@Greg, I’m worried that you’ve taken one particular tool in the Dramatica arsenal (looking at source/process -> visible conflict, analogous to fire -> smoke), which is definitely helpful at times, and have started to apply it a little too rigidly.
Now, I agree that’s one of the most fundamentally important things in Dramatica, understanding that it’s all about the sources of conflict, often the subtext, not necessarily what you see happening on screen.
However, I also believe that Dramatica is incredibly flexible which is why it works with such a wide range of stories, and why it can be such a great tool for writing (since your ideas aren’t limited by arbitrary rules either).
For example, here:
I think you’re being too rigid on what is the source and what is the conflict. Sometimes, we just don’t know. And I wouldn’t be so rigid about what leads directly to what either – as long as it seems like something about Trust is causing problems and/or driving people, I’d consider it a candidate. I would look at this part of the story and say “Trust seems to be involved here, possibly as the source of conflict” and pencil in Trust, so that if I find a bunch more examples where Trust might be the source, I can be pretty sure it’s not a coincidence.
Not that I’m saying the OS Problem is for sure Trust, just using this as an example to encourage a more flexible approach.
If this paragraph is the entire story, I agree it sounds like Physics is the source of conflict (hoping to change people’s opinions by taking a picture of something real does not sound like it’s intended to be a problematic way of thinking). But you could easily insert that into a larger story, maybe a plot to manipulate people into destroying all wolves… suddenly it’s not so clear.
Another way to look at it, they begin attempting to change public opinion on both sides (Winston/Helen on one side, Evelyn on the other), then conflict with Screenslaver, then public opinion starting to change but a strange sense that it’s too easy, then manipulation of a whole bunch of supers (not just the mind control, but convincing them to come to the boat in the first place), then signing the law turning out to be a way to manipulate the world leaders onto the boat, then foiling Evelyn’s plot and the good guys being happy about it.