Any simple examples of PRCO?

Does anyone have any simple examples of PRCO? I don’t understand what resistance and current are supposed to do… simply make an inequity worse or do characters resist whatever happens in P? What does P meeting R mean? Setting up an inequity § and solving it (O?) seem straight forward. What do you do with R in arcs where things start low but get progressively better (is that even allowed or does that lack conflict?)?

I looked at some articles and threads that cautioned about going too deep, so why is PRCO brought up at all if it complicates what’s already complicated? Is it important? Is it one of those things present at the Signpost level in addition to scenes?

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We kind of went over an example of this with Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Neal spends the whole first act suppressing his emotions and trying to play off everything. He has this “just forget it” attitude. This is bottling up sets up the potential.

In the second act, Neal can’t suppress things anymore and he starts blowing up and snapping at people and generally losing his sh*t. In this case, the potential is amplified by Preconscious.

In the third act, that clash of Memory and Preconcious allows Neal to start opening up and actually sharing his feelings. His fears about spending too much time away from home and expressing his love for his wife.

Finally, after all of that, we get to the outcome. By exhausting all of his pent up emotions, Neal reaches a place where he can be more considerate of others. This allows him to realize the truth about Del and accept him into his family.

Does that help?


Another simple example of PRCO is the Pixar short film Piper.

"The Potential for conflict begins with the piper’s Inaction. She wants to wait on the shore and let mama bring her food.

The Resistance to that Potential happens when the mama bird forces the baby piper out into the open. The baby piper’s Reaction to the crashing waves finds her panicking and running for her life, only to end up where she started—freezing and still hungry.

The Conflict comes as she ventures out in the open and meets a teeny-tiny little hermit crab. Observing these little guys and how they survive the onslaught, the piper learns to bury herself in the sand as a means of Protection. The waves rush over her, and with a gentle tap, the piper opens her eyes to see her world in a brand new light.

The Outcome finds the little piper rushing to and fro, bouncing between the adults as she turns up one food source after the other. Having Changed her resolve, the piper confidently and happily engages in Proaction to satisfy both her hunger and the hunger of others."


Isn’t that just half a conflict, with the Resistance of mama bird pushing out the baby making it a complete conflict?

That sounds more like the process of solving a conflict than “ok, here’s a conflict” so why is it called “Conflict” or am I missing something?
I thought every signpost had to be illustrated as it’s own inequity/conflict. Or do the signposts just follow PRCO-- an arc of having and solving a problem?

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I think the C in PRCO is actually Current not Conflict.

I haven’t seen Piper, so take everything I’m saying with a huge grain of salt. Going off of what I’ve read about Piper on a few different threads…

  • Inaction - Piper is super content waiting around and being fed. Mom’s refusal to bring Piper food sets up the Potential.

  • Reaction - Piper’s efforts to get food are made worse by it’s reactions to the world. Everything is scary and it’s completely overwhelming. Being on the defensive only serves to almost get Piper drowned.

  • Protection - Having exhausted Inaction and Reaction, Piper now gets to a place where it sees the need to Protect itself. The idea to learn protection flows out of the clash of it’s mother’s inaction and it’s fearful flailing.

  • Proaction - Now that Piper has mastered protection, it is not longer terrified of the world. Piper, who was once defenseless and lazy, can now be proactive and feed itself.

The dramatic circuit is complete. Inaction has become Proaction.

ETA this quote from Jim explaining Current in PRCO

The Current of a dramatic unit is the interaction between Potential and Resistance, the escalation or descalation of dramatic conflict as seen by the Author.