Power of Conscience


Power of Conscience characters know instinctively if something is wrong, unjust, unfair, improper, corrupt or out of line.  Their judgment and response is 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.  They wrestle with how far they should go in seeking justice and fairness for others, in exposing corruption and injustice or in standing up against evil or wrong-doing.   They worry about with what is the higher duty and what exactly is required of them in response.

The answer, in a drama, is everything this character holds dear. Over the course of a drama these characters are drawn further and further down the path of righteousness.  They are compelled to do one small thing, then another and another until, in the end, they have sacrificed their personal concerns, their safety, their security, their family, their fortunes or often their lives.

They can be a force for good or evil in a story.  In their Dark Side these characters believe the ends justify the means (evil behavior for a good or moral purpose).  At their worst they can become rigid, accusatory, sanctimonious, judgmental and hypocritical.

On the comedy side, Power of Conscience characters are often pious hypocrites who are exposed in a comedic way or respectable establishment types who get a humorous comeuppance. Or, they can be straight-laced or uptight individuals who need to relax, be more spontaneous and have more fun.

Power of Conscience ETB Screenwriting

Character Examples

Film examples include:  Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich; Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List; Queen Elizabeth in The Queen; Norma Rae in Norma Rae; Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons; Jeffrey Wigand in The Insider and Frank Galvin in The Verdict.

Horatio Caine in CSI: Miami; Dwight Schrute inThe Office; Bree Van De Kamp in Desperate Housewives; Charlotte York inSex and the City and Lisa Simpson in The Simpsons are great television examples.  See the Power of Conscience blog posts for more examples.


Power of Conscience eBook

The Power of Conscience 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 characters that fully explore all the contradictions, reversals and surprises of a fully formed human being.

Discover the Power of Conscience 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 Conscience 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 Conscience ETB Screenwriting

Comprehensive Analysis

The Power of Conscience 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 Conscience 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 Conscience 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 Conscience 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 Conscience 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 Conscience 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 Conscience 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 Conscience 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 Conscience character convince others to follow? How does this character act to take charge and command?

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

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

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

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