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Shep Bush recently asked folks on LinkedIn ‘In screenwriting, does the Hero have to be a leader?‘
interesting question … and one that i needed to answer
as much as the post pertained to the ‘ani-jobs’ LinkedIn Group called Animation and Film Jobs, i wanted to answer in a more general, life-oriented sense … specifically siting certain movie characterizations and examples to point out the answer here is definitley ‘no’
here’s my answer
The ‘hero’ of a story does not need to be a leader. I guess this greatly depends on your definition of ‘hero’, but I am thinking of the main character or the primary target of the film or camerawork.
Although the hero or main character does not need to be a leader, as passive watchers of a film, we are following that person and therefore they can oftentimes seem like a leader.
I hope that Pee-wee Herman is not considered a leader when we watch ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’.
The main character in ‘3 Colours: White’ … is he ‘a leader’? We follow his life adventure. We’re introduced to his world and his climb back into a productive and almost-happy life, but he is almost an anti-hero. A low movement in the symphony of life. An interesting character, but not a leader.
The characters in ‘Ghost World’ … they’re almost more like tour guides to a certain mindSet or vantagepoint of looking at the world. The tension comes about when the 2 friends begin to encounter other people in their town that have what most might consider a ‘more normal’ view of the world. Or at least a less imaginative way of seeing things. This movie is almost about absolutely nothing. And yet we follow the characters and empathize with one or the other girl in our own special way depending on which side of the fence we’re standing.
And then, more famously … ‘Pulp Fiction’. Are these horrific gangsters ‘leaders’? I feel there is SO much symbollic stuff going on in this movie … the sort of ‘difference between dogs and pigs’ … loveable pets vs filthy animals … they too become our tourguides into a timeless swirling indecipherable world where the sacred and profane mingle and blur. But there are definitely no heroes here that I can see. And there is definitely a gigantic void in the realm of leadership.
And this concept … a hero-less, leaderless environment … this might be the state of the world today. So don’t let them fool ya.