Friday, July 25, 2014

Film Writes: Character Motivations: Fear vs. Love (Part II)

Part I in this two-post series started with two questions:

What motivates your characters to act?

Do all (or most) of your characters (not just your primary ones) have desires that motivate them to action?

Fear is a common motivator. This post looks at another: love.

Love as a Motivator

In the Disney movie Frozen, Elsa and Hans act out of fear, with largely disastrous consequences. On the other hand, Anna and Kristoff act out of love.

Anna, kept in the dark most of her life about her sister Elsa’s magical powers, is justifiably hurt by Elsa’s indifference toward her. However, when Elsa loses control and runs away, Anna doesn't hesitate to go after her.

Love motivates Anna to put herself in harm’s way for Elsa, to reassure Elsa that they’ll work together to solve the problems, and even to protect Elsa from a death blow.

Kristoff’s initial motivation may be personal (his ice business), but by the mid-point of the movie, he’s acting out of attraction to and even love for Anna. Attacked by wolves, he sacrifices his sleigh to save them. He’s never far from Anna as she climbs a cliff face (falling off into his arms) and meets her sister Elsa (who freezes Anna’s heart).

His greatest act of love is when he races Anna back to Arendelle so she can get a life-saving kiss from her true love, and then when he returns to the kingdom when her life is endangered.


Love is an equally powerful motivator for character actions.


Are any of your characters motivated by love? What actions do they take that are motivated by love? Are there other desires that could motivate your characters to create more conflict?

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