The Hero or Heroine

The Hero or Heroine
should appear on almost every page of your screenplay, be on screen about 90 percent of the time, and the pacing of your script will depend upon the emotional and physical roller coaster you send them on.
This post will be a longer discourse on the subject considering the amount of time dedicated to the Hero or Heroine.
As a screenwriter, you’ll want to find the Hero or Heroine at the most crucial time in their life. You’ll also need to demonstrate the hero or heroine are willing to do anything to reach the objective while confronting internal and external demons.
Let’s take an in-depth look at a classic. The Wizard of Oz .which is often ranked among the top ten best movies of all-time in various critics’ and popular polls and as the “most-watched film in history” by the Library of Congress.

In the story, Dorothy Gale, a 12-year-old Kansas farmgirl, is knocked unconscious during a tornado. She, her dog Toto, and the farmhouse are apparently swept up in the storm and dropped into the magical Land of Oz, where she sets out on the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz to return her to Kansas. During her journey, she meets a Straw Man, a Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion, who join her, hoping to receive what they lack themselves (a brain, a heart, and courage, respectively). They are pursued by the Wicked Witch of the West, who wants her dead sister’s magic ruby slippers, now worn by Dorothy.

Note: In November’s post, the subject of systems and bricks were discussed. We will continue

with this theme here, however, from a different angle. First, we will find the brick may represent a foundation, and the system may represent commerce in The Wizard of Oz.

Let’s ponder some of the symbols used in The Wizard of Oz.  You are using symbolism, right?

Dorothy is dropped into the magical land of Oz (abbreviation for ounce and employed in some different systems) which may represent that time in a young person life when they enter the public arena (age 18), and it feels like an emotional storm of different…confusing and magical feelings.

Then… a decision must be made as to which way to go and Dorothy must follow the Yellow Brick (gold bars perhaps/ gold is measured in ounces) Road (begin a journey; travel) to find the Emerald City (green or greenish blue) land of the greenbacks. So the bricks are now a foundation to travel on instead of an interchangeable part. Dorothy’s goal is to ask the Wizard of Oz (skilled or gifted person) to return her to Kansas.

To demonstrate the internal strength or weakness, it is sometimes useful to create supporting characters to represent these aspects. Toto, the Straw Man, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion all joined Dorothy on the journey to the Emerald City.  In my opinion, the meanings are as follows:

Toto (common sense), is always with Dorothy and she holds him close to her heart while the other characters are not brought to the conscious mind until Dorothy is dropped into the Land of Oz.

The Straw Man, that legal entity which represents a person in business, wanted a brain from the Wizard. He received a certificate and was proud of his legal status and all the legalisms he was granted.

The Tin Man, Taxpayer Identification Number, stood mindless doing his work until his body froze up and stopped functioning. He worked himself to death because he had no heart or soul. He wanted a heart from the Wizard.

The Cowardly Lion was afraid to stand up for himself. However, he was a bully when it came to picking on those smaller than he. He wanted courage from the Wizard.

I’m sure it’s not hard to think of some Wicked Witch of the West and Flying Monkeys who attack and try to control us. The external evil forces working against us that eventually show up in our work situations or business dealings. We must also watch out for those poppy fields ready to put us into a slumber. And, remember the Wicked Witch wants those ruby slippers (choice in the matter) that can be slipped off and on with ease.

After Dorothy reaches the Emerald City to find the Wizard of Oz, she learns that the smoke, flames and holographic images of Oz were designed to frighten people into doing as the Wizard commanded. Common sense, Toto, pulled the curtain back to expose the scam and showed the Wizard to be an ordinary person who created an illusion of power and authority.

How did Dorothy find redemption or her way home? She simply clicked her heels. She always had the power to go home and so do we!    We only need a brain, a heart, and soul with some courage.

 If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it!


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The Brand StoryHome

…is in honor and memory of Tessa, my small Maltese born October 6, 1993, and passed away September 18, 2009.

I was considered the 3rd dog in Tessa’s pack. Her first master was the first dog, Tessa was the second dog, and I was the third dog. No matter what I’d do to gain respect or position in Tessa’s eyes… I was “ the third dog.” She was so adorable and such a character. I caved to her demands…and she was very demanding…which brought me joy and contentment. Her demands were begging for food and sitting on my lap.

Tessa had a few quirky personality traits based on her past…growing up in a less than ideal environment thrown into the backyard with two Dobermans to fend for herself. She was about 3 pounds at that time the runt and a spitfire. Not far from being a replica of me….she made me smile with joy at her attitude.

Quite the problem solver

She also liked mischief and got herself into some severe problems. Like the time she discovered chocolate candy on the coffee table and laid in wait for her moment to snatch the candy bars run upstairs and hide them under the bed until nightfall. In the middle of the night, I awoke to a banging noise. It was Tessa banging her water bowl against the metal stairs to get my attention. I soon discovered several empty candy wrappers, piles of vomit everywhere, and Tessa hitting the bowl. It is unbelievable that she survived that terrible episode eating more candy bars than I could… at one time!

Filled with inspiration

She will always be my inspiration and a reminder of perfection.

As I emerged in the second half of my journey as a storyteller, launched myself into the world of screenwriting, and left behind an entirely different phase of my life, I also had to let go of my friend…my companion my little spitfire Tessa.

I will forever be the 3rd dog.