Updated: Jun 21, 2019
"When the Eternal first gave Love,
A myriad hearts sprang into life;
Ears filled with music, eyes with light,
Pealed forth with hearts with love all rife:
“All glory to the God of Love!”"
In feature film structure, we always have two storylines intertwined and the second one is usually a love story. In theory, we usually refer to it as an emotional line, but it would be more precise to say: an emotional line that is predominantly love-based.
The space in between these two storylines, ‘I wish’ line (story A) and ‘I need’ line (story B) is the space for the main conflict in our film, that is also tearing our hero apart.
The beginning of the ‘I need’ storyline occurs at the beginning of act two (a half an hour into the film) and this point happens to align with The Lover archetype on the Intuitive Screenwriting Wheel. When we speak about the B storyline, from now on we can refer to it as the ‘I need love’ line and I think this is exactly what is going to help us when structuring the beginning of act two.
ACT 2: The manifestation of a hero –exploring reality– discovering one’s appetites, what’s pleasurable and what’s not, what I need so that I can become solid (earth) in this world – (A NEED) A glimpse of what is worth fighting for.
After the first act where the unstable fire was needed to ignite the story, we then enter into the second act with more stable earth energies, where manifestation is not just possible, but also tangible. A decision to go on a quest from the first act turning point is now manifesting into some kind of reward or real goal for the hero. It’s interesting to ask ourselves: why is that reward always based in love? Also, how are these two storylines intertwined?
Obviously, our goals and our successes are nothing if we are not oriented towards love and fulfillment. This is also true for every hero and every story. The real motivation behind every action is love; not just emotion, but the experience of positive emotion.
The real story of the film always happens in between hero’s ego and his heart. In this part of the film, the hero’s need for sensual love and beauty is louder than his ego. Also, these two storylines develop as counterpoints to each other: the hero’s heart or need for pleasure and his ego are an opposite mirror reflection of each other and from this point on, they are going to fight for supremacy until the very end of the film. You know who the winner is in happy ending stories and who is in tragedies.
On the wheel it is:
The Lover-->Caregiver (both comfort lovers) archetypal stage.
It can be understood as:
(Positive) Love introduced/
(Shadow) But the hero still craves true emotional fulfillment.
The Creator represents pure love as a creative force and love towards oneself (inciting incident), but the Lover is earthly, experienced, and expresses sensual love towards something or someone. The appreciation of beauty, anything or anyone that can be touched, smelled, held in one’s arms, but also food that can be eaten, and art that can be admired, possessions that can give us a tangible experience of our existence, anything that is valuable to us or that can give us value, anything that is worth living for can be and is the gate to the Lover archetype.
So, ask yourself, “what is valuable to my hero?” What does he or she find worth investing his or her time and energy into? But also, what are his or her hidden talents, how does he or she attract people, or anything for that matter?
Usually, it is a romantic relationship, but it can also be any love relationship. It can be parent-child love.
At this point, either a romantic partner (an attractor) enters the story, or the potential for love is recognized between your hero and someone else who is already in the story.
The focus suddenly shifts from two big shocks that happened in the Inciting incident point (Creator) and the first act turning point (Explorer) and we, as the audience, can see what this story is actually all about. It is always about love one way or another. Note that this is just an introduction, a projection, a glimpse of what is to come later on in the story for real. As I said, love is introduced here and the hero becomes aware that he needs love. The problem is that the hero is still not ready to have real love. I say ‘to have’ and ‘real’ on purpose since the Lover archetype is exactly about what you can say you have, what you can hold on to, in reality.
Also note that :"The quality of the desire is important because it endows its object with the moral and aesthetic qualities of goodness and beauty, and thus influences our relations with our fellow men and the world in a decisive way. Nature is beautiful because I love it, and good is everything that my feeling regards as good. Values are chiefly created by the quality of one’s subjective reactions. This is not to deny the existence of „objective“ values altogether; only their validity depends upon the consensus of opinion. In the erotic sphere, it is abundantly evident how little the object counts, and how much the subjective reaction." Symbols of Transformation (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.5)
The wheel suggests that the real reason why the hero is not ready is emotional and it is embedded in the Shadow opposite archetype, the Caregiver, which is about the nurturer in us or the nurturer we still need.
No matter how old we are, sometimes the child in us is not ready to grow up and we still need a mother or a family, or security of some kind, or a feeling from the past where we felt secure... and this is the exact moment in the story where the hero actually needs to feel at home. Why? Because with sensual love, the hero enters into vulnerable territory where he can’t really hide. And if the hero doesn’t feel secure at home in the past where he first experiences feelings of love, it will haunt him in the present.
In its positive aspect, the Caregiver is essentially about growing up and taking responsibility for our lives, our story and our feelings, and being able to care for others. However, the archetypal wheel suggests that as soon as the lover in us (and that can also be the case) presents itself, we immediately turn into a wounded child who is still clinging onto old fears. If there were any point in the story when the hero should be observed with the psychoanalytical eye, this would be the point.
Of course, in this part of the story, a mother, like in The Birds, can show her true face, but the hero’s insecurities can also play out only psychologically, like in Sunset Boulevard, when after the New year’s eve party (Lover stage), Joe confronts Norma about being much older than he is, acting like his mother by giving him so many presents that he can’t afford. Also, a father can appear as a non-existent ghost, like in Locke (2014) or the mother in Psycho (1960).
To show these archetypal dynamics in more detail, I will once again use the classic example of Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963):
Creator: Melanie Daniels meets Mitch in a bird shop. (4.00)
Shadow Orphan: Melanie is deciding whether or not to go to Bodega Bay: ‘If I go, I can be with him, if I don’t go, I am going to end up alone… but also, if I go, I could still end up alone’… (11.00)
Explorer: Melanie goes with love birds to Bodega Bay.
Shadow Magician: The strange Bodega Bay world opens up in front of her. In the last post, I explained this part of the story as anarchy. It lasts until the seagull hits Melanie in the head. (25.00)
Lover: In my opinion, this starts as soon as they are together flirting while Mitch is cleaning her wound. We see that they are both aware of their attraction to each other. They can’t hide their intentions anymore, even though Melanie is lying about the real reason why she has come. Once again, this is not about universal love (we are all one) like in the Innocent archetype, this love is about sensual experiences that can open up and transform our heroine.
Mitch’s mother Lydia shows up at 29.00, and Mitch invites Melanie for dinner even though Lydia is openly against her.
Shadow Caregiver (34.00- 40.00) is the dinner sequence, which is all about these two women testing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Of course, Melanie is a mirror image of Lydia; otherwise, she would not be a suitable match for Mitch's partner at all. A lover and a son are fighting inside of Mitch. Lydia accuses Melanie (putting those ideas into Mitch’s head) that she is irresponsible and frivolous – she was the one who jumped in the fountain the last summer, it was in the gossip column that Lydia read. Of course, Lydia is losing control exactly because she can see the resemblance and she can feel Melanie’s real strength. Later on, in front of the house, Mitch confronts Melanie about the fountain, testing her as well: is she a grown woman or not? By becoming angry and vulnerable, Melanie shows that she can actually really care for him. And not just care for him, but rather, need him. Deep down she is craving, screaming for him to protect her.
But first, she has to protect him – in the following posts we are going to discover the structural meaning of the Positive Caregiver archetype on the wheel.
Who is your hero attracted to? Why?
In what sense does your hero need to grow up?
Once you have your answers, use them to make your conflict stronger.
Push your hero far enough so that he or she can feel the need for love – and then make a scene or scenes out of it.
Remember, your story is your structure and your structure is your