it would be to take each of those five steps themselves. Then I ask them to make that process equally as hard for their characters. When you force your character to confront and resolve loss you give an amazing gift of generosity to your audience. Volver gives that gift now. Casablanca has given that gift for decades. It is your turn next.

volver8The film Volver begins with a wonderful scene in which all the women of a small rural village scrub the tombstones of their dead. An unrelenting wind blows and threatens to overwhelm their efforts. But the women persist. What a stunning visual metaphor for the performance of the mundane tasks of life in the face of overwhelming grief.

We are told that these winds also fan fires that burn out of control in the village. Raimunda and Sole’s mother and father were consumed in such a fire. This is another powerful metaphor for rage and grief, the core of which is revealed in a stunning confession toward the end of the film.

After Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and Sole (Lola Dueñas) clean their parent’s tomb along with Rainmunda’s teenage daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo). The women then visit Aunt Paula (Chus Lampreave) and we learn Raimunda was estranged from her mother and Aunt Paula raised her.

Aunt Paula is nearly blind, mentally confused and forgetful. It’s a miracle she can still manage on her own. The old woman insists that she doesn’t. The girls’ dead mother, Irene (Carmen Maura) helps her out. When Aunt Paula dies, circumstances dictate that Sole attends the funeral alone. She returns with the ghost of their mother, Irene, in the trunk of her car.

Volver is a powerful story about how loss and grief are, at last, resolved. This is a very specific process that is present in every layer of laughter, horror, sadness and love in the film. It opens the path to forgiveness for Rainmunda and her mother.

We learn that Rainmunda’s father was a philanderer and a sexual predator. He sexually abused Rainmunda when she was a teenager. Rainmunda got pregnant and had her daughter, Paula, as a result. Rainmunda has kept this a secret all these years.

Rainmunda could never forgive her mother for not knowing what was happening and not protecting her. She turned her back on her mother and refused to have anything to do with her. In order to resolve her anger, grief and loss Rainmunda must revisit the past to:

1. See the situation as a whole

2. See her relative place in the situation

3. Speak the unspoken emotional communication

4. Cherish the positive

5. Let go of the rest

This process is key to resolving any loss and is outlined in great detail in The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman. It is an approach that is vital to any story about finding the courage to forgive.

Let’s look at how these steps are applied in Volver:

1. See the situation as a whole. As the film opens, Rainmunda is an overburdened and overworked mother, just as perhaps her own mother was. In a repetition of the past, her own husband drunkenly attacks Rainmunda’s daughter sexually. Rainmunda has no idea this sexual attack is coming; she could not prevent it and she could not stop it.

In a stunning confession later in the film, Irene admits that she discovered Rainmunda’s abuse by Raimunda’s father/Irene’s husband. Irene killed her husband and set the building on fire. Her husband was with another woman and everyone assumed that the woman’s body was Irene’s. Irene was forced to become a “ghost,” hiding in Aunt Paula’s large rambling home and caring for the woman who took care of her daughter.

Raimunda now sees the whole situation. Her mother loved her and was as fierce on her behalf as Rainmunda was on her daughter’s behalf.

2. See your relative place in the situation. Rainmunda couldn’t possibly understand her mother until faced with the horror of such a situation herself. Irene could not forgive herself until she saw how powerless her daughter was to prevent the same situation. Rainmunda and Irene now see one another in each other’s eyes. Each woman sees her relative place in the situation by seeing the relative place of the other.

3. Speak the unspoken emotional communication. The unspoken communication is, of course: “I love you. I have always loved you.” As mother and daughter begin to understand each other, they rediscover the deep bonds of love and sacrifice that connect them. The power of love and the powerlessness of love bind them together. Their hearts open and they forgive each other.

4. Cherish the positive. Rainmunda has a wonderful moment of cherishing the positive in a very funny scene about her mother’s farts. This is a stellar example of Almodovar’s quirky unsentimental portrait of these women. It is the kind of little memory that makes us love and cherish each other in all our weakness and human frailty.

5. Let go of the rest. When Augustina, their Aunt Paula’s long-time neighbor, becomes ill with cancer the women return again to the village. Irene slips into Augustina’s house and is greeted as a welcome ghost by Augustina, who is near death herself. Another grief in the story is about to be resolved.

The body that was found in the burned building was Augustina’s mother. Irene will be able to reassure Augustina that her mother didn’t disappear on a whim to leave her alone and unloved. Irene takes charge of Augustina’s care and slips back into her purgatory world as a ghost. Her daughters let Irene go to do her penance with a quiet and simple grace.

The movie’s title song, a tango made famous by Carlos Gardel is sung by Rainmunda (Cruz), Estrella Morente provides the dubbed vocals.

I am afraid of the encounter
with the past that returns
to confront my life.
I am afraid of the nights
that, filled with memories,
shackle my dreams.
But the traveler that flees
sooner or later stops his walking.
And although forgetfulness, which destroys all,
has killed my old dream,
I keep concealed a humble hope
that is my heart’s whole fortune.

www.planet-tango.com/lyrics/volver.htm
Lyrics translated by Walter Kane

Volver is a profoundly hopeful film, despite being filled with rape, murder, incest and death. The hope that is the heart’s whole fortune is the generosity that allows human beings to forgive. Forgiveness is our amazing power to reject the poison of the past, redeem our lives and reconstruct our bond with those whom we love. (For it is those we love who have the power to hurt us the most deeply.)

casablanca1This same process is also at work in Casablanca, another powerful film about resolving anger, grief and loss. When Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) walks back into Rick Blaine’s life (Humphrey Bogart), Rick goes through the same five step process to resolve his anger, grief and loss.

1. Rick must see the situation as a whole. Rick learns Ilsa had to send him away to save him from the Nazis. She had to keep her marriage to Victor Laszlo secret to protect him and others in the resistance. She had to go to Victor (Paul Henreid), who was deathly ill outside of Paris.

2. Rick must see his relative place in the situation. Victor was the hope of the whole resistance movement. The resistance would die if Ilsa didn’t go to Victor and save him. Ilsa made the only choice she could possibly make under the circumstances.

3. Rick and Ilsa speak the crucial unsaid emotional communication. They love each other, they have always loved each other and their hearts will always belong to each other. Ilsa says: “I said I would never leave you.” Rick replies: “And you never will.”

4. Rick and Ilsa are able to cherish the positive: Rick says: “We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have it, we’d lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.” By truly cherishing that time together they have rekindled and reclaimed their love for each other.

5. Rick is able to let go of the rest: Rick says: “The problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” He sends Ilsa away just as she sent him away. Rick says: “If you don’t go with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, but soon, and for the rest of your life.” “Where I’m going you can’t follow. What I’m going to do you can’t be any part of.”

Like Volver, Casablanca puts Rick in Ilsa’s situation. He now fully understands her choice. He validates Ilsa’s choice by making the same choice she did. Rick sends Ilsa away with Victor because Victor’s work in the resistance cannot continue without her.

Although they are not physically together Rick and Ilsa will live forever in each others’ hearts. Their grief and loss are resolved and they are both free to go on with their work and their lives.

Here’s how to implement these steps in your film:

1. See the situation as a whole. Have your character learn, discover or expose something that fills in a crucial missing piece in the story. Your character has made some assumption that was false, incomplete, misguided or ignorant. His or her bitterness and/or anger is built on an assumption that isn’t the whole truth. He or she doesn’t fully understand what was in the other person’s heart or what the full circumstances were. A revelation, discovery or realization fills in the gap.

2. See your relative place in the situation. Your character’s bitterness, anger, loss or grief stems from a single-minded and narrow personal perspective. His or her feelings or situation were just a part of what was going on at the time. Instead of seeing things just from a personal perspective, force your character to see the broader canvas. Put your character in the other person’s situation or position. Make that person’s choice more understandable by forcing your character to make a similar kind of choice. Force your character to “walk awhile in the other person’s shoes.”

3. Speak the unsaid emotional communication. This is some form of: “I love you. I have always loved you.” Those we love have the power to hurt us most deeply. Remembering and reclaiming that love is crucial to forgiveness. Please note: This communication is not “You have hurt me deeply.” It is a positive affirmation of the other person and how deeply the character feels about him or her.

4. Cherish the positive. There is a reason nearly everyone in the world knows the line: “We’ll always have Paris.” It’s because Rick’s line speaks to the power of positive memories. No one can take those transcendent moments from us. They remind us of all that was good, true, funny and/or wonderful about a person or time we loved. Force your character to embrace and cherish what was positive about the person or situation.

5. Let go of the rest. Forgiveness is not an emotion. It is an action. Forgiveness is letting go of the hurt, bitterness and/or disappointment of the past. Forgiveness demands that we let go of that which we cannot change. It requires us to be generous with ourselves and let go of the destructive bonds that bind and imprison us. Force your character to let go of bitterness and anger. Give your character an action that offers the gift of generosity.

I often ask my students to think of someone they love who has hurt them deeply. I ask them to think about how hard it would be to take each of those five steps themselves. Then I ask them to make that process equally as hard for their characters. When you force your character to confront and resolve loss you give an amazing gift of generosity to your audience. Volver gives that gift now. Casablanca has given that gift for decades. It is your turn next.

Vintage Cop Shows – Why Is The Cop On The Job?

Andy-Sipowicz-etbscreenwriting

I recently had a question from a reader about how different Character Types do the same job OR how the same Character Types might do a job differently.  This previous post answers both questions.  I love questions from readers.  Be sure to submit yours.

Three cop shows changed forever how police work is depicted on television. Each show was original and iconic in its own time. Each remains an example of emotional storytelling at peak intensity and engagement. Let’s look at Hill Street Blues, Homicide: Life on the Street and NYPD Blue and the lessons that can be drawn going forward.

Hill Street Blues redefined the cop/crime genre through intertwined partnerships that combined police officers’ stressful work lives with the conflicts in their private lives. Very few investigations or interrogations were ever featured on the show. Instead, each episode charted a “day in the life” of the precinct from the early-morning roll call to a late-night rehash of the day’s events. This recap was usually in the bedroom with lovers Captain Furillo and Public Defender Joyce Davenport. Hill Street Blues focused almost exclusively on the interpersonal relationships between the core cast members. The show also introduced a more “documentary” look and feel to the genre. Real-life personal issues and situations were explored in a raw and more explicit manner than previously depicted on earlier shows such as Columbo or Kojak. Real-life street slang was used throughout the program.

Homicide: Life on the Street exploded television racial stereotypes with multi-dimensional complex depictions of African Americans. The show was set in Baltimore, a predominately black American city. The storylines managed to cross racial barriers that were previously taboo on television. Homicide also broke many of television’s editing and narrative continuity rules. Jump cuts were numerous and unpredictable shifts in the narrative marked it as one of the most unconventional programs at that point in the genre. With a sharp unflinching honesty about race, prejudice and violence, the detective’s job is depicted as repetitive and emotionally draining. The show examined the enormous toll that policing took on individuals and on partnerships.

NYPD Blue was set against the backdrop of urban decay in New York City. Career cops were depicted as complicated, complex and often deeply flawed human beings. Although the show featured risky adult material, most of the stories were about families and the terrible emotional aftermath of violence. Less attention was paid to the crimes than how the crimes affected the relationships in the core cast. NYPD Blue was really about one man’s journey toward redemption. Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) began the show as a drunken abusive racist cop who is about to be thrown off the force (for good reason). Seventeen years later, he’s earned the top position in the precinct and, although still Andy, is fit to lead.

Each of these classic cop shows focused on the “Why” of the human cop story rather than the “How” of the crime story. That’s what made them successful. And that’s what separates these shows from the current generation of procedural cop shows like Law & Order (and all its varieties). But even in the Dick Wolf Law & Order universe, “Why” each person does the job is based on the individual’s very clear Character Type. For example: Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), over many years on the show, still wrestles with the same questions of ethical principle vs. political expediency and law vs. justice. His “Why” is clearly driven by the Power of Conscience.

In a one-hour drama it is only possible to do one thing well– procedure or personal relationships. There isn’t time to do both well. There currently is lots of procedure on television. Perhaps it’s time for the pendulum to swing back to emotional personal relationships in cop shows.

Clear true emotions travel. They connect with the audience and move them week after week to watch a show. The definition of “to be entertained” is to feel something. In the classic cop shows discussed above, the mechanics of “How” a crime is solved is so much less important than “Why” the cops are doing what they are doing and “Why” they are affected by the job. If there is no “Why” it’s just cops going through the motions, which can make a story feel by-the-numbers and hollow.

The “Why” provides the passion and inter-personal conflict between the individuals in the story (and all the internal conflict within the character). Too often writers simply project their general idea of being a cop and the mechanics of “How” to put the cops through their paces— Instead of being specific about “Why” one particular individual is a cop.

There are four basic categories of “Why” anyone becomes a cop (or anything else for that matter):

1. It’s a job. Being a cop is solid union employment and a way to make a living or support a family. The cop does what is expected and punches out. The cop puts in the time and is concerned and responsible on the job. But he or she doesn’t take the job home and retires as soon as is feasible.

2. It’s a career. Being a cop is a good opportunity for advancement. The cop is working to achieve something else. The job is a means to an end (rising through the ranks, running for political office, becoming a consultant etc.) It is a stepping- stone to something else and worth the hard work and extra effort to achieve a larger goal.

3. It’s a vocation. Being a cop is a life mission or a higher calling. The cop is there to make a difference, have an important impact or change people’s lives. The work is a consuming passion for the cop. There is no dividing line between work and personal life. Work is the cop’s life.

4. It’s a mistake. Being a cop is not a good fit. The individual is a cop for the wrong reasons or the wrong motivations. Or the reality of the job doesn’t conform to the idea of the job or the fantasy of being a cop. In any case, the individual puts in the time and effort, got the job and now is trapped.

Any kind of employment, but particularly policing, has a variety of people who look at the “Why” of doing the job very differently. All individuals naturally assume their “Why” is the most valid reason or, if everyone else was honest, is the real motivation “Why” anyone works at the Station House or Precinct. This is a great opportunity for personal conflict in a story. Too often in cop shows (or shows featuring any profession) everyone is doing the job for the same reason. That isn’t the case in life and it shouldn’t be the case in your drama.

Layered onto “Why” someone is employed as a police officer (it’s a job, a career, a vocation or a mistake) is the “Why” of the individual’s Character Type. Looking down on nine different police officers toiling away long into the night it might be easy or convenient to believe they are all working hard for the same internal motivation or with the same value system and world view in mind. Every one of the Nine Character Types sees the world very differently, believes very different things about how the world works, and sees the primary role of a cop from a unique perspective.

1. Power of Conscience cops believe policing is a duty and a responsibility to make the world a better place. Doing the right thing is crucial to these kinds of cops. Their struggle is what is the higher duty or the most right—law or justice. (These two principles are not the same thing). Hill Street Blues‘ Joyce Davenport (Veronica Hamel) is this kind of character. Howard Hunter (James B. Sikking) is the comic version on the same show. Homicide’s Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor) is also a Power of Conscience character. Rylan Givens (Timothy Oliphant) is a more recent example.

2. Power of Will cops believe policing is a matter of strength and the ability to dominate the situation. The use of power is crucial to these kinds of cops. Their struggle is what actually constitutes strength or power— excess or restraint. (Does compassion and tolerance make you stronger or weaker?) NYPD Blue’s Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) is this kind of character. A more recent example is Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) on The Shield.

3. Power of Ambition cops believe policing is a matter of winning or losing. Appealing to other’s self-interest is the way to get things done. Their struggle is with short cuts vs. the long hard patient slog—results or process. (If no one else plays by the rules why should they?) Hill Street Blues‘ John “JD” LaRue (Kiel Martin) is a Power of Ambition character. A more recent example is Lieutenant Cedric Daniels (Lance Reddick) on The Wire.

4. Power of Love cops believe policing is caring for others and helping them succeed. Compassion and understanding is crucial to how they get the job done. Their struggle is when to employ “tough love” or just give up on someone. (When does empathy or understanding simply enable bad or destructive behavior?) NYPD Blue’s Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) is this kind of character. Another example is Phil Esterhaus (Michael Conrad) on Hill Street Blues.

5. Power of Idealism cops believe policing is a matter of individual style and personal excellence. Use of unique talents and refusing to buckle under to stupid bureaucrats is crucial to their method of policing. Their struggle is how to maintain their individuality and still be part of a larger organization. (When does being a maverick or a rebel cause more harm than good?) Homicide’s Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher) illustrates the Power of Idealism character as a cop.  A more example is Detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) on The Wire.

6. Power of Reason cops believe policing is a matter of keeping personal self-control and maintaining the social order. Objectivity, expertise and a depth of knowledge are crucial to getting the job done. Their struggle is to connect with their own emotions. (When is objectivity actually alienation?) Dexter’s title character (Michael C. Hall) is one of the best recent examples of this kind of character on the police force. Monk’s title character (Tony Shalhoub) is the comedic example.

7. Power of Truth cops believe policing is a matter of uncovering secret agendas and avoiding hidden pitfalls. Establishing trust, knowing who your friends are and being attuned to conspiracies are crucial to getting the job done. Their struggle is to accept the ambiguity of the job and the possibility of never finding real certainty. (Is the “truth” a moving target or something fixed and certain?) Homicide’s conspiracy obsessed Steve Crosetti (Jon Polito) is this kind of character. Hill Street Blues’ loyal to the core Frank Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) is another example.  Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) on the UK version of Wallendar is a more recent example.

8. Power of Imagination cops believe policing is a matter of listening to your instincts, following hunches and special intuitive clues. Often access to what others cannot see or hear or a quirky special kind of insight is crucial to doing their job. Their struggle is how to interpret their unusual intuition or how best to communicate it to others. (Do they take me seriously or do they think I’m crazy?) This kind of cop is rare on television. Hill Street Blues’ Michael (Mick) Belker (Bruce Weitz) is an uncouth ruffian version of the Power of Imagination character.  A more recent example is police consultant Allison DuBois (Patricia Arquette) in Medium.

9. Power of Excitement cops believe policing is an adventure and a thrill ride. Their charm, good-humor and ability to get themselves in and out of traps is crucial to how they do their job. Their struggle is in following orthodox rules when it is so much more interesting to play fast and loose, improvise and shoot from the hip. (Are we having fun yet?) Beverly Hills Cop’s Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is the quintessential example of this character.

The “Why” of policing combined with Character Type creates a variety of complex and interesting individuals. It would be possible, for example, to create four very different Power of Conscience characters depending on whether they view policing as a job, as a career, as a vocation or as a mistake. Their values and their world views would not change but their attitudes would clash. For example: How these characters define their “higher duty” or what is the “most right” is hugely influenced by the reason they are on the job. Those different perspectives provide enormous potential conflict. Here is the breakdown:

1. A Power of Conscience cop who sees policing as a job would probably believe the higher duty is owed to family. This cop would follow the rules, be conscientious and not take the job home.

2. A Power of Conscience cop who sees policing as a career would probably believe the higher duty is owed to the organization or society. The higher the cop rises, the more effective the position becomes to do good and improve the larger situation. This cop would be relentless in seeking opportunities to advance a larger moral agenda.

3. A Power of Conscience cop who sees policing as a vocation probably believes the higher duty is owed to the victims of crime. This cop’s passion would be justice for the victims and punishment for the criminals. His or her personal life would be consumed by this life mission.

4. A Power of Conscience cop who see policing as a mistake would probably believe the higher duty is owed to one’s self. Policing can be a murky business where there often is no right answer and true justice is hard to find. This lack of clear-cut black and white or right and wrong would probably be an unbearable burden on this individual– giving rise to external moral outrage and internal guilt or self-loathing. How can I be good or worthy in a cesspool?

Creating an ensemble which clearly addresses “Why” the cop is on the job combined with Character Type provides an endless source of internal and external conflict. Making use of the full variety of human experience in specific combination creates memorable partnerships, unforgettable enemies and extraordinary individual characters.