Well, the good news is that you haven't entered a strange world in which everyone wants to argue for their own interpretation of story. However that sense of frustration might be an indicator that we're reaching the end of the utility of going back and forth on it.
So listen, for the good of the collective, I'm not going to keep butting heads over interpretation (or as you're putting it, my "feelings" versus your rock solid and unimpeachable objective assessment of reality). Instead I'm just going to focus on questions or identifying where you're presenting something as self-evident where I'm practically begging you to break that self-evident truth down to steps we can both observe.
Okay, so does that mean that if there's one character in the story – or alternately one key character such as the antagonist – for whom the inequity isn't described by the chosen domain that we must exclude that domain from our possible options in identifying the story form? Is a domain choice that "more or less" identifies the inequity a better choice than one that describes it better for most of the characters but not for one?
I've no doubt I've said the former, but not the latter.
Look, you keep countering my – self-admittedly likely wrong – assessments of story points with this constant refrain that I'm trying to maintain my "feelings" about a story form rather than learning what it is. Let me fully disabuse you of that notion: I write novels for a living. That's it. I only get more successful by writing better books and the day my books get worse I'm in trouble. So when I spend a lot of time on Dramatica – or spend a lot of time going back and forth here – it's not to stroke my ego or convince myself I'm right despite obvious facts. It's in the hope that doing so will give me a greater understanding of Dramatica's particular model of story. I'm not trying to become an expert nor an acolyte and certainly not a skeptic. None of those things do me the least bit of good. I'm just trying to figure out why what I'm seeing is different from what you're seeing.
The problem we're having is that you appear to think that what you're seeing is so obvious that only someone who was either too lazy to read it or too self-delusional to understand it could possibly disagree.
So is the first scene of a movie always the one that defines the initial story driver? Or just in most cases? Or is there a different way to identify the scene that represents the initial story driver?
This is a good illustration of a question I feel like I keep asking: is the domain of a throughline defined by what types of story events take place within it? In other words, if we're mostly seeing everybody punching, kicking and shooting, do we then infer – regardless of other considerations – that the OS domain is in Activities?
I ask because you wrote that "The conflict that arises from the inequity consists of problematic Activities. That "consists" implies that its the type of conflict we see on the screen that tells us the domain, rather than the source of that conflict.
This is a good point, and I shouldn't have queried the Moonlight one because it's been years since I've seen it and I haven't watched the entire video analysis of it. My bad.
Man, I've invested a lot of time reading Dramatica analyses, using the filters to search for particular ones, comparing and contrasting them to try to see the parallels. I'll absolutely cop to having failed to make the cognitive leap that would enable me to define the distinctions, but it ain't for lack of trying.
Great. Let's not do that. But instead of dropping off at your diagnosis of what's wrong inside my head, it would be supremely helpful if you added a comma followed by "because what puts a situation in the Present isn't the notion of 'right now' but rather X'
Again, could you enlighten me with something more than the declaration? If suppressing one's innate heroic responses isn't part of Impulsive Responses but rather of Doing, how does one reach that distinction?
The Dramatica dictionary tells me that Doing is "the process of being physically active"
The Dramatica dictionary then tells me that "When a story's problem revolves around the unsuitability of someone's essential nature to a given situation or environment, the central issue is Impulsive Responses"
Can you see why a reasonable person might (however incorrectly) think that the central issue in Civil War revolves around the unsuitability of the Avengers' essential nature to the situation or environment?
What I'm looking for here is simply an operational means of excluding the above – not just a declaration that it's obviously wrong, because I swear to you, it's not obviously wrong. It might be wrong, but I need a means of identifying that.
I can imagine that must be frustrating, so I apologize. I absolutely read every word and I'd have no trouble taking it at face value. But you should know that I can't find anything within the Dramatica books, dictionary, or software that indicates that Impulsive Responses means trying to go from panic and anxiety to calm or the reverse.
I'm hoping you can empathize with the frustration of being given these pretty definitive declarations but then not being how those declarations match up with the Dramatica terminology as given in the book and the software. That's not coming from me failing to read what you're saying or failing to consult the terminology – it's coming from me doing both and not seeing the connection between the two.
I really don't. What I'm trying to say is that the utility of Dramatica begins to dissolve if we reach the point where we insist that a concept like "main character" becomes the exact opposite of what both the writer and the audience understand. I know that what writers create is not always what they intend and I know that audience appreciation is different from structure. However when they're literally thrown on their head – when the model applies a definition of main character that's the opposite of what everything other than the model indicates it is, then the model risks losing its utility.
Fortunately, I don't think that's the situation here. So let's dive one last time into Cap, and I'll try to use examples from the analyses to explain why I'm not understanding the principle you're espousing with regards to the MC:
In Serenity Mal is identified as the Main Character, but at key points throughout the story he knows things we do not such as his plan to escape the operative early on and, in fact, his means of defeating him in the climax of the movie. To apply this to your turn of phrase: "I" do not know everything that "I" know.
In The Dark Knight Bruce/Batman is identified in the analysis as the Main Character, but he knows tons of things we don't, which only get revealed to us later. The biggest example of this is all through the movie he's been planning to use cell phones to spy on Gotham as a means to find the Joker and he's never revealed it to us.
In The Contender Layne Hansen is identified in the analysis as the Main Character. All through the story, she knows the single most important fact that everyone is arguing about: she's not the woman having sex in the picture that's being used to destroy her confirmation to be Vice President. It's such a key point that in the last scene, the president (Jeff Bridges) asks why she didn't tell everyone given that it would have avoided all these problems. She replies that she withheld that fact on principle.
In all three of those cases, the main character (and again, these are from the Dramatica analyses) is someone who knows something – something crucial to the story – that the audience doesn't know. "I" know something "I" don't know.
If you can see a distinction between those three examples and the one you give of Cap – who knows something that functionally has zero impact on the overall story (do you think the government would be less or more inclined to try to capture Winter Soldier if they knew – as they probably do anyway – that he killed Stark's parents? No. Even Tony wasn't affected by that lack of knowledge since he didn't know and yet still did everything in his power to capture him) – then tell me what it is. But please do me the courtesy of not assuming I'm either being lazy or self-delusional here. I'm applying basic logic to the principle you've put forward and it's entirely reasonable that I can't see how it tests as valid in all cases.
You don't need to boot me – you can just tell me to back off. I derive no benefit to my career and no satisfaction to myself whatsoever from the process of arguing – all of this is in an effort to reach clarity. If it looks like we're not going to reach that clarity, then it's time to stop.
I wouldn't want that either. I've tried to be clear throughout that I'm not an expert on Dramatica, that you are an expert on Dramatica, and if it's just down to picking one of two positions on Captain America: Civil War then the odds are extremely high that yours is correct and mine is wrong. What I'm trying to get to is a coherent explanation of why that would be the case, in a way that affords a shared understanding of the means to arrive at that determination.
But like I said, say the word and I'll back off. No hard feelings on my end, no, "well, I guess Dramatica isn't for me" – just a retreat from this particular debate in favour of leaving space for new topics that might be more illuminating.