I had the opportunity to watch “Back to the Future” again a few days ago and it’s gotten me thinking about the Story Drivers. In an older Narrative First article, @jhull said that the initial Story Driver “happens when Doc screws over the Libyans. Substituting pinball machine parts for plutonium effectively starts the inequity of the story and guarantees the subsequent act turns. Without that event, time would have simply marched on as it always has.”
“the Concluding Event finds itself tied to the Inciting Event. Doc cheats once again. By taping the pieces of Marty’s letter back together, Doc successfully brings an end to the problems caused by his initial egotistical blunder. Marty and Doc win. The problems of the story come to a resolution. … Essentially then, the goal of Back to the Future was to beat the space-time continuum.”
However, according one of Jim’s more recent posts, and the in-progress, comprehensive analysis for the film that someone is doing on Subtext (really excited to see the final result, by the way), the initial and closing Drivers are different:
(Note: The image on Subtext is in the documentation and is publicly viewable.)
The initial Driver was when Doc cheated the Libyan terrorists out of plutonium, and now is when Marty is invited to the Twin Pines Mall. The concluding Driver was when Doc taped the letter back together, and now is when the terrorists meet their demise. So here’s my question: will the Story Goal be different because of these different Drivers?
To show what I mean, in a different article on Narrative First, Jim emphasizes the importance of tying the Drivers to the source of conflict:
“Understanding how Story Drivers set the stage for a narrative and determine the kind of conflict and plot events to help writers and producers and directors avoid this inevitable fate of not knowing what they are doing” (emphasis mine).
This is illustrated by showing that the initial Story Driver is connected to the OS Problem in Star Wars (A New Hope): “Boarding the ship illegally during the first sequence serves as an indicator of the first Story Driver because it tells of an imbalance of Test.”
So if this is the case, then would the Story Goal for “Back to the Future” still be beating the space-time continuum? If the Story Drivers are different, and since they’re connected to the Goal, wouldn’t changing one affect the other? In the case of this film, this change wouldn’t affect which Type the Goal is (Obtaining), but both getting Marty home and beating the space-time continuum are illustrations of Obtaining, and only the latter was defined as the Goal.