#TypesTuesday – Nathan For You and Power of Ambition

Types Tuesday

By Guest Contributor Oscar Harding

Chances are, most European readers will have no idea what Nathan For You is. In fact, many Americans might not know it despite being on the Comedy Central channel. It is one of US TV’s best-kept secrets and also one of the funniest shows in years.

It has just returned for its fourth and potentially final season, so now seems an excellent time to examine Nathan Fielder, perhaps the most quintessential Power of Ambition character currently on Television.

A very brief summary of the show- similar to reality shows like Kitchen Nightmares, self-professed small business guru Nathan Fielder provides… innovative solutions to struggling entrepreneurs in California. The show is produced in a similar fashion to its televisual peers, but the businesses and people are all real and unaware the show is a joke.

Canadian comedian Fielder plays the whole thing straight, forever deadpan as he suggests everything from a coffee shop turning into a legal parody of Starbucks, to a realtor claiming to specialise in haunted houses. Here is an example of his work- it really has to be seen to be believed:

The premise alone makes a very funny show, but it is the character of Nathan- a classic Power of Ambition type- that makes it something special. There is a subtle narrative arc weaved into the show, of Nathan desperately seeking friendship and romance where he can find it.

Sometimes the show completely abandons its premise as we see Nathan trying to overcome his shyness towards women, or searching for friends online. The line between reality and fiction is regularly blurred to an unrecognizable level.

Power of ambition characters seek approval from others. They also want to appear untouchable, and at the top of their game. Nathan introduces each episode by claiming “he graduated from one of Canada’s top business schools with really good grades”.

Nathan takes everything to the absolute extreme in order to impress the business owners he helps, to the point where sometimes he’s forgotten what he was doing was to help a business, and he carries on his ludicrous plans without them. I’ve never seen a character in television more desperate for love and appreciation except perhaps David Brent.

The show is an excellent satire, but crucially it serves as a vehicle for its main character, portrayed by an actor who never makes fun of the business owners he strives to gain respect from, instead making himself the butt of the joke. Every time, his drive to be liked propels him to go too far. He will break the law and create elaborate hoaxes to “help” small businesses. At the end of it all, he usually asks the business owners if they’d like to hang out with him now filming has wrapped. Their answer is always no.

If people want an example of a Power of Ambition character, I will always refer them to Nathan Fielder- to me, he is the epitome of Power of Ambition.

For more information on Power of Ambition characters and other examples click HERE.

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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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#TypesTuesday Heroes – Power of Imagination

Types Tuesday

Heroes, created by Tim Kring, tells the stories of ordinary people who discover that they have superhuman abilities. They are people you’d never notice twice, an overweight cop, a Japanese cubical worker, a small black kid.  The plot revolves around how they find each other and work together to prevent a catastrophic occurrence.  “Save the cheerleader.  Save the world.”

The series was extraordinary as the first network series to emulate the aesthetic style and storytelling structure of American comic books.  It used multi-episode story arcs that built upon a larger, more encompassing narrative.

I found Heroes extraordinary as the first series to feature all Power of Imagination main characters. Power of Imagination characters see or hear, or can access power that others can’t. Their reaction to this unique ability is affirming and all-embracing. They never doubt their vision, special insight, unique ability, or call from beyond.

These characters are launched on a quest when something in the wider world is disrupted, thrown out of balance, or is causing danger or deep divisions. They are reluctant heroes who are pushed into their roles by larger circumstances. Greatness is usually thrust upon them via a special message, personal intuition, vivid vision, or supernatural imperative that calls to them in some deeply powerful way.

In calling others to heed their vision, these characters naturally collect diverse individuals who share a common purpose despite significant outward differences and even conflicting agendas or opposing points of view. Their goal to keep the potentially divisive group together and to restore harmony and balance to the world.

The first season of Heroes was a ratings powerhouse for NBC.  The first season stuck to the Power of Imagination structure and theme. As the show moved further away from finding others and joining together on a grand quest to fighting villains, weaponized viruses, and switching identities the show, in subsequent seasons, spiraled downward in the ratings.  It was no longer the global phenomenon it was when it debuted.

Once you’ve established the emotional playing field for a show, you move off it at your peril.

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#TypesTuesday – Batman v Sherlock: Comparing Reason and Truth

Types Tuesday

Batman and Sherlock Holmes are both detectives of sorts but they approach their investigation into crime very differently. Batman is a Power of Truth character.  Holmes is a Power of Reason character. This makes all the difference in how their stories are told.

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy (my favorite Batman movies) is remarkably consistent in its emotional and psychological characterizations. In the Emotional Toolbox method, rather than looking at genre, the essential emotional force driving the movie is analyzed. Nolan’s trilogy is a series of complex multi-layered Power of Truth stories.

These kinds of stories are driven by secrets, lies, conspiracies, or concealment. In the opening of The Dark Knight Rises, a huge lie is rotting at the heart of Gotham City.

Bruce Wayne/Batman languishes in disgrace, broken and hiding in his cavernous mansion. Harvey Dent, who had become the criminally insane Two Face in the previous film, The Dark Knight, has been put on a pedestal and is revered as a hero. His crimes are concealed and even blamed on Batman.

The Dark Knight Rises and all Power of Truth stories chronicle the most profound and personal betrayals. These stories also ask: when does betrayal look like loyalty and when does loyalty look like betrayal? These stories’ twists, turns, treachery, and reversals, changes everything the character believes is true. All the character holds dear is destroyed.  It is a story of emotional devastation.

One of the major betrayals at the heart of the film is Alfred Pennyworth’s omission in telling Bruce Wayne what happened just before Bruce’s great love, Rachel Dawes, died. Alfred argues against Bruce re-emerging as Batman, revealing the truth about Rachel.

Bruce argues that Rachel died believing that the two of them would be together; that was his life beyond the cape. He can’t just move on because she couldn’t move on– she died.

Alfred reluctantly tells Wayne the truth, “What if she had? What if, before she died, she wrote a letter saying she chose Harvey Dent over you? And what if, to spare your pain, I burnt that letter?”

Bruce accuses Alfred of just using Rachel to try to stop him. Alfred is adamant. “I am using the truth, Master Wayne. Maybe it’s time we all stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day. I’m sorry.”

In Power of Truth stories, like Nolan’s Batman trilogy, things are never what they seem.  The tangled undergrowth of human duplicity and emotional treachery catches and pulls at every character in the film.

Power of Reason stories are much more straight forward.  The investigation is a puzzle to be solved logically, emotion doesn’t enter into it. Of course, there is deception in these stories, but the lies are exposed by the careful collection of empirical evidence and objective deduction.

Sherlock says:  “Impossible suicides? Four of them? There’s no point sitting at home when there’s finally something fun going on!

Mrs. Hudson: “Look at you, all happy. It’s not decent.”

Sherlock: “Who cares about decent? The game, Mrs. Hudson, is on!”

Power of Reason characters examine the situation, consult other expert opinions or past experiences, and put their minds to the issue in a thorough and objective fashion.  It’s all a puzzle to be solved or a game to win. The human cost of murder or suicide doesn’t factor into the equation.

These characters cannot abide deviation from their systematic and orderly approach to the world. They tend to discount or ignore emotional or spiritual (or supernatural) elements in a situation or a problem. If they can’t see it, measure it, categorize it or quantify it, they don’t believe in it.

Power of Reason characters don’t believe in getting personally involved or emotionally entangled in any issue. They always try to maintain a sense of cool detachment and personal objectivity. They are good listeners but deflect or avoid any intimate questions about themselves and are extremely private about disclosing anything they consider to be personal. They are excellent problem-solvers and experts on matters technical, scientific or arcane.

Moving from a cold clinical analysis toward a more human evaluation (which takes into consideration emotional connection, caring, and a real valuing of others’ feelings) is their journey toward greatness.

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#TypesTuesday – Zero Dark Thirty and Power of Conscience

Tuesday Types

In Zero Dark Thirty, written by Mark Boal and directed by Katherine Bigelow, a young CIA operative called Maya, played by Jessica Chastain, is obsessed with finding and killing Osama Bin Ladin, a terrorist.

She is involved in morally reprehensible torture and criminal violence to track down and have her quarry killed.  She is driven and relentless, so much so that when she is successful she has no idea what to do next. And we have to ask, what does her immoral activity make her? Hero or war criminal?

Bigelow explains in an interview:

“I think what’s so interesting and so poignant for Jessica, myself, for all of us, is this idea that this woman (Maya) has spent the last ten years exclusively in the pursuit of one man and yes, at the end of the day, she triumphed, but it’s not a victory because finally, at the end of the day, you’re left with much larger questions like, where does she go from here? Where do we go from here? Now what?” Chastain adds, “I find that to end the film on that question is far more interesting than providing an answer.”

Power of Conscience characters wrestle with how far they should go in seeking justice or in standing up against evil or wrongdoing.  The question is: what is the higher duty and what exactly is required of them in response. In their Dark Side, these characters believe the ends justify the means (evil behavior for a good or moral purpose).  Maya is involved in terrible activities, but she does get her man. Can she live with herself?  Or is she willing to do even worse things for the next right cause?

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#TypesTuesday – James Bond: From Power of Excitement to Power of Reason

Types Tuesday

Bond.  James Bond.

Paul Haggis changed the course of 007 with his reboot of Casino Royale.  I had the great pleasure of working with him on Quantum of Solace as a consultant.  That film followed up our work together on In the Valley of Elah. 

Casino Royale effectively updated, renewed and refreshed the James Bond character for new audiences. The Bourne franchise suddenly made Bond seem old fashioned. So a complete reboot was in order.

The classic James Bond, like Indiana Jones, and the more comedic Austin Powers, was written and played as a Power of Excitement character. Stories driven by the Power of Excitement are about getting out of traps and escaping from entangling situations.  They are thrill rides.

Power of Excitement characters refuse to be confined, corralled, or domesticated.  They flee adult responsibilities and commitments.  Peter Pan is a classic Power of Excitement character.  So are the protagonists played by Hugh Grant in his early movies.  These characters are incredibly charming but basically are kids.  Their mantra is, “I don’t want to grow up.  I don’t want to settle down.”

Mimi Avins, in The Los Angles Times, hits the nail on the head when she writes:  “There has always been something adolescent about 007. Sure, Britain’s best-known secret agent occasionally bears the fate of the free world on his deltoids. What he hasn’t shouldered, as he’s whizzed from one adventure to another over the last 44 years, is the ordinary responsibilities and commitments of a modern adult male. He’s an eternal lad, with a teenager’s contempt for authority and the ring-a-ding-ding Rat Packer’s attitude toward women that real men outgrow about the time they realize Maxim isn’t seriously meant to be a guide to life.”

Charming Power of Excitement characters’ devil-may-care “I just want to play around and play the field” behavior can be rakish and “bad boy” charming when a character is young.  But, after a certain age, it grows tiresome can verge on the pathetic.  That’s why, in his later movies, About a Boy and Brigitte Jones’ Diary, for example, Hugh Grant plays this character type’s darker side.  Power of Excitement characters and actors playing the boyish scamp or charming playboy have a definite expiration date.

The incredibly valuable Bond franchise was facing a difficult dilemma in remaking Casino Royale.  The perennially adolescent Power of Excitement Bond had been around for a long time and might not seem as appealing to the current, more cynical, movie-going audience.  An expiration date was looming.  These are darker and less innocent times than when the Bond movies debuted with such flash and fun in the psychedelic 1960’s.

So how does 007 evolve and grow up?  What kind of character is the new “more adult” Bond?  The producers’ and screenwriters’ answer was to transition the character from a Power of Excitement character to a Power of Reason character.

Power of Reason stories are about alienation vs. connection.  They are about order vs. chaos. These characters are distant, sarcastic and can be perceived as cold.  It’s not that these characters don’t feel things— the trouble is, they feel things too deeply.  To avoid being overwhelmed by their emotions Power of Reason characters shut down and withdraw into themselves.  Bond’s reaction after Vesper’s death.

Power of Reason characters are experts in their field. They are stubborn, tough, and opinionated and always believe they know best.  They are loners and prefer to work alone.  These characters buck authority because they believe they are best left to their own expert devices.

These characteristics lead Bond to clash with M over and over in Casino Royale.  This new Bond is more resolute and less cavalier than the previous Power of Excitement Bonds.  Earlier 007s had a devil-may-care attitude of rebellion against “adult” constraints and authority. The new Bond simply believes he knows best and should be left to it.

Daniel Craig was an inspired choice to play the new Bond.  Despite early carping and criticism by fans, his character type is ideally suited to this Power of Reason 007.  Writing about some of his early stage work a reviewer noted that Craig “contains his violence like an unexploded mine.”  There is a cool and controlled quality to Craig’s previous roles in Layer Cake and Munich.  His expertize and ability to disengage and get the job done, despite the internal and/or moral cost.

Another excellent example of a Power of Reason story and character is Luc Besson’s wonderful film, The Professional, starring Jean Reno as Leon, a hit man.  Leon meets a little girl under crisis circumstances and learns to love— with tragic, but heroic, consequences.

Television Power of Reason examples include Dr. Gregory House on House and the comedic detective series Monk.  Even though all these characters are individually very distinctive, they each share the same emotional and motivational core.

When transitioning a character the question is how to recast the same behavior with a compelling new motivation.  Consistency, authenticity and character type is key. Previous 007s killed as sport and barely rumpled their tuxedos.  They were flip, flash, and fun:  the eternal “lad.”  This new adult Bond doesn’t avoid obligations and responsibilities.  He executes them, both literally and figuratively, with chilling and brutal expertize.  This is a Bond who is bloodied but unbowed.  He has scars on his soul.  And he doesn’t really give a damn if his martini is shaken or stirred.  He has darker, more adult concerns.

The good news is that Daniel Craig as 007 is back in 2019!  I hope he is put to work fighting Neo-Nazis and alt-right terrorists!

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#TypesTuesday – Sense8’s Lito Rodriguez and Power of Ambition

Types Tuesday

As between The Leftovers and Sense8, I am definitely more of a Sense8 fan. True, there is the usual silliness, over-seriousness, and logic holes not uncommon to Lana Wachowski’s and Lilly Wachowski’s work. But I loved the characters!  They are people I’ve enjoyed spending time with and getting to know better.  Among my favorites is Lito Rodriguez, telenovela superstar.

Lito is an immensely popular, sexy, romantic leading man.  Women swoon. Men quote Lito’s lines like Evangelicals quote the Bible. But… He is a deeply closeted gay man. His image is a lie. He characterizes himself as a smooth talking fraud.  He is terrified his secret will be exposed.  Lito is a Power of Ambition character.

Power of Ambition characters believe that nothing is as important as projecting a successful, polished image– Even if the character has lie, cheat, or steal to do so. Image is everything.

 Popularity is crucial to their sense of self and feelings of well being.

Characters like Lito, crave the reassurance of the visible, tangible evidence of their outward success. The definition and meaning of “success” are at the heart of any Power of Ambition character’s story arc. Is success measured from the outside or from within?

This is Lito’s struggle.  Can he be truly authentically himself (and be true to the man he loves) even if it destroys his popularity and ruins his lucrative career? Or will he desperately continue to maintain the lie that is his life and destroy his chance at happiness with the love of his life?  Is inner integrity and authenticity success or are the toys, trapping, accolades, and applause success?

For more information on Power of Ambition characters and other examples click HERE.

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#TypesTuesday – Celebrity Chefs & Character Types

TYPES TUESDAY

head-chefs_medium

I am in Copenhagen at a TV conference focusing most on factual entertainment or reality shows. Scandinavian broadcasters, producers, and creative executives are attending.  I’ve been invited to present a large lecture and an invitation only workshop.

The narrative problems are surprisingly similar in fiction and non-fiction. In a lawyer show, a cop show, or a doctor show a whole group of characters is doing pretty much the same job.

They all meet challenges, reversals, and opposition from someone or something along the way. Every character wants to be successful and do a generally good job. Likewise, in an elimination reality show, everyone is together in a group doing generally the same thing.  They all want to be successful and do a good job which, in the case of a reality show, means lasting long enough to win the big money prize by avoiding eviction from the competition.

Whether you are writing a scripted drama or producing an unscripted reality show, you have the same character problem: How do you differentiate each character and make each one a unique and compelling individual? The key is why characters do what they do, how they define doing a good job or a successful strategy, and how they approach challenges, obstacles, work, or what they love.

CELEBRITY CHEFS

In preparing for the Copenhagen conference, I wanted to illustrate the Character Types with real life individuals who are clearly defined characters in their own right and who each embody a very different approach to life and work. The subjects had to have an international reputation since I am speaking with producers from a variety of different Scandinavian countries.

Celebrity chefs are a great example. Each person is doing approximately the same thing (discussing and/or demonstrating food, cooking, or dining opportunities), they all want to be successful and generally do a good job.  How they define that job, for themselves, is vastly different.

Here’s how analyzing real people can help in creating a scripted drama or an unscripted reality show. The Character Types are the same whether applied to celebrity personalities or fictional characters.

Here are how the Character Types line up and my observations on each kind of real life Food Personality:

POWER OF CONSCIENCE

jamie-oliverJamie Oliver is a Power of Conscience character. He is a food crusader, his mission is to teach people the right things to eat and the proper, healthy approach to planning and cooking meals.  The name of his show is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Campaign for Healthy Eating.  Here is what his American website has to say:

This food revolution is about saving America’s health by changing the way you eat. It’s not just a TV show, it’s a movement for you, your family and your community.

Oliver’s UK website is sub-headed “The Ministry of Food”.  He is not afraid to impose his views on others and has ignited a real controversy over the food served in schools in the UK.  Some mothers have reacted in protest.

Two angry mums are mocking Jamie Oliver’s healthy eating campaign by running a junk food service for school children.

Julie Critchlow and Sam Walker say youngsters are snubbing overpriced “low fat rubbish” dished up at school lunchtime.

So, using an old supermarket trolley, they are running daily deliveries of fish and chip lunches, pies, burgers and fizzy drinks, passing the food through a gap in a fence…

…(A)s environmental health officials and council chiefs were called in a bid to ban the mums Sam, 41, hit back: “This is all down to Jamie. I just don’t like him and what he stands for. He’s forcing our kids to become more picky about their food.

“Who does he think he is, all high and mighty? He can feed whatever he wants to his children but he should realise that other parents think differently.”  – The Daily Mirror

Power of Conscience characters believe they know instinctively if something is wrong, unjust, unfair, improper, corrupt, bad judgment, or out of line. Their opinion and response are swift and immutable. They are propelled forward by personal outrage and moral indignation, usually on another’s behalf.

These characters believe they are their brother’s keeper. They feel responsible for the greater good and for doing good.   Jamie Oliver believes food choices have serious moral implications for health and social responsibility.  When he is criticized, it is for a too strident, judgmental or preachy attitude.

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#TypesTuesday – Bugs Bunny & Chaos

Types Tuesday

What’s up, Doc? A Power of Excitement character, that’s what! This week I’m talking about everyone’s favorite wascally wabbit, Bugs Bunny of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes fame.

I had the great good fortune to work with the remaining animators of “Termite Terrace” fame, including Chuck Jones.  I interviewed these amazing artists (somewhere I still have those tapes) and looked at their original drawings. in one of my first jobs as a consultant.

The object was to standardize the characterization of the Warner Bros. cartoon pantheon for legacy purposes.  These characters are now all over the world in television, merchandizing, and spin offs (Baby Bugs Bunny).  And Bugs needs to look like Bugs and act like Bugs wherever he appears. I helped create the official style and character guide.

But back to Bug Bunny’s Character Type:

Power of Excitement characters play the role of the merry prankster. They keep things lively, entertaining, interesting and off-balance for all the other characters  At heart, these characters are anarchists.  They love to cause chaos to keep things amusing or to shake up the existing (dull, boring, or pedantic) order of things.

Bugs Bunny is smart, sassy and adept at getting into and out of traps.  He is an anarchist, who refuses to obey rules (including the law of gravity).  “Ahh, Doc– I never went to law school.”  Bugs is a charming agent of chaos in every one of his cartoon roles. Bart Simpson is another example of this smart mouth “bad boy” character.

If we look to the Dark Side of Power of Excitement, we need to look no further than The Joker in the Batman franchise to find an example.  The clip below is the definition of an Agent of Chaos gone bad:

#TypesTuesday – The Hurt Locker & Power of Idealism

TYPE TUESDAY

Kathryn Bigelow has a new film, Detroit, being released now.  The biggest criticism of the film so far is the lack of a strong central protagonist. Full disclosure: I haven’t seen the film yet myself but will write about it soon.

In her previous film, The Hurt Locker, Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) is a memorable Power of Idealism protagonist.  He has a cocky, shoot-from-the-hip, iconoclastic style in defusing roadside explosives.  These deadly bombs are hidden in the sand, in cars, and in the occasional corpse.  He has techniques that are all his own as he travels through the gutted terrain of Iraq ravaged by war, poor planning policies, and the smash-and-burn fury of local insurgents.

Characters driven by the Power of Idealism want to stand out from the crowd, to be extraordinary, unique and special.  They are rebels, iconoclasts, mavericks, and artists of all kinds.

Power of Idealism characters are intense, passionate and rebellious. Everyone in the story immediately recognizes and acknowledges that their role is somehow heroic or “larger than than life.”  They don’t play by anyone else’s rules.

Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) in The Hurt Locker is a quintessential Power of Idealism character.  He is intense, cavalier and is moving swiftly toward becoming a legend.  In this exchange, his reputation grows:

Colonel Reed: You the guy in the flaming car, Sergeant James?

Staff Sergeant William James: Afternoon, sir. Uh, yes, sir.

Colonel Reed: Well, that’s just hot shit. You’re a wild man, you know that?

Staff Sergeant William James: Uh, yes, sir.

Colonel Reed: He’s a wild man. You know that? I want to shake your hand.

Staff Sergeant William James: Thank you, sir.

Colonel Reed: Yeah. How many bombs have you disarmed?

Staff Sergeant William James: Uh, I’m not quite sure.

Colonel Reed: Segeant?

Staff Sergeant William James: Yes, sir.

Colonel Reed: I asked you a question.

Staff Sergeant William James: Eight hundred seventy-three, sir.

Colonel Reed: Eight hundred! And seventy-three. Eight hundred! And seventy-three. That’s just hot shit. Eight hundred and seventy-three.

Staff Sergeant William James: Counting today, sir, yes.

Colonel Reed: That’s gotta be a record. What’s the best way to… go about disarming one of these things?

Staff Sergeant William James: The way you don’t die, sir.

Colonel Reed: That’s a good one. That’s spoken like a wild man. That’s good.

A. O. Scott, writing for the New York Times describes James like this:  “Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) is something else, someone we recognize instantly even if we have never seen anyone quite like him before. He is a connoisseur, a genius, an artist.”

The artistic temperament— and the yearning to be “something more extraordinary” creates a white hot intensity of feeling in these characters.  In contrast, long-term relationships and the comfortable companionship that committed loving couples (and families) share seem suffocatingly pedestrian.

Power of Idealism characters, operating in their Dark Side, are unprepared to make the ordinary, small, everyday sacrifices real long-term every-day love requires, especially when there are children involved.

In this exchange James explains to his infant son:

Staff Sergeant William James: You love playing with that. You love playing with all your stuffed animals. You love your Mommy, your Daddy. You love your pajamas. You love everything, don’t ya? Yea. But you know what, buddy? As you get older… some of the things you love might not seem so special anymore. Like your Jack-in-a-Box. Maybe you’ll realize it’s just a piece of tin and a stuffed animal. And then you forget the few things you really love. And by the time you get to my age, maybe it’s only one or two things. With me, I think it’s one.

Staff Sgt. William James wants to live fast, die young, and leave a legend behind. He simply cannot find the extraordinary in ordinary family life. He must follow the adrenaline rush, upping the level of risk, and taking ever more dangerous chances.

For more information on how to create a powerful, dynamic Power of Idealism character, click HERE.

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