Blog Post

Dramatica Video Analysis of Kingsman: The Secret Service

Sep 15th, 2016

Posted the video analysis of Kingsman: The Secret Service from our Dramatica Users Group meeting this month.

Of course, like always, Google found a way to completely change things up on me. Apparently, Hangouts On Air are a thing of the past and now we're all supposed to use YouTube Live.

Unfortunately I discovered this about five minutes before we were to go on the air. I scrambled around to find a quick fix and ended up with a not-so-perfect solution. The video quality is horrendous and you can't even see the app towards the second half of the class.

But at least you can hear. Think of it like a podcast with a slight video element to it.

Misunderstandings that Lead to Greater Understandings

Kingsman is a fun ride--and a pretty functional story to boot. I had seen it twice when it came home to stream, but only managed the first twenty minutes before Tuesday night's class. This proved to be my undoing during the analysis as I incorrectly identified the Benchmarks of the individual Throughlines as their actual Concerns.

If you're not too familiar with Dramatica, every complete story consists of four Throughlines related to one another in theme. Each provides a different perspective on the story's central problem. Add them up together and you have a vehicle for transmitting the Author's message.

Within each of these Throughlines lies a Concern--a focal point for conflict within that perspective. Alongside each Concern is a Benchmark measuring the decline or increase in the level of Concern.

Often in analysis the Benchmark is confused with the Concern as the source of problems within the Throughline. That was the source of my error in judgment.

Having only recently seen the first Signpost of Kingsman, I had an incomplete picture of the conflict. Story structure is most accurately understood by seeing beginning, middle, and end all at once. Just like you can't leave a piece out and hope to tell a complete story, you can't see a story incompletely and hope to accurately analyze it.

More on the film later, but for now it's enough to understand the difference between the Benchmark and Concern of a story.