Holistic questions

  1. Does anybody notice any difference in how a movie feels when the MC is Holistic versus when they are Linear?
  2. Are there movies that anybody thinks of as getting solved Holistically? (My vote here might be The Station Agent because I know that the Outcome>Success comes from the trio finding their balance, but I haven’t seen that movie since we analyzed it, so I won’t stick my stake in the ground too deep.)

Nothing is ever “solved” holistically…you’ll find that most Holistic narratives don’t even take the Outcome into consideration…its more about the vibe and direction of the flow through the narrative.

  1. Could Mrs. Erlynne in A Good Woman (2006) be an example of a Holistic problem solver? She approaches life intuitively, “I see an opportunity and I take it.” She also makes her way in the world through finding a balance between coming and going in her relationships. She knows when to arrive, and when to leave the same way she came, and in this she is steadfast until the end.

I know things aren’t solved the same way, but they are brought into balance… how does one know when they’re in balance if Outcome isn’t the metric?

Does a Holistic MC dictate the feel of the entire piece? Would an MC who is a Taoist Monk dictate the feel of a story that was about storming a castle with a binary win/lose outcome?

I’m trying to consider if it’s even worth entertaining a Holistic MC but want to know what lies ahead. (I’ve only done it once, and the male director couldn’t make heads or tails of the story.)

I don’t know. This isn’t really what I’m asking. I don’t need examples of Holistic characters unless they’re attached to some kind of example of feel in a story.

Would that be found in comedy teams? The whole film/scene is ALL about their gives and takes.

As for feel, both A Good Woman and the Station Agent have a “living life” sort of feel, rather than a quest feel.

If they were linear, then the steps the MC would need to take would be obvious. Or at least the next step. For example steps such as the following:

  1. Determine my meaning in life by having important conversations with insightful people.
  2. Make list of important people.
  3. Invite them to dinner.
  4. Read book and compile questions.
  5. Meet them and ask questions.

Instead, holistic MCs have a “making a recipe on the fly” feeling. Such as, “a little of this, a bit of that, and fold in this other thing.” The are going through life adding as they go.

Or, it’s like they are gathering flowers.

I think of Da Vinci Code as the ultimate linear. Cross of tasks until you are done.

The holistic MC wings it, stops at the sandwich truck just because he feels like it–and makes a friend (The Station Agent). Or impulsively follows her heart to protect someone important to her (A Good Woman).

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I was thinking about this recently after watching A Discovery of Witches (tv series, 1st season is adaptation of book 1) with my wife.

As a linear thinker, I tend to notice that a Holistic MC comes across as weird, either in a wacky/cool way, or slightly annoying.

If I did deeper into that feeling, it’s that the MC seems to act strangely, especially when it comes to responding to problems (whether personal or otherwise). A whole bunch of scary stuff just happened and I might be in danger? – how about I go for a run down a dark street at night? Life spiraling out of control? – how about I’ll fall head over heels in love? That kind of thing.

Oh, and often it seems like the MC is not doing anything to solve their problems at all. I think this might be me not seeing the “balancing” as a way to solve problems.

I only know the book. And yes, you’re right, but largely this has to do with the Protagonist and not the MC. In theory, the problems in the OS of The Da Vinci Code could run alongside a Holistic MC too. The question I have is… how much different would that movie feel to the viewer?

Any particular episode pop out? Or should I just start with the pilot?

Would what be found in comedy teams?

‘living life sort of feel’, ‘on the fly’, ‘wacky’, ‘slightly annoying’ ‘scary stuff just happened’ ‘danger?’ ‘life spiraling out of control’ ‘not doing anything to solve their problems’ …

For some reason all this reminds me of Laurel and Hardy and some other comic teams.

Sorry I can’t answer your specific questions without more thought, but it made me wonder how choosing holistic impacts the rest of the story form ‘choices’. If choosing a beer means the MC is either mind or psychology what does choosing holistic determine…?

Yeah, start with the first episode. You’ll probably see what I mean within a couple episodes. We watched it with a free “Shudder” trial which was like an add-on to Amazon Prime Video.

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The best thing to do with this is just play with the software.

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I only know the book. And yes, you’re right, but largely this has to do with the Protagonist and not the MC. In theory, the problems in the OS of The Da Vinci Code could run alongside a Holistic MC too. The question I have is… how much different would that movie feel to the viewer?

How about this? The difference to the viewer is between experiencing the first leg of a roller coaster as it clicks clicks clicks toward the peak and the experience of riding a carousel.

When I experience a story with a holistic MC, I’m not sure what the next step is in their plan, or even if they have a plan.

For Da Vinci Code, maybe it could look like this:

MC is trying to save the world. On his way to find a clue, he notices his partner is having a difficult time because her father was murdered. So he stops the car to buy her flowers. Oh wait, the flower man is wearing the symbol that he needs. He cracked the code by caring holistically about his team which led him to serendipitously figure everything out.

His next linear OS step is to apprehend the criminals. But wait–he and his team are wrestling with faith because of the way religion is being abused. So he goes for a long walk at night alone. “How can I believe in anything?” he asks himself. “Will my teammate’s lives be forever changed by this? What should I do? What should I think?” While he is trying to bring himself back in balance, he is jumped by the bad guys. Thanks to his quick thinking he manages to leave a bread crumb trail for his team to follow him to their lair. Bad guys apprehended because his holistic desire to be internally balanced led the bad guys to him.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read the book or seen the movie. So this re-imagining may not actually fit into the real Da Vinci Code, but you get the idea. :grinning:

A holistic MC looks like they are getting distracted from the main, linear goal. But they actually have other goals along with the main one. Like caring for people or themselves. These lead them into serendipituous circumstances where they use their intuition to get out of it/solve it.

The experience of watching this can either seem like a bunch of pointless side-quests (because they keep getting off the linear path), or surprising and intuitive, or deeply touching. All depending on the story or the viewer’s expectations, I suppose.

Feel free to question all of this. I’m enjoying the challenge to think it through and try to put it into words.

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This is very close to what I would say.

I have no one-size-fits-all answer that works for the difference between all Holistic and Linear stories, but as I think back on my experience of them, what comes to the surface is the feeling that in Linear stories, people are addressing issues, dealing with issues, working on issues, what have you, whereas Holistic stories seem to feel more like people are waiting things out, letting things happen, seeing where things go.

But of course that’s not what’s actually happening, per se. Consider Mikes example:

Going for a run is, of course, doing something about the issue. It’s just not doing something about it directly. As a very linear minded person, my assumption is that running down a dark street will not prevent scary stuff from happening-which i think is probably what I mean when I speak of dealing with the problem directly-but is a way of maybe taking charge of when something scary happens, or a way of trying to muster courage or bravery for when something scary happens. But either of those things-taking charge of the timing or mustering courage-both still feel like waiting it out or letting it happen.

The linear side of that example seems like it would be more like A scary thing happened in the house. Time to burn the house down and move to another state. Or, Something scary happened. Time to go kill that scary thing so it can never scare me again. Both of those feel geared toward making sure the conflict is never felt again.

Within the theory, I figure this is a result of Linear stories having goals and holistic stories having direction.

As for whether a holistic MC dictates the feel of the whole story, the Storymind is a single mind. So does setting the MC to Holistic shade the entire story with a Holistic view, or does it only shade the first person perspective with it and allow other perspectives to be either?

I suppose a deeper knowledge of how the cogs in the story engine work together would answer that definitively but I’ve seen Dramatica elite sway both ways on it—though maybe they’ve come to agreement since some of those articles were written?

Basically, the question as I’ve always encountered it has been something like “does a linear MC mean a holistic IC”, or some form of that. One thought was that Dramatica is all about choosing between particles and waves, linear vs holistic, so yes a linear mc forces a holistic IC. The other line of thought has been that the story engine is a single mind so one PSS on the MC doesn’t necessarily force the other on the IC because both will be seen through the same lens, the same mind. That is, if the MC is holistic the storymind is viewing even a linear IC through a lens of holism (or vice versa).

So I think I’ve decided that I think the answer is something like neither are right, but the correct answer gives both views. Sort of like how a slinky gives a view of both a circle and a wave or how light gives a view of both particle and wave. Meaning that a holistic MC CAN mean a linear IC. But a holistic MC can ALSO mean a holistic IC. OR it can mean a linear IC as seen by a holistic…so a linear IC, but things seem out of order, I guess?

Whatever the answer, I assume that everything in the Storyform that changes when you move Linear to Holistic will be a part of what places that holistic feel on the story, even the linear parts. Which means that even if written as a “linear” OS or IC, the feel will still be affected by the holistic MC. That feel may come from the PSR rather than the Storyform, though? Or maybe from parts of the Storyform that Dramatica doesn’t actually present?

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This would have to be the Protagonist, no?

Right, I’m looking at an example where the protagonist is also the MC is also holistic.

Maybe some of the films on the Dramatica.com analysis site might fit? https://dramatica.com/analysis/filtered/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6ImFuYWx5c2lzXC9maWx0ZXJlZCIsInNlYXJjaDptYy1tZW50YWwtc2V4IjoiRmVtYWxlIn0

Okay, this makes sense. I know you promised yourself you’d be more active this year and I heartily encourage that. There is no better way to learn. But, since we don’t know where your level of understanding of the theory is, it’s best to be very tight with your terminology.

Truthfully, I haven’t read the book since it dominated the beaches that one summer, and it was fantastic, but I remember nothing. It sounds like what you are describing is happenstance—holistic thinking must be more than that, no? (This is me spitballing.)

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This is a great way to frame the question and analysis!

Incidentally, I was talking to a showrunner the other day who is having this very argument with his development team. They want the MC (a woman) to do something very holistic and he can’t understand why it makes any sense at all. The dev. team (all women) is assuring him that their advice is the way to go because they are going to be trying to sell to the studio, who is also all women.

I honestly don’t know if he’s being presented with notes to make the MC Holistic or if they’re trying to force a romance into the pilot episode—a totally different issue—but it was very interesting to hear his take on it as he vented.

Prish, I don’t need a link to films. I’m asking about people’s experiences with watching films with Holistic Main Characters, and hopefully, they’ve thought about it.

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I was just thinking about one of my favourite books turned movie ‘Chocolat’. I think of this as being solved holistically, in that it is kind of a battle for the hearts and minds of the townspeople and it feels as if Viane is there to balance the overwhelming influence of the curate guy, balancing the repression, and denial of lent with the pleasure and hedonism of chocolate. It isnt a cause and effect problem and solution but a rebalancing of the influences on the townspeople. Eventually the deficit in the curate guy’s life flips over into surplus and he gorges on the chocolate.
I dont know the story form but that feels like a holistic ‘solution’ (or rather rebalancing of forces) to me.

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