Questions about The Social Network storyform: MC Approach

I have a few concerns, but I’ll start with “The Social Network”.

In this movie the main character, Mark Zuckerberg, is described on Dramatica’s website as a “Change/Be-er/Female Mental Sex” character, and that the “Influence character” is Eduardo. I agree that Eduardo is one of the Influence characters, but not until the end of the film, the main influence character I feel is Erica Albright, his ex-girlfriend; and later on Edwardo, his friend, and Marylin, one of his lawyers become influence characters as well. Using Dramatica theory though, I feel that Mark Zuckerberg is a “Steadfast” character, and a do-er, and he is “Male Mental Sexed”.

When the film starts out Mark has a Hell-bent “desire” for status/power, and to be “likeable”, which is a hint to his ultimate “need” that Erica tries to get him to acknowledge. Mark has a void inside himself, which he thinks can be filled by achieving an external goal. Mark ultimately wants to be loved/“likeable”, and thinks if he achieves power and status, he will achieve his goal; so he shamelessly purses trying to come up with an idea that will get him it, which becomes his pursuit of creating Facebook, making him a “do-er”. Erica’s placement in the story is essential to Mark’s overall character arc drive, making her the most essential influence character. The first scene she is in, she initiates Mark’s feelings/the inciting incident, she then shows up again at the mid-point to fuel Mark’s feelings one last time to push him all the way to the end of his story.

Throughout the film Mark displays characteristics that suggest he is a covert narcissist. He has a low sense of self, which shows in a fragile ego which makes him feel that he needs to constantly defend himself. He views situations/problems/conflict with a very binary logic: I’m either winning or losing, I’m either being one upped or one downed; or I’m trying to one up or one down someone else. Because he feels so poorly about himself this is what motivates him to desire status and power; he wants to be a “winner”, so using his logic, that means everyone else has to be a “loser”, a very combative, competitive, and masculine way of thinking, and with the addition of toxicity this is taken to the extreme. Mark throughout the film is trying to take linear steps in order to achieve an external goal which he believes will make him achieve all his desires (If I make Facebook, and push/sell it to the public and if they like it I will become successful, and receive status and power, and as a result will become “likeable”). This is why I feel Mark is “Male Mental Sex”, not female. (It was suggested by the teacher and classmates on the video analysis on Dramatica that Facebook is a holistic idea, which is apparent, and that is why the class believed Mark is female mental sexed, but Mark did not make Facebook to “connect” with friends and loved ones, he made it to try to make a product that would be appealing to the masses of people that ultimately could/would get him status and power, and I know the film is partly a fictional telling of the creation of Facebook/the young life of Mark Zuckerberg, but in the film the most holistic ideas of Facebook did not come from Mark himself, but external sources and influences. The holistic ideas of Facebook were used as a marketing technique, every business person does this, it’s capitalism at its finest, “How do we make a product that everyone will like?”)



By the end of the film Mark has sabotaged everything in his pursuit to achieve his goal/Facebook, including betraying his friend, Eduardo. “I was your only friend. You had one friend”, says Eduardo, hoping to make an “impact/influence”. Mark is quiet, and we as the audience definitely feel the emotion punch, but Mark doesn’t back down. The closing scenes Marylin, one of the film’s more holistic characters (along with Erica), tries to explain the concept of compromise to him (a holistic thought, because she like most holistic thinkers desire to be more cooperative, looking for win-win situations in the hopes of finding a more “balanced” solution to problems and conflict). Marylin tells him the other lawyers and her are going to work on a settlement agreement that he should sign, he’s shocked, because he still wants to win, but she suggests he should sign, “In the scheme of things, it’s a speeding ticket.” Marylin is basically saying, “Honey, you won, even when you lose. Sign the papers. They’ll win the lawsuit, but you’ll still be a billionaire, and successful, and the owner/creator of Facebook.”, it’s a win-win, but he doesn’t completely see or feel this. The film’s final frame show Mark sending a friend request to Erica, because the last words Marylin says to him echos what Erica said to him in the beginning of the movie. Mark flirts with the idea of changing, but stays for the most part “Steadfast”, because he still doesn’t completely understand his need; in order to actually be “likeable”/receive love he needs to address his ego. The Influence characters change (Erica, Eduardo, Marylin, they all walk away not wishing to have any kind of an intimate relationship with Mark anymore), but Mark does not.

That’s just one of the films that I think needs to be addressed, there’s a few more though. I’m sorry. If you don’t agree, I’d love hear your feedback.

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No reason to be sorry. :slight_smile: Challenges and feedback are greatly encouraged here.

It sounds like you have issues with the Main Character Resolve, Main Character Approach, and Main Character Mindset (Problem-Solving Style). While I appreciate your use of Female/Male Mental Sex as its a use of original Dramatica terminology, for those new to the theory - Linear and Holistic are the current replacements (Linear for Male Mental Sex, Holistic for Female Mental Sex).

And while you shouldn’t have to list an entire explanation covering all the bases, there is one important thing to know:

You’re going to find that Dramatica is a holistic framework, which is to say that the 75+ Storypoints within a Storyform work together as one cohesive unit–arguing a single line to the exclusions of other will always introduce some sort of confirmation bias.

Take, for instance, your examples of Mark Zuckerberg (the MC of The Social Network) as representing a Main Character Approach of Do-er–the primary example being that of his creation of Facebook.

In the following paragraph, you then go on to describe his personal issues as that of a narcissist (great analysis btw).

In isolation, Mark creating Facebook seems to paint him as a Do-er. Seen in combination with your illustrations of him as a narcissist, it’s clear that the true source of conflict in his personal Throughline (the MC Throughline) is one in the Mind Domain–which would mean he is a Be-er. (Main Characters in the internal Domains, Mind or Psychology, are always seen as Be-ers).

His creation of Facebook then is seen as something he does within his role as Protagonist within the Objective Story Throughline. Dramatica makes a distinction between the objective motivations of Pursuit and Consider and the subjective emotional Throughline found in the Main Character.

When understanding why we went with one Storyform over another, you need to understand that we were balancing ALL of the Storypoints at once–not just looking at one, or a couple, in isolation. And that what we came up with was the closest thing we could get to in the final product.


Yes, Dramatica is more holistic than other story structure forms that’s what drew me to it. :slight_smile:
I’m sorry, I focused on Mark’s narcissism, which was part of his internal conflict, but failed to mention the external conflict Mark is distributed by throughout the film, which is his lawsuit with the the Winklevoss’s, and Divya Narendra, and eventually Eduardo; and all their lawyers. The Sean Parker character (the contagonist) shows up at the midpoint, and links Mark’s external and internal conflicts, but Mark never truly addressed his “internal conflict”, so that’s why I feel he’s a “do-er”. I’m not sure if that will change how you think/feel. I focused on his internal conflict, because I guess his motivates interested me more.

I guess one of my concerns as well is even though Dramatica is much more holistic, but how “binary” some of these Dramatica terms still are. For instances the example we’re talking about of either “be-er or do-er”, and Dramatica, though I’m starting to love it for being a layer to apply to all my stories to help with writing them, doesn’t acknowledge certain other factors that can effect a person’s/characters problem solving abilities, to use The Social Network as an example, Dramatica doesn’t addresses factors like narcissism, like that was present in Mark in the film. I feel Dramatica works best when maybe you deal with “healthlier” characters, although the boxes are still restricting.

But to build on the character’s problem solving abilities (linear or holistic), Dramatica doesn’t take like I said mental health issues into the consideration, or circumstances (ex. when things happens to them so they’re forced to think the other way (Rear Window, main character’s broken leg)), or when other character’s are present and how their presents can effect how the character behaves (ex. Melanie actually in an older blog post beautifully kinda touched on this, using the example of the X-files, where Scully is “linear” when around Mulder (who is holistic), but sometimes in some episodes Scully is “holistic”, usually in episodes where she is “alone” and Mulder isn’t present to tease out her “linear” side). And there’s also issues of abuse that can effect character’s problem solving abilities.

Hmm … if his MC throughline is Mind/Conscious, that seems actually perfect for narcissism. If you read through some of the “gists” for Mind you find things like “Believing someone is superior to others” and “having a fixation on something”. Conscious in this case is thinking a lot about what others think of you.

Something that takes getting used to with Dramatica is to stop thinking of these characters as real people and instead understand them as aspects of a single “storymind” that’s making a particular argument/dealing with a specific inequity. The same “character” (e.g. Scully) can be a be-er in one story and a do-er in another depending on the argument being made in that story.

This is why the Storyform says the Story Judgment is Bad - when a Main Character fails to deal with their internal conflicts (the Main Character Throughline) the Judgment is said to be Bad.

Narcissism is covered by the Dramatica theory. Often this is under either the Psychology Domain or the Mind Domain. In this case, Mark’s personal Throughline - the source of his internal strife is this fixed attitude of his.

The external conflict is part of what Dramatica refers to as the Objective Story Throughline.

When trying to understand the Main Character Throughline you always want to look at what internal conflict is personal to that character - what you describe as his internal conflict is, in fact, the substance of the Main Character Throughline (and why it motivates you more).

I’m sorry, I’m not explaining myself properly. I’ll try to address Lakis first:

Dramatica does layer stories to address say “narcissism” using like “Mind/Conscious”, but I’m trying to address the “problem solving techniques”, or “mental sex” (I know that’s an old term, sorry if it’s triggering) and how Dramatica tends not to acknowledge how it can effect an analysis of a film. Maybe The Social Network isn’t the best example, but say hypothetically, you had a female character in a story who is holistic, but has narcissism, which makes her more “argumentative”, demanding (sets up requirements), and makes her view people in a lens that is more binary (you’re either with me or against me, she either demonizes people or puts them on a pedestal), a person doing an analysis might put her as “linear minded/male mental sex”, but she is actually “holistic”. I hope I’m making more sense.

I’ll try to not view them as “real people”, I just feel maybe there could be a way that you could do both? I see writer’s doing it in other films. But to try and make better sense of Dramatica structure I’ll try taking your advice.

Jhull, yes I see using Dramatica theory what you are saying, but I was just trying to address the rigidness of the “be-er/do-er” box, and the “linear/holistic” box, and “change/steadfast” box that I still feel should be addressed with “The Social Network”.
The outline says “Bad” for the judgement, but the class on the video analysis of the movie on still made it sound like Mark was a “change” character, and then referenced his “change” to his “internal conflict”.

That is correct.

In the simplest of terms, Mark changed his approach from being a complete a—hole narcissist to someone who would put himself out there and simply ask to be friends.

This shows Mark moving from being a Be-er (resorting to narcissism to keep from getting hurt) to being a Do-er in the personal realm (making the friend request).

That request is something he never would have done in the beginning—which is why it illustrates a Change is his Resolve.

He moves from a Motivation of Production (literally making a big deal about relationships to the point of creating a massive social network!) to a New Motivation of Reduction (simply asking someone if they would be his friend).

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I still feel like you’re not understanding me.
Mark did do this in the beginning: he asked Erica out on a date(s) (this is implied), later at the midpoint he tries to approach her at the bar again (trying to be “friends” again), and then again at the end of the film he sends her a “friend request”; but because he hasn’t addressed his ego this is just going in circles. In one of my last posts I implied/said he “flirts” with the idea of changing, but because he does not have self-awareness about his need, he doesn’t change, he is “steadfast”, and a “do-er”.

I haven’t watched The Social Network, so I can’t contribute to the analysis itself. It’s possible it’s wrong; I wouldn’t know. However, I can provide my current interpretation on the portion of theory of Dramatica in question, which might help. Of course, Jim may come back and correct me. But, whether this leads to a re-analysis of the film, or a re-assessment of that analysis, either is fine with me. :crazy_face:

You mentioned a rigidness to the dynamics, specifically calling out Do-er/Be-er, Linear/Holistic, and Change/Steadfast. What I want to talk about is this feeling of rigidness.

In the current model, the eight Dynamics do provide a feeling of more rigidity than any of the quads. I suspect that’s due to the current model only working with the pairs. Melanie and Jim have both written about finding additional pairs to develop out the dynamic quads. However, in doing so, they’ve also described how it would bring us into a different bias for the model.

Nevertheless, the pairs aren’t quite as binary as they might seem:

  • Do-er/Be-er is a preference. The Dramatica theory book and program both say as much. In addition, it’s important to note that a Be-er need not be passive. They can still act, by being. I myself lean towards Be-er, and in my college years, I had changed my hair, my wardrobe, etc, in an effort to feel more like a Do-er. Thus, I still acted to resolve something, but I acted by being.

  • Linear/Holistic is contextual. Though not well represented, due to the Western bias in the model, a Linear mind can think Holistically, and a Holistic mind can think in Linearly. Though, it does appear rather difficult for either to make the shift to the other without conscious effort and recognition, given the misunderstandings and confusions that often arise between traditionally Linear and traditionally Holistic cultures. Still, this shift can be made.

  • Changed/Steadfast is the most binary of these three in the current model, representing the final resolve. Nevertheless, it is possible for a Changed perspective to remain steadfast, growing into their resolve, throughout the story, only to finally make a leap-of-faith with regard to the new motivation at the end. And, it’s also possible for a Steadfast perspective to experiment with, even allow themselves to use that element which ultimately demotivates them, yet return to and remain with their original motivation by the end. So one can look like the other during the story.

Thus, throughout the process of dealing with the inequity in a given story, each of the dynamics are malleable within that frame. However, in our current model, once the argument is complete, the weight given to each dynamic will present one side as the ultimate frame the Storymind was working within. Which one matters, though, is far less about the characters than it is about the perspectives taken.

A couple more things to note about the Changed/Steadfast dynamic: The main perspective of a story always grows in one way or another. Whether this brings about a significant change in perspective or strengthens the current motivation is what matters. And, a character need not even be aware of such change or steadfastness. Only the Storymind, the intent of the author, matters in that respect.

I.e., a Steadfast character might think they have changed, but from the Storymind’s point of view, they grew by digging their heels into that original motivation. And, a Change character may only recognize the growth they have experienced, yet the Storymind would see that new motivation they have taken.

Thank you for explaining to me Dramatica, but I do have the book, and have read it. I’m not confused on the terms, but thank you. Lol

When I talk about the rigidness of the 8 of the 12 essential questions, I wasn’t necessarily talking about “The Social Network”. The Social Network is quite linear, and easier to fit into the “rigidness” of the binary boxes. My concern is, if isn’t analyzed the films properly with their own theory then writers might go to look up the film examples as references to help themselves, but will be thrown off and confused, compromising the Dramatica story structure theory, or at least the “8” of the 12 essential questions. This won’t help anybody. And there are a handful of films that I feel are off, and should be addressed.
And some of these binary boxes (like I posted earlier) do not address circumstantial factors that might effect a characters “problem solving techniques”. I’m worried.

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I didn’t imagine you were speaking about this movie specifically. That’s why I felt I could join in by dropping from the analysis entirely, and speak to the dynamics and theory alone.

That’s completely understandable. And, in fact, I agree with some of the forms being off. E.g., the original Toy Story still needs to be re-addressed on the official site. Take a look at these two links, which provide something completely different in terms of structure:

This is what I was attempting to address in my post above. The dynamics aren’t about the character, but the Storymind. How circumstantial factors might affect their portrayal could be either structural or non-structural. In the first case, we’re dealing with Storyforming, and the Domains, Concerns, Issues and (Problems, Conditions) chosen would build in those circumstances. In the second, we’re dealing with Storytelling, and Dramatica has very little to say to that end.

The example you described for the Holistic who appears Linear sounds to me like it would most likely be illustrated by the author placing her as a Be-er/Holistic who focuses on issues of Rationalization versus Obligation. (That is, assuming what you’ve illustrated is structural, rather than not, for whatever story that character appears in.)

Perhaps, though, I’m still not following what you mean by your claim that some of the dynamics “do not address circumstantial factors that might effect a character’s [Mindset (Problem-Solving Style)]”. If we take Dramatica at the core, no “character” can have a Mindset because no characters truly exist. The Storymind has a Mindset, and that affects the perspectives on the inequity.

I’d like to better understand so as to address your concerns or worries regarding that idea.

A “Do-er” in Dramatica is not someone who does something through implication - they actually do it.

Your example therefore illustrates a Be-er who changes to a Do-er.

What might also help is your notion of who the Influence Character is and why he or she changes their approach. Both Main Character and Influence Character balance each other, so if one changes, the other is steadfast.

Thank you for responding. I want/need to go watch Toy Story now. :slight_smile:
My concern though, if we’re talking about my hypothetical holistic character who appears linear, as you just mentioned, is just that. Someone could watch the “hypothetical” movie that she would be in and just misinterpret, say if they were using Dramatica’s binary boxes, saying she’s just linear and simplifying the ideas, and this would confuse writers if hypothetical it were posted.
I don’t feel I’ll just be using Dramatica to write my stories though, I just feel some of the rigidness, that you referenced just in your reset post, as well as Lakis’ post mentioned.
As far as the circumstances that Dramatica doesn’t acknowledge, I just feel the layers of a character, and how no one is “completely” linear or holistic, yes, I know “we” all have a reflex for one or the other side, but not every “problem” in a film is happening right in the moment, some situations are aged and this allows characters to use their entire brain at that point. Some circumstances that characters are put in in a film force them to use their other half (ex. I feel Rear Window does this. The main character has a broken leg and can’t go about living the way he usually lives, and has nothing to do but look out a window and let his imagination (a more holistic characteristic) go wild.) And I think in the above post I posted I think I hi-light some other thoughts on circumstances using the X-file reference.
I hope that answers your question. Let me know if it doesn’t.

I don’t wish to be rude, but I feel like you’re not reading my posts.
Mark asked Erica out several times. Erica says, “Dating you is like dating a stair-master!”, which subtextually implied he asked her out, over and over, that’s what I meant. The reason their on a date is because of Mark’s acts/doing. Mark is chasing her physical and metaphorical all throw the film. I already did point out that Mark doesn’t change making him “steadfast”, and all the “influence” characters do “change” making the balance.

I understand that. But when it comes to what Dramatica means by a Do-er, “subtextual implying” something is NOT what it means to be a Do-er.

The big question, of course, is this…

Are you open to the thought that you are misinterpreting Dramatica’s concepts, and quite possibly wrong?

Absolutely, but it is becoming apparent that you are not addressing any of my concerns.
Mark is trying to be “friends” (or more than friends) with Erica all the way throughout the movie, from start to finish, and I feel you’re just trying to side step this rather then acknowledge this. This conversation is going in circles, kinda like The Social Network movie. Lol
You haven’t acknowledged that Mark is “linear”, and he does not change/he’s “steadfast”.