Archive for July, 2012
If you want to tell a story about following your dream you have to leave the fear based world and follow the rules of the Love driven world. They are not the same. We instinctively push away from fear but we pull towards what we love. You can’t do both at the same time. Stories of being authentic, recognizing your unique gift and bringing it to the world, following your passion, and coming of age are all told from the love-driven world.
Here are the rules of operation in the love based world:
1. The people around the protagonist, her community, don’t see her true potential. They see her as a pawn in their desire to further the fear driven world, if they see you at all. Even if their intention is to be benevolent they are not allowing her to be herself. Love is conditional which isn’t really love at all. SOmetimes everything is all very comfortable and safe as long as you fit in. The motivation to go on this journey has to come from inside you and it is a Virgin’s journey – the road to recognizing that you are of value for being yourself.
2. Some belief you hold in yourself is holding you back such as “I should be helping others”, “who am I to be beautiful, talented, spectacular?”, or “other people’s happiness is more important than mine.” Notice again this is coming from inside the protagonist and we can see it on the screen.
3. Virgins do not flourish through mounting fear. In a state of fear their focus becomes very narrow and uncreative. The Virgin needs a Secret World where she is safe and appreciated. For a while she must believe her secret is safe. This gives her the freedom to grow into her potential. She can follow what brings her joy in this world. Put lots of joyful moments in the middle of your movie, not setbacks! Let the audience watch her grow the way we marvel at flowers or butterflies emerging. She must also go back and forth between her two worlds because she is not ready to exist on her own. In the moment of moving back and forth there can be fear (or comedy) just not in the Secret World.
4. The Virgins world is full of relationships. People are connected to each other and the growth of one will inspire the growth of another. The antagonist in this story can grow out of love for the Virgin. Fathers come to understand that their role is not to control their child but to love them and build a place of safety when they are being authentic. Bosses see the error of their ways. You don’t have to kill off or exile your antagonist in a story of following your passion. It is better if you see them grow to become a better person for having known the Virgin.
5. Unexpected outcomes happen in a Virgin story. Billy does not set out to become the first male lead in Swan Lake. But he was and it was magnificent. The key is for the Virgin to stay connected to what s/he loves and follow it wherever it takes her. S/he opens herself to the play of the universe. When the Virgin is being true to herself, shining her light, the world becomes brighter. Art, connection, growth and change are all possible, in ways beyond what you initially imagined. If your character dreams of being a dancer she may not get into the school she applied to but she danced in the streets igniting a new dance craze and dancing becomes part of our everyday lives. The goal was not as important as finding a connection to what she loves. The rest is luck, synchronicity, or dare I say, destiny.
Brave is the story of a Scottish princess, Merida, whose family is determined to have her conform to societal norms and marry for political alliance. Merida defies her parents in favor of choosing her own path.
Some suggest it is the coming-out story of a lesbian princess, and it could be. But ultimately this is a Virgin story. It is the journey to look inside and know yourself and be yourself despite the wishes of your kingdom. Sometimes that is through spiritual awakening, or creative awakening, or sexual awakening. These are all ways in which we become attached to our authentic way of being in the world. Brave includes aspects of all of these ways of growing to know you are of value for being yourself.
That is the journey Merida is on. It is the story of a girl learning what her gift is and consciously connecting to her own sense of self. It is a universal story.
One aspect of the story I really liked was the messages around power. Merida lived in a world of masculine power which by the Weber definition is the ability to assert your will even against the will of others. This is the power Merida subscribed to when she used magic to change her mother. By everything she saw around her this was how power worked. Her mother had neglected to teach her about feminine power.
Feminine power is the ability to be all you are capable of being. It is rooted in love. This is what Merida comes to understand as she blocks her father from killing mother-bear. She just wants her mother back. She no longer wants to assert her will over her. Merida learns she can shine and take responsibility for her own journey to be authentic rather than waiting for permission from her mother.
Brave is a really enjoyable story because it has many nuances and subplots within it on the theme of following the feminine journey of the Virgin. If I could change one thing it would be the title. Bravery is about facing your fear of death. Courage is the ability to follow your heart even when you don’t know where it will take you.
Incidentally, for all those people who are aware of the beats of the Virgin’s journey, Brave has solid Virgin story structure. Here’s my breakdown of the beats as best I can remember from one viewing. Spoiler Warning.
1. Dependent World -a princess is groomed to conform to traditional values around behavior and marriage alliances designed to keep young girls under control for the transference of power.
2. Price of Conformity – In order to be a part of her family Merida is busy 6 days a week doing things that are not important to her, wearing clothes that don’t express who she is, behaving in ways that are unnatural to her.
4. Dresses the Part – Merida is given a bow and arrows and
5. Secret World – secretly grows in her passion for marksmanship and freedom with her horse. When fetching her arrow she meets her first Willow Wisp and awakens to her spiritual nature.
3. Opportunity to Shine – A contest for her hand in marriage which she wins giving her the right to choose not to marry whcih
9. Kingdom in Chaos – sets the kingdom into chaos. War is imminent without a marriage alliance (Reminder – the beats don’t have to be in a particular order.)
6. No Longer Fits Her World – The Willow Wisps lead Merida to a Crone who she asks for a potion that will change her mother in order to change her fate. When her mother is turned into a bear, her father’s arch enemy, Merida begins to doubt the whole idea of rocking the family boat.
10. Wanders in the Wilderness – Merida tries to stall the men. Seeing the devastation she has caused she considers conforming in order to re-establish order in the kingdom.
12. Rescue – mother-bear signals Merida to be true to her heart, even if it means she will be a bear forever. Mother-bear has grown to recognize Merida is most valuable when shining as her true self. Maybe being a bear brought her closer to her own natural way of being.
8. Gives Up What Kept Her Stuck – Merida stops whining to her mother and
11. Chooses Her Light – speaks directly to the power brokers, openly expressing what is in her heart.
13. The Kingdom is Brighter – they all recognize finding love is a stronger way to bond the community.
7. Worlds Collide (I call it Caught Shining in the book but am beginning to think this original name for the beat is better) – Her mother the bear is in the castle with her father the bear hunter.
9. Kingdom in Chaos – They all chase mother-bear to the stone circle trying to kill her, the brothers are now bears, and no one knows how to convert them all back. The old bear that ate the king’s leg is proof they may never change, except through death.
12. The Rescue – Merida stands up for her mother, recognizing that she loves her and would die for her. Mother has to be her true self as much as Merida has to be herself.
13. The Kingdom is Brighter – love binds the kingdom, feminine power has a place beside masculine power.