A brief example of Signpost 2 of The Devil Wears Prada (always my go-to, until the Users Group analyse Paddington 2 and then you’re gonna have six months of marmalade PSRs). It’s late and I’m doing this from memory so it may not be totally accurate, but I think they pretty much line up with the PSR — and each one is a scene (or mini-sequence) of its own.
Context: Andy spent signpost one being exhausted, mocked and basically scolded by everyone because she did not fit in. After a brief pity party with Nigel, Andy is told to wake up and make an effort. Inspired by his words, Andy convinces him to give her a make-over. Then:
Value while Being: now wearing expensive designer clothing and ‘drinking the Kool Aid’ of the office, Andy finally begins to impress Miranda and her coworkers, but her new pro-Runway attitude and willingness to drop everything at a moment’s notice for Miranda doesn’t sit well with her boyfriend and friends (note: all of whom are awful people) outside of the office – who act like total a–holes while she tries to deal with an emergency.
Confidence that leads to Worry while Being: while James Holt disappoints Miranda with his ‘catastrophic’ designs, Andy is able to soften the blow by doing the impossible and anticipating exactly what she wants in advance — inspiring enough confidence for Miranda to trust Andy with delivering the book to her house (a job Emily was doing until Andy could prove herself as ‘not a total psycho’). But, confused by Emily’s instructions (be invisible and don’t talk to anyone; place the book on the table in the foyer and leave), an anxious Andy breaks every rule: listening to the false and misleading advice from Miranda’s twins that leads her upstairs with the book, only to get caught in the act by a horrified Miranda — undoing all that hard-earned trust in one fell swoop.
Worth while Being: desperate to make it up to Miranda, Andy prepares to grovel for her job, but is instead offered one last chance to prove that she is worthy of being Miranda’s assistant: get the unpublished Harry Potter manuscript that her twins so desperately want by 3pm, or ‘don’t even bother coming back’ — another impossible task that Andy takes on enthusiastically, and somehow manages to accomplish in time (and in impressive style: “I made two copies… and had them covered, reset and bound so that they wouldn’t look like manuscripts.”). Miranda reluctantly accepts Andy’s success, reaffirming Andy in the job ‘a million girls would kill for’.
Each PSR beat is basically causing problems within the bigger context of ‘living up to high expectations’ (incidentally, this is also the goal of the movie). It also makes for a nice three-act feel: Andy finally starts to fit in at work; Andy’s preparedness earns Miranda’s trust, but her recklessness almost costs her the job; Andy proves her worth by achieving the impossible and re-secures her place as Miranda’s assistant.