Does the MC have to witness an IC SP to be influenced?

So I started trying to get theoretical in another post and basically speculated that the IC could act within an IC scene without the MC player present, influence other characters, and still fulfill the role of the you perspective. The idea was that this should work because the Storymind that’s holding the entire story together is still viewing this throughline even if the MC player is not. I thought maybe it could work structurally, and was even sure I could think of some examples where the IC is being an IC prior to meeting or having any connection to the MC.

So my questions are:

  1. Can anyone think of a movie where the IC is influencing people in an IC SP 1 without the MC being in any way connected to the events of that SP, whether being there to witness or hearing about the events through the news or another character or whatever? Because though I thought I could do it, I cannot. I suspect most or all of the movies that I thought might have worked this way were just showing the MC player in an OS scene followed by an IC player in an OS scene.
  2. Does this idea really hold any water? Can the IC influence the Storymind without the MC player around to see it? This is not the same as the MC being influenced by the IC even though the IC is not present. This would seem to require that the Storymind and the audience carry that influence of the IC over to the MC player without the connecting storytelling, a feat that seems increasingly more difficult and unlikely.
1 Like

On your question 1, The Fugitive seems to come close, but there may be some slight influence on Dr. Kimble in IC SP1:

  • Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) doesn’t show up until after the First Act Turn (train-bus crash and escape)! This is unusual but still allowed because his IC SP1 happens before any SP2s. Now, this basically fits what you were asking in question 1 – as I recall, Gerard just struts around and influences the other agents/cops about the right way to think to catch a fugitive. But I think this indirectly influences Dr. Kimble because soon after that they show that Kimble’s pursuit is close, which could be attributed to Gerard’s ways of thinking.
    • This would be interesting to research further though. Since it’s such a tiny influence at that point, does it mean that it’s okay for an IC signpost to only influence the MC later on? Or is there some other psychology “I don’t care” perspective shown earlier in the film (judge, cops)?

On question 2, I believe the IC has to influence the MC, at least once per act (IC signposts). But I’m not totally sure on this. Maybe it’s okay if it’s just something that the IC is dealing with at that time, which in a later act comes to influence the MC. (?)

One thing I am sure on, the IC can demonstrate his perspective just by espousing it (in front of other characters, or heck even with a soliloquy) in a scene. It would still count as the you perspective and the Audience would get a sense that this person has the ability to impact the MC.

Does the First Act Turn in this case refer to the 2nd story driver? If so that might solve my story problem – my current outline has the MC and IC meeting as part of (at the end of) the 2nd story driver.

Yes, First Act Turn = 2nd Story Driver (confusing terms sorry)

I asked a question about this a while ago and expert Mike Wollaeger implied that it’s probably okay to have a signpost sort of drag behind until after the relevant driver. (though perhaps not optimal)

Also in this thread there was some disagreement about whether drivers are more focused on the OS or apply to the entire story:

My take is it’s probably okay for your IC signpost 1 to drag a bit. Especially if it occurs along WITH the 2nd story driver (even if it’s towards the end of that event), you may not have anything to worry about.

1 Like

Okay this is helpful. Especially in light of your suggestion that I “go with the flow” for this draft anyway. Thanks.

1 Like

Do you mean just not in the person’s life actively?

To answer this question best, I think the IC throughline should be thought of as a perspective – a position in an argument – rather than a ‘person’ or character. So long as the position is expressed in some way, the player (or players) representing IC need not be present.

This reminds me of a question I used to get a lot about whether something like “Nature” could be the IC. My standard answer is that it can be, but it’s difficult to show Nature express its side of the argument. That said, if you change the storytelling style to animation, it suddenly becomes easy to see how you could represent Nature as an IC. It would remain a challenge, but more surmountable. One can use spokespersons as stand-ins for Nature, though audience’s may attribute the IC position to the stand-ins rather than Nature.


@chuntley - but does the MC player have to be present at that point?

For example, let’s say we have a IC Signpost 1 of Memory. “The girl arrives at the farm, reminding everyone of the tyranny of their neighbor.”

Meanwhile though, the MC is still in another location, doing stuff related to his MC throughline. He only arrives at the farm at the beginning of Signpost 2, at which point he meets the girl. Maybe the “reminding” piece has some influence on him at that point, or maybe not. Could that work? Or does there need to be a direct IC/MC “meeting” (even with an IC stand-in) in the first Act?

So, is there a swap trade off when the MC shows up, since we are seeing it through the eyes of the IC at first? Would that make that first ch the Mc to start?

1 Like

Well, it’s not supposed to be – but there are scenes written from the "IC"s point of view. I think that counts as storytelling rather than structure …

I’m thinking Old Yeller, White Fang, and Call of the Wild all treat Nature as the IC. Speculatively, perhaps all naturalism stories treat Nature as the IC.

It seems conceivable that the girl’s actions create other ICs (sub-ICs, if you will) of other characters. They’ve been influenced by her comments/behavior and these sub-ICs then influence the MC, even without her physical presence.

1 Like

No. That said, it’s simpler when you have them together, but so long as the audience understands the threads of the story/argument, the story elements can be woven loosely or tightly, your choice.