Would anyone like to discuss Birdemic by James Nguyen? I was curious what it would look like if structured by a big studio. If you stick as closely to James’ inspiration, how would the film play out?
Here’s my guess. The easiest were the Domains. The birds are attacking. That’s an Activity. This puts Rod and Natalie’s relationship (presumably the RS) in Manipulation/Psychology. That’s the typical domain for romantic situations. As much as I wanted to put the OS Concern in Doing (because the birds are attacking and the humans are defending themselves), it should make the Cost be one of the upper right quads as well. That doesn’t jibe. In my eyes, the Cost is clearly Obtaining (expressed as its opposite: Loss) because Rod and Natalie constantly come across gruesome victims of the bird attacks. The lower left quad in terms of Concerns also seems appealing for the sake of the Dividend. I want the Dividend to be Subconscious because out of this mess, at least Rod and Natalie gain the companionship in each other that matters to them.
One huge gap in this movie as filmed is lack of Rod or Natalie’s change. One of them must change under the other’s steadfast struggle. Is Rod or Natalie the Situation character? We get a little glimpse of Rod’s problem before the Objective Story kicks in. His best friend advises him to go and keep pursuing Natalie. Of course, the best friend is characterized as sex hungry, but I think the implied point is that he’s coaxing Rod to go further with Natalie. If Rod is a change character, then Dramatica insists he must share his problem element with that of the Objective Story. So, I would make Avoid be the problem in both. You can see some of it in the OS throughline with the birds. Several times, Rod and Natalie run from the birds. They’re escaping rather than chasing the birds.
Natalie’s beauty certainly impacts on Rod. She’s becoming a high class model (a new gig with Victoria’s Secret), so her Future concern plays heavy on Rod. This would put Rod in the Fixed Attitude domain. That also makes him a Be-er and gives us a feeling of Start for him. We are waiting for him to Start pursuing Natalie further or Start pursuing his personal problem.
So, pulling out Dramatica, I input the following parameters and reduced it down to 36 possible storyforms:
OS Domain: Activity
Consequence: Changing One’s Nature (I guess that’s death)
Cost: The Future (again, death, or the future loss of the town)
Dividends: Innermost Desires (aha! Yes! That’s what I wanted)
The signposts for the Objective Story seemed to folllow the film. Initially, there was a period of Learning when Rod watched television news about climate change. Then came Doing and Obtaining. I suppose Understanding would be the final quarter of the film when Rod and Natalie learn global warming has been what’s causing the birds to attack.