16 Heroic Facts About 'Erin Brockovich' | Mental Floss
The release of the popular film Erin Brockovich. The woman who fearlessly convinced lawyer Ed Masry to challenge Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The point is, as we go on in life, most of us grow in different ways. Erin Brockovich has, at the start of the film, two distinct fears, limitations, blocks or those people who are sick and dying, who become her and Ed Masry's clients. I have observed that the two arcs always have a relationship, even if it's not obvious at first. She approaches Ed Masry, a Southern California lawyer to take up the case. Erin loses the case due to lack of real evidence and because of her vulgar of the case and the close personal relationships she has built up with her clients. Erin.
I had been advising Ed sincelong before Jim Vititoe joined. Ed Masry played by Albert Finney was one of my closest friends until the day he died. I was his advisor, strategist, and a litigation consultant.
I wore a lot of hats. In the movie, the firm of Masry and Vititoe decides to bring in another lawyer. We had a meeting before additional lawyers were brought in.
Ed Masry was the lawyer at that table, and it was his case. It really was a case of David and Goliath.Surprise Evidence - Erin Brockovich (9/10) Movie CLIP (2000) HD
We were convinced that Chromium Six was big bad news, that Chromium Six was the toxin causing illness in Hinkley, and that it was probably just the tip of the iceberg. I had already helped finance that case through friends of mine who put up money, but the well was running dry.
When we left El Toritos, we had agreed that Ed would just call that law firm and tell them where to go. In the meantime, I was tasked to go to a bank friend of mine. I got the law firm a cash injection to hold them for a couple of months. The deposition request and discovery were kicking butt. It looked as if it were going to be doomsday for the case. Then we found Girardi and Keese; and Engstrom, Lipscomb and Lack—two different law firms, but they worked together.
Finding this team is what saved the day. For sure, there would not have been a movie.
What Erin Brockovich did next | World news | The Guardian
The Hinkley case had a happy ending because of the marriage of a lawyer to a lawyer. When you get into a case like this one, they send out over a thousand depositions imagine the cost factor of a thousand depositions. You need to be ready to call their bluff.
Whatever the case is, you have to be prepared to handle whatever that big guy is going to throw at you.
The movie only covered the Hinkley case, which was successful because we married the money that was essential. Other cases followed that went after the manufacturer of the toxic chemical, Chromium Six. In Erin Brockovich's case, there's a somewhat similar way the two arcs -- 1 going from feeling exposed, powerless and incapable of protecting herself, and 2 learning to be vulnerable in love -- are linked.
We learn that Erin has a lot she tries to bravely handle -- supporting her kids, trying to keep food on the table, duking it out with a harsh world. But, in the beginning, her strength isn't true strength. It's more like a toughness that she's needed to survive. It's her defense against her harsh conditions.
Connecting Lawyers to Lawyers
It's her 'mask' -- her protective covering. So Erin is tough as a defense against her difficult existence and as a result of being dumped by her last guy. However, as she moves forward in her legal case, she helps more and more people and becomes their pillar of strength and hope. She has to grow 'big shoulders' to handle all that responsibility.
So, in the beginning of the film, she seems strong. But this isn't truly the case. Actually, she has a tough exterior to protect herself from feeling exposed, powerless and incapable of protecting herself. But, as the story progresses, she does become truly strong. Strong enough to have hundreds rely on her. People who feel susceptible and incapable of protecting themselves need defense mechanisms, like being tough and invulnerable.
This is how Erin is at the beginning. And her toughness excludes any possibility of romantic love. For romantic love could lead her to being hurt, and she can't stomach that. As she becomes genuinely strong, she no longer needs her defense mechanism of toughness and invulnerability. And so she can become vulnerable to love. You might say that her toughness, in the beginning, generally is an effective survival strategy for her, but it becomes unworkable, or a problem, in the area of men.
For she needs George to look after the kids, and, thus, she begins to rely on him -- which makes her notice his caring attitude and all his good qualities -- and suddenly her tough attitude seem inappropriate. But it's hard for her to let go of it since this has been her key survival strategy. Thus, the dual Character Arc. She goes from feeling exposed and incapable of protecting herself to strong, and, along the way, she drops her protective toughness, especially in the area of love, where it had been such a problem.
To summarize her Character Arcs: Going from feeling exposed, powerless and incapable of protecting herself to strong. Going from fear of vulnerability in love to being able to be vulnerable in love.
In some ways, it's like 'As Good as it Gets. However, there are several differences in these two characters. It's these differences which make scrutinizing the script for 'Erin Brockovich' so difficult. In 'As Good As It Gets,' it's easy to see that Melvin's belligerence is just a protective covering, for we see numerous scenes of the fear it covers up. For instance, when Cuba Gooding, Jr. Not so for Erin.
We almost never see moments when she feels exposed, susceptible and incapable of protecting herself, which would reveal what the toughness is covering up. Therefore, we primarily need to infer them from some of her tough, defensive actions.
However, there are at least three instances when we can see her feelings of being overwhelmed by life show through. The first is when she takes her kids out to eat fast food, but doesn't order food herself because she doesn't have the money. Then, alone at home, she eats out of one of the few tin cans of food in her cupboard. The second time is when she tries so desperately to get Ed Masry to hire her. If it doesn't work out, fire me But don't make me beg.
It's an emotional scene when she says to George: I'm not up for it. Susannah Grant brings our attention to it with the next piece of prose in the script. It comes right after the above piece of dialogue. And for the first time in so long, she feels like something other than a failure. While the three moments listed above do show Erin's inner feelings of being exposed and accosted by life, three moments aren't a lot, and these ones are pretty fleeting.
That's what initially makes Erin's case a bit harder to figure out than, for instance, what's beneath Melvin's belligerence in 'As Good As It Gets. When he drops the fears, he doesn't need the belligerence. Erin, analogously, takes out her protective toughness against a number of people -- toward Ed Masry, her boss, played by Albert Finney, toward the other women in the office and toward George. But she can get away with it against Ed and the women in the office. She can't against George, for 1 in his own gentle way, he doesn't back down, and 2 she desperately needs him to take care of her kids, so she can't afford to be so harsh.
Thus, it's in the area of George -- in the area of love -- that we see the most evidence of her defensive toughness melting as she gradually becomes strong. For this is the area where her toughness gets in the way the most and has to give.
To be exact, though, we have a character arc her going from feeling exposed and powerless to strongand we see her defensive toughness melt in the area where it was causing the most problems -- with the man who loves her and whom she needs. Let's say you wanted to use this technique in your writing. How would you do it? You'd start by giving your character a fear, limitation, block or wound. For instance, let's say your character is a man named Alex. And let's say he feels like a nobody.
You'd either show some scenes of Alex feeling this way the 'As Good As It Gets' approachor you'd just hint that this is how he feels beneath the surface the 'Erin Brockovich' approach. Then you'd show how Alex covers this feeling up when dealing with the world.
Using the 'As Good As It Gets' approach, he might have a generalized method for covering up his feeling of being a nobody.
For instance, maybe he tries to dominate and control people in every situation he gets into, so they're forced to treat him with respect. Again, using the 'As Good As It Gets' approach, as the script progresses -- and Alex comes to feel that he's not a nobody but rather somebody with genuine worth, value and importance in his own and others' eyes -- he'd no longer have to dominate and control people.
However, if we were to go with the 'Erin Brockovich' approach, Alex might still try to dominate people, but maybe we'd 'focus' this -- so that we especially see evidence of this in one area of his life where his defensive 'mask' of dominating people is causing the most serious problem -- toward his two teenage children just like Erin's toughness was unworkable with George because she needs him and eventually loves him.
Continuing with the 'Erin Brockovich' approach, as the script progresses -- and Alex comes to feel that he's not a nobody but rather has genuine worth, value and importance in his own and others' eyes -- he no longer needs to dominate and control his children, but can instead appreciate them and love them.
What Erin Brockovich did next
If you wanted to be very artful, you could even go one step further. Perhaps, at the start of the script, his domination and control of his kids is about to cause history to repeat itself. Having a plot somehow loop around back on itself in an interesting way like this is one of a long list of 'plot deepening' techniques -- i.
That is, maybe Alex was well on the way to giving his teenage kids the same feeling of lack of worth that he has always had. And now, at the end, when Alex can appreciate them instead of dominate them, that near catastrophic cycle is broken, and he just manages to rescue one of the kids from a serious lack of self worth that comes very close to causing a tragedy. For instance, perhaps his teenage kid is involved in some dangerous, reckless, self-destructive action like night-time street racing which compensates for his lack of self worth because it gives him esteem among his peers and almost gets killed -- but for his father's last-minute, caring intervention.
I hope this article has shed some light on the subject of dual character arcs or apparent dual character arcs. If you've perhaps found this material difficult to assimilate, you're not alone.
It took a lot of examination on my part to figure out what was going on in both 'As Good As It Gets' and 'Erin Brockovich' and necessitated several rewrites of this article to try and present the techniques as clearly as I could. This material falls, without doubt, into the area of advanced screenwriting techniques. Therefore, now that you've been through the article once, if you still feel like you don't fully grasp the ideas and techniques explained here, you may want to consider going back to the beginning and reading it through again, now that you know the general direction of the piece.