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Monday, July 12, 2010

Misdirection as Propaganda

by Melanie Anne Phillips & Chris Huntley
Co-creators of the Dramatica Theory

The most subtle and possibly most effective form of propaganda from a single exposure is the use of misdirection as a way to impact an audience’s Subconscious. Like “smoke and mirrors” used by magicians, this form of propaganda requires focusing the audience’s Conscious attention in one place while the real impact is made in the Subconscious. Fortunately for propagandistic minded authors, this is one of the easiest forms of propaganda to create.

This technique comes from omitting parts of the storyform from your storytelling. What you leave out becomes the audience’s blind spot, and the dynamic partner to the omitted storyform piece becomes the audience’s focus. The focus is where your audience’s attention will be drawn (the smoke and mirrors). The blind spot is where your audience personalizes the story by “filling-in-the-blank.” The story’s argument is thus linked directly to the audience’s subconscious, based on the context in which the story is presented.

Let’s look at some dynamic pairs of partners that appear in a storyform. The following pairs concern the nature of the impact on your audience:

Motivation <­p;> Purpose
Means of Evaluation <­p;> Methodology

Should you wish to impact your audience’s motivations, omit a particular motivation in the story . The audience, then, focused on the purpose they can see will automatically supply a motivation that seems viable to them (e.g.: Thelma and Louise ).

Here are the storyform dynamic pairs that relate to story/audience perspectives:

Objective Perspective <­p;> Subjective Perspective
Main Character Perspective <­p;> Obstacle Character Perspective

Combining a nature with a perspective gives an author greater control over a story’s propaganda. For example, if you wish to impact your audience in how they view the means of evaluation employed by the world around them, omit the Objective Story means of evaluation elements and the audience’s attention will be distracted by focusing on the methodologies employed (e.g.: Natural Born Killers).

From the Dramatica Theory Book