Is it possible to have multiple Hearts?
I just signed on to produce the story of a corporation celebrating their 50th anniversary. The company was started by one man and has grown to be a global powerhouse run by the founder's 4 sons. The company has already determined that all 4 sons must be included in the story, which makes perfect sense. However, would it be crazy to collectively use all 4 as the Heart (as they have all been on this journey together) or should I try my best to select one as the Heart and use the others as helpers (while also trying not to offend anyone)? The good news is I have interviewed them all before for another project, so I am already familiar with their deep culture and know about more than a few potential plot points.
Awesome! And great to hear you have a head start on your research and listening.
While it's possible to have multiple Hearts, it's more difficult to develop the same sense of connection with the viewer as you would with a single Heart. And you'll notice in shows that do have multiple Hearts, like Friends, viewers will often end up choosing their own, single, "Heart" naturally. They choose their favorite character, the person they connect to most or that's most relevant to them and their interests.
It may help to also think of this concept in your daily life. If you had one hour total to meet one new friend for coffee—vs. if you had one hour total to meet four friends for coffee—who would you feel you got to know and connect to more? The one friend, or the four friends?
The same ends up happening when you lead with multiple Hearts. A viewer's attention, emotional energy, and time to get to know these people is divided up, essentially diluting the opportunity for deeper connection. Again, though not impossible, it just makes it a bit more difficult to create the same sense of connection.
So I'd suggest trying to lead with one Heart and using others as Helpers. An example you can look at that has multiple important characters—but still a single Heart—is our film Pulse. When it comes to discussing this with your client, ultimately make sure they understand that having one Heart doesn't mean that the other brothers are absent or not important to the story. It simply will help ensure that you are able to connect the audience to the Purpose that they want as well as the company, and have a greater impact in the end.