Stories where the OS is a wider story than the MC

Hi all,

Wondering if anyone can help me with some reference ideas.

Can anyone think of good to great movies where a fair amount of the OS throughline is a bigger, more epic story than that of the MC. The MC still has a complete arc, and is involved with the OS, but at a more local level, while there is a lot going on in a wider context.

In my case, the MC/IC/RC story is within a small part of the galaxy, while I would like to cover a conflict over the entire galaxy at the same time, which is related to the MC, but the MC, at this stage, is not what the entire conflict revolves around.

I just want to see if it’s possible to have such a story that works effectively.

I mean the first Star Wars is kind of like this, in that the Empire isn’t particularly focused on Luke, but all the main OS characters still come into close contact with him, so it’s still quite close-knit overall*, whereas i’m wondering if parts of the OS can be more separate (but thematically, and Dramatica-lly consistent).

Phew, sorry about the essay! Any thoughts would be appreciated.

*Also wondering if this is just a budgetary constraint, limiting number of sets etc, rather than purely a storytelling choice.

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…just realised that The Phantom Menace did this to some extent with the Trade Federation blockade and the different factions in the sequels to it (and was widely panned for it), so maybe a better example :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

The first Indiana Jones? For a long time, nobody thought it had a storyform (it actually has two) because of the bias.

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Thanks M,

Great reference of course but it still feels like Indy is tied into every aspect of it. Are there maybe any war movies where there is a lot happening at the overall level, with strategies and planning etc., while also going to and from the MC/IC/RS? Where the MC might be part of an important mission, for example, but it’s certainly not going to decide the whole war.

Wouldn’t that be all mysteries?

It feels like you want an MC that is not the protagonist.
Also, the MC has the Unique Ability and that is a crucial element for a Success ending.
Maybe “Eye of the Needle”?

“OS” and “MC” are separate throughlines/perspectives. As such, one does not revolve around the other. Luke as a vehicle for the Main Character Throughline is separate from Luke as a vehicle for the Overall Story Throughline. Luke could have been replaced with any other player in the OS and RS and only ever appeared within the MC. The storytelling would change, but the message would remain the same.

The “character”-as we typically think of characters-of Luke is only a prop. That two different throughlines are using the same prop doesn’t connect the perspectives. It blends the storytelling for a more “unified” story. Or maybe a more unified feeling of the story. But the storytelling for the OS can be as big and as epic as you want it to be compared to the MC and it will work just fine because the two are always separate.

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Sherlock Holmes in the book form?

Was this meant for me?

It was the whole thread, and your zinger made me think of Sherlock Holmes … haha. Of course, in that series Sherlock is protagonist and MC is Watson, so I WAS thinking of Sherlock having the Unique Ability which is not the MC. Maybe, Watson does observe the unique ability and relays it or his being a sounding-thought board is the unique ability?

Yes, this is definitely true, good to have clarified

Will watch tonight

That’s very clear and helpful, thank you. Now i know the extent to which it can be done, I guess it’s the storyweaving side of things to find a balance between audience demands and what i want to achieve. Every scene in the OS could be with different people involved in the war, to show examples (which is kind of what I wanted), but without some threads between them some scenes may come off as “why do we care what they’re doing?” (from the audience POV anyway). So i’ll aim for a small number of scenes to show the wider conflict, a few from the wider conflict that relate back to the MC, and then some directly involving the MC.

I don’t think so as a general rule. I was thinking of Chinatown, but while we hear of a lot of the external history and events, the stuff onscreen almost all relates back directly to the MC as he investigates.

What about the 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives? The OS is about servicemen coming back from WWII and re-establishing themselves in careers/jobs. There are three distinct MCs’ stories interwoven.

Thanks will grab that one too :slight_smile:

Based on what you’re saying, it’s possible that this is similar to what I was trying to do in my first novel. Everyone is concerned about living on a divided island and rectifying past events, but the MC relates to this in a specific, personal way. But it’s not like he’s actually going to solve the Cyprus problem single-handedly.

I haven’t seen it or read it but I wonder if Dr. Zhivago might be an example of a personal story that takes place against the backdrop of a much bigger OS.

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It will take you longer, but the book is fantastic. I can’t vouch for the movie, I’ve never seen it.

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Agreed, best spy thriller ever! :smiley:

I would say it’s Follett’s best work, but how can anything compete with Pillars of the Earth?

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@cysto my interpretation of what you’re looking for is actually a combination of Dramatica and non-Dramatica stuff. i.e. we use Dramatica to identify the MC & OS throughlines, and the MC player. Knowing those, we want to find a story where the MC player doesn’t play a big/crucial role in the OS and its storytelling? Where their story is kind of off to the side within the bigger OS story?

I’m kind of guessing the above based on what you said regarding Raiders: that everything kind of revolved around Indy, which disqualified it as an example.

I wonder if The Force Awakens is an example, since Rey is actually the IC in that, and the ex-stormtrooper dude (Finn – had to look the name up!) is the MC who’s kind of along for the ride.

Sounds similar, i think i’m getting closer

Have downloaded this to watch on the weekend

The movie is very weird structurally. Probably an hour of OS at the start with only two quick check-ins of the MC that I wouldn’t think are complete scenes. So the throughlines are definitely not in parallel constrained within acts. Does give you clarity on Dramatica in a way, because the first hour is all just plot plot plot but nothing really pulls you in emotionally. The third quarter is kind of interesting and has all 4 throughlines, then in the last quarter it turns into a horror movie :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Thanks M2, yeah i think it really is the non-Dramatica stuff. As said above, technically it could be sound Dramatica-lly if you had different players in every scene, but it doesn’t work well with an audience to not track the arcs of at least one individual, if not more.

Again still like Raiders in that the core group still connects with everything.

For mine, one faction is trying to track down as many individuals as possible with certain abilities, and the MC/IC/RS throughlines are about a specific individual, whereas i want the OS to be about the numerous others in the same position.

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I’m not sure the book is different! But man is it great.

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Casablanca comes to mind.

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