The Shawshank Redemption, PRCP/O and the PSR


I’m reading Jim’s article of “Writing your first act with confidence” (Writing Your First Act with Confidence - Articles - Narrative First) at Narrative First.
There Jim explains in detail the beats related to Subtxt.
It explains that the first ACT of the MC Red (Morgan Freeman) is Being.
And that quad and elements are Manipulation → Being (Playing a role) → Knowledge, Ability, Desire, Thought.
Then I watched the movie again, looking for these specifics beats and these all appear and also in this order.
And when I look at the “Dramatica chart” it all fits. (

Then I opened the storyform in Dramatica (see also The Shawshank Redemption - Analysis - Dramatica) and printed the Plot Sequence Report (PSR).
I was expecting that the first act was as described in Jim’s article.

But in the PSR I read

“In act one, ‘temporarily adopting a lifestyle’ (Playing a Role) is explored in terms of Obligation, Rationalization, Commitment, and Responsibility.”

But this is in:
Manipulation → Becoming (Changing one’s nature) → Rationalization, Commitment, Responsibility and Obligation.

And that got me confused.
I thought that the PSR is used as reference on how the signpost’s, concerns, issues and elements should/could be used in a story to have the most effect, and that the first act would be “Being” for the MC, as described in Jim’s article which fits the movie. But that is not the case.

Where do I go wrong in my thinking/understanding/analysis?
Is my understanding of the PSR wrong?
What am I missing?


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The algorithms that drive Subtxt are different than those behind Dramatica. You’ll see this most evident in the PSR:

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