Power of Will

Power of Will ETBScreenwritingPersonality

Power of Will characters believe that expanding their power base, extending their territory, protecting and defending what is rightfully theirs (according to them) and swiftly avenging any wrong (or perceived wrong) is how one gets along, gets ahead and stays ahead in the world.

Power of Will characters take what they want, fight for every inch of turf, refuse to show any weakness themselves and pounce decisively on the weakness of others. They have a kill or be killed framework for everything. They believe absolutely in the Law of the Jungle.

These characters divide the world into aggressors and victims, hunters and prey, and the strong and the weak. They believe it is better to be feared than to be loved. They never want to be seen as “soft” or vulnerable. They show no mercy and they expect none.

A character driven by the Power of Will is one of the mostly frequently utilized characters in film and television. Although typically cast in the role of the antagonist, villain, heavy, muscle, enforcer or nemesis, this Character Type also makes a vibrant and complex protagonist. Although most often developed as a male character, a Power of Will character can also be a formidable female.

Power_of_Will ETB Screenwriting

Character Examples

Tony and Livia Soprano in The Sopranos; Vic Mackey in The Shield; Al Swearengen in Deadwood; Andy Sipowicz inNYPD Blue; Young King Henry in The Tudors; Angela Agretti in Falcon Crest; Homer Simpson in The Simpsons and Samantha Jones in Sex and the City are great television examples of this Character Type.  For more television example see the Power of Will blog posts.

Film examples include: Michael Corleone in The Godfather; Tony Montana in Scarface; Daniel Plainview in There Will be BloodGordon Gekko in Wall Street, Wendy Kroy in The Last Seduction; and the Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons.  For more movie example see the Power of Will blog posts.

Power of Will eBook

The Power of Will Character Type eBook explains how these characters are alike and how each character is made individually distinct. It will help you develop unique, original, evocative and authentic Power of Will characters that fully explore all the contradictions, reversals and surprises of a fully formed human being.
Discover the Power of Will character’s specific goals, unique emotional obstacles and very distinct responses and reactions to any opportunity, challenge or threat. Create this character’s Immediate Tactics, Long-term Orientation and Strategic Approach in a way that is recognizably “true” at every step of the story and during every moment of screen time. The audience will instantaneously recognize and relate to your character because your character is complex, three-dimensional and “feels real.”
This eBook is thorough analysis of the Power of Will Character Type in his or her many guises and roles as a protagonist or a member of a larger ensemble. It is packed with numerous examples from film, television and even real life! Examples from scores of scenes and dozens of quotes from film and television characters clearly illustrate this character’s motivations and psychological dynamics in a story.

The Power of Will Character Type eBook explains how these characters are alike and how each character is made individually distinct. It will help you develop unique, original, evocative and authentic Power of Will characters that fully explore all the contradictions, reversals and surprises of a fully formed human being.

Discover the Power of Will character’s specific goals, unique emotional obstacles and very distinct responses and reactions to any opportunity, challenge or threat. Create this character’s Immediate Tactics, Long-term Orientation and Strategic Approach in a way that is recognizably “true” at every step of the story and during every moment of screen time. The audience will instantaneously recognize and relate to your character because your character is complex, three-dimensional and “feels real.”

This eBook is thorough analysis of the Power of Will Character Type in his or her many guises and roles as a protagonist or a member of a larger ensemble. It is packed with numerous examples from film, television and even real life! Examples from scores of scenes and dozens of quotes from film and television characters clearly illustrate this character’s motivations and psychological dynamics in a story.

Power_of_Will ETB Screenwriting

Comprehensive Analysis

The Power of Will Character Type eBook illustrates exactly how to create and differentiate this character based on his or her:

(1.) World View (beliefs about how the world works) What are the essential core beliefs that motivate a Power of Will character’s ordinary actions?

(2.) Role or Function (position in the story or role in the ensemble) What do the other players look to a Power of Will character to do or provide in the story?

(3.) Values in Conflict (competing values that push the character to extremes) What opposing choices or goals establish the Power of Will character’s moral code? What is this character willing to fight, sacrifice or die for? And why?

(4.) Story Questions (emotional journey in the story) What personal issues, dilemmas and internal conflicts does a Power of Will character wrestle with over the course of the story? What does this character ask of him or her self? What is this character’s Leap of Faith in an emotionally satisfying story?

(5.) Story Paradox (emotional dilemma) What is the duality or the contradiction at the heart of a Power of Will character’s story struggle? How is the character’s internal conflict expressed in actions.

(6.) Life Lessons (how to complete the emotional journey) What must a Power of Will character learn over the course of the story to make a clear, satisfying personal transformation? What actions lead to this character’s emotional salvation?

(7.) Dark Side (this character as a predator or villain) What happens when a Power of Will character’s actions are driven entirely by fear? How might or how does the story end in tragedy?

(8.) Leadership Style (what defines and qualifies this character as a leader) How does a Power of Will character convince others to follow? How does this character act to take charge and command?

(9.) Film Examples (the Power of Will character as a protagonist)

(10.) Television Examples (the Power of Will character as central to an ensemble)

(11.) Real Life Examples (historical Power of Will figures on the world stage)

Terminator Salvation vs Star Trek – What Is Fair?

Terminator_Salvation_John_Connor-etbscreenwritingThe Importance of Worldview

I had an interesting question forwarded by a reader on FaceBook. I described John Connor (Christian Bale) in Terminator Salvation as a Power of Conscience character. Power of Conscience characters are most deeply concerned about rightness, fairness and the higher duty involved in anything they do. (See Conscience Blog Posts). The question was: Aren’t all characters to some degree “fair.”

The answer of course is, yes! But the key factor is: How does that particular Character Type define “fair.” That definition varies widely. Each Character Type views the concept of fairness very differently and acts accordingly. Let’s look at Terminator Salvation and Star Trek for examples.

Power of Conscience ETB Screenwriting

Power of Conscience

A Power of Conscience character (John Connor in Terminator Salvation) values doing good, the higher duty and moral correctness most highly. Fairness for this character is doing right by others. Fairness means taking the moral high ground in any decision.

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Power of Idealism ETB ScreenwritingPower of Idealism

A Power of Idealism character (Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation and James T. Kirk in Star Trek) values individuality, personal excellence and authenticity most highly. Fairness for this character is persevering the unique rights of the individual. Fairness means allowing each person to decide his or her personal destiny according to one’s own uniqueness and standards of excellence (even if the individual choice rebels against the rules, norms or morals of society).

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Power_of_Reason ETB ScreenwritingPower of Reason

A Power of Reason character (Spock in Star Trek) values objectivity, expertise and rationality most highly. Fairness for this character is deciding purely according to the facts and not being swayed by emotion. Fairness means looking at a situation objectively and proceeding logically (even if that decision is personally or socially painful).

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Power_of_Will ETB ScreenwritingPower of Will

A Power of Will character (Nero in Star Trek) values strength, power and territory most highly. Fairness for this character is what preserves the strong, culls the weak and decisively leads the pack. Fairness is the law of the jungle and survival of the fittest. Fairness means the biggest most powerful dog wins. (“Win or die there is no compromise”).

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Fairness Depends on Point of View

These are four very different ways of looking at and defining “fairness.” Each of these characters would make a very different determination about what is fair and would take very different actions given exactly the same set of circumstances.

It is very tempting, individually, to believe that everyone views “fairness” exactly as “I” do. In fact, different Character Types view philosophical concepts like fairness, love and social or personal responsibility very differently. They each have very distinct ideas about how the world works and very specific ideas about what is owed to the self and to others. It is this distinctiveness which will clarify, sharpen and set your characters apart from general stereotypes when you are clear about your character’s type.