Examples of Stories Concerned with “Progress”

STORIES that have an Objective Story Concern of Progress:

A Clockwork Orange: Alex is concerned with how his freedom of action is progressively being hindered. Mr. Alexander is concerned with the progress of political change in society and later, vengeance against Alex. Minister of the Interior, Fred, wants his status and political power to advance. Alex’s droogs want to move on without him. Deltoid wants to make progress in convincing Alex to go to school.

Platoon: All the characters are concerned with how the war is progressing, and what type of impact the U.S. military is having in Vietnam. Throughout the film there are indicators that the U.S. troops are not progressing towards victory–visually expressed in the loss of lives and in the mounting frustration and stress within the platoon. Fresh off the plane, new U.S. recruits are greeted by body bags slung onto another plane going home; the platoon takes out its frustrations on a defenseless village; a civil war breaks out between members within the platoon. It seems every time the platoon comes into contact with the enemy, they lose lives–not uncommon in war, but there doesn’t appear to be any clear victories to counteract the losses. Tension is derived from the sense that everything the platoon attempts to do appears ineffective against the elusive and ever encroaching enemy. By the end of the film, the platoon and several other military companies are completely overrun at their base by the enemy.

The Silence of the Lambs: The FBI is concerned with its discovery of an increasing number of victims and the progress it is making toward locating Buffalo Bill; Clarice Starling is concerned with her progress as an FBI trainee; Buffalo Bill is concerned with the progress of his “suit of skin”; Hannibal Lecter is concerned with the progress being made toward better accommodations (and escape); etc.

Taxi Driver: Betsy and Tom are involved in drumming up more and more support for Palantine as the election approaches; like Travis, they are concerned with improving society; the sign in the campaign HQ window reads “Only 4 More Days Until Arrival of CHARLES PALANTINE”; Travis develops in stages toward becoming an assassin; etc.

Toy Story: Everyone is concerned with the progress of the Davis family’s impending move to another home, and how they are affected by it. “Has everyone picked a moving buddy?” “Already?!” “I don’t want any toys left behind. A moving buddy–if you don’t have one, GET one!” If the move progresses faster than the efforts of Woody and Buzz to reunite with Andy, they are doomed to be Lost Toys. At the gas station: “Sheriff, this is no time to panic.” “This is the perfect time to panic! I’m lost…Andy is gone–they’re going to move from their house in two days and it’s all your fault!” The toys have various other concerns regarding progress: Bo Peep is concerned with how her relationship with Woody is progressing; Rex is concerned with the progress of his “roar”; they even have a “Plastic Corrosion Awareness” meeting, indicating their concerns with age.

Excerpted from
Dramatica Story Development Software