MBTI: ISTPs and ESTPs: Action Heroes


Okay, so you’re writing a story right? This is crazy I know. But you’re writing a story and you haven’t started actually writing yet but you’re going to and this process can’t be rushed.

So you’re coming up with your story and you need an awesome main character. He’s ex-CIA (or maybe special forces, whatever, right?) but what skills will he use to save his divorced wife and kid? The new husband is already dead (terrorists!). Oh well, life goes on.

So your main guy has got this set of killing skills that he’s picked up over the years that he’ll use to defeat the terrorists, which also include, but are not limited to a wide assortment of guns, cars, and his fists.

But it’s not the terrorists that frighten him- his feelings do.

His inability to connect with people around him because of all the stuff he’s experienced in his awesome life has made it difficult to lead a normal existence. He’ll learn throughout the course of the movie, but it’s still tough y’know?

"I get married so when my wife is killed, I'll have a reason to murder again. Circle of life."

“I get married so when my wife is killed, I’ll have a reason to murder again. Circle of life.”

Now there are two types this sort of movie usually produces, the only difference is whether or not you want them to walk softly and carry a big stick…or tell a barrage of quips, puns and jokes the entire movie. So for your character’s type, can I write you down for ISTP or ESTP?

This one talks, this one doesn't. Boom. Take the night off guys, you've earned it.

This one talks, this one doesn’t. Boom. Take the night off guys, you’ve earned it.

ISTPs and ESTPs are clearly the men’s men for movies with terrorists, explosions, guns, and the ladies. Their natural taste for the more exciting things in life with Extraverted Sensing being in their two dominant functions has them leaning toward things others might find a bit too extreme. Of course, when writers create these types of characters, it’s highly doubtful any of them have MBTI in mind.

"If the audience doesn't understand Rob Schneider's preference for Ti in this, then I'm giving up on film."

“If the audience doesn’t understand Rob Schneider’s preference for Ti in this, then I’m giving up on film.”

But when you write characters that are good with their hands, quick with wit, and bad with emotions, it really narrows down the type. Especially if the situation involves something simple, like a hostage situation where the commander that’s lost control of everything screams “We’ve got no one left! WHO can we send in?!” That’s the point where the I/ESTP over the radio says “Excuse me, sir…I’m already in the building.”

Gold. Pure Gold. Hollywood, write that last part down.

OMG here come the Oscars

OMG here come the Oscars

Now, hostages are a simple situation. I didn’t say easy. The main character has to infiltrate the bad-guy ridden building, save the hostages, specifically someone of major importance (like the guy who knows the nuclear launch codes or the president’s daughter), and subdue the villain.

They may have to disobey a direct order from their superiors to make sure the job gets done right because at some desperate point, that ol’ blowhard is going to make a decision that will get everybody killed unless your guy takes things into his own hands.

Sure, Batman could do this if he were there. But there’s a reason only the craziest infest Gotham. For this, we’ll need a hero nobody saw coming. Maybe a disgraced war vet of some sort. He’s down on his luck. He’s done being the hero.

Until today.

"I knew your 55-year old rookies wouldn't be able to hack it."

“I knew your 55-year old rookies wouldn’t be able to hack it. Step aside.”

So the difference enters in terms of loudness. The ISTP, whose Ti is dominant, prefers the quieter route throughout the action. You’ll get slow spoken one-liners that make you react with an “Ohhhh….” and it shuts up the arrogant villain, or at least makes him take a mental step back. Women are more likely to hit on him than the other way around, adding to his cool factor.

How an ISTP does Business-

His unassuming nature leads many around him to believe he may be full of crap- until POW! He shows his skill in an example that makes those who doubted think twice before opening their mouths again. ISTPs are thought to save their energy until the time is right, which often leads to the assumption that they’re just lazy people. Not necessarily the case.

ISTPs are also fairly easy to write, without any offense to the type itself.

Hmm…he needs to be good with guns and fighting and stuff…but he’s quiet. A real lone wolf…I don’t want to write a lot of dialogue, he just needs to look cool and punch faces.”

"Tell Jason to bring his own suit."

“Tell Jason to bring his own suit. We’ll provide the bodies to beat.”

These examples range from the well written such as James Bond, Maximus from 2000’s Gladiator, Dirty Harry, and Blondie from The Dollars Trilogy. Eastwood has made an entire career off of playing pretty much just this type.

Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto in The Fast & the Furious movies and the movie version of Wolverine are the more poorly written versions of this type. If a character never seems to do anything except “cool” things, doesn’t ever react like a real human despite the intense level of present danger, or is a quiet drama queen that always mentions how awesome they are, you may be viewing a stereotypical movie ISTP. After the female shows her attraction to the stereotypically written ISTP, he’ll come back with a line like “I’m not really the relationship-type. People around me tend to get hurt.”

Be warned; these are the characters that may make more impressionable viewers think that life is meant to be an action movie. It is not.

"Sleeping only comes after sex and eating is for weaklings. I just work on this engine, bro."

“Sleeping only comes after sex and eating is for weaklings. I just work on this engine, bro.”

ESTPs are much like ISTPs in activity, but vary in style. While the ISTP has women cautiously approaching them, the ESTP goes in for the kill himself. His lines to the villain aren’t reactionary, but he’s the one that won’t shut up and it really pisses of the seemingly way-too-serious criminal genius. If he’s telling a joke despite how serious the situation has proven itself to be over and over again, chances are, it’s the ESTP.

I'm not sure which is the ESTP and which is their weapon.

I’m not sure which is the ESTP and which is their weapon.

This is the other type of “cool” written for movies. While the ISTP only speaks when he needs to, the ESTP has a joke for everything because, hey, he doesn’t have to take anything seriously- he’s awesome! And after he saves the day, he might try to sell you a used car so watch out.

Characters for this include the everyman that started the trend itself, John McClane, Captain Kirk, Tuco from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Aldo Raine from Inglourious Basterds.

This is also a character type that can be tough to write properly, but easy if taken the lazy route. I assure you, writing a pun after your main character offs someone in a weird way just feels natural for some reason, which clears up why death is often a joke in movies.

Poorer examples of this type in action include any of your standard 80s heroes; the oiled up muscle men that desensitized God knows how many young men in throughout the decade. Figuratively.

Schwarzenegger’s movies are fun, similarly to The Fast & the Furious but also lead many viewers to see jokes about violence while committing those acts as the only true way to be a man. If you don’t tell a man to “Stick around” after throwing a machete through him, and sticking out of the wall behind him, you must not be a man, but a queer. Right?

2 Responses to “MBTI: ISTPs and ESTPs: Action Heroes”

  1. azurestratos Says:

    Hmm… This article really sums it up nicely.

    The formula to fast big bucks film. Reminds me of this song; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOlDewpCfZQ

  2. Control of mind, control of body and finally control of the tactic.

    A number of ISTP are in reality lone wolf ESTP. Think about this.


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