How Absolute Self-Destruction Drives Obsessive Film Characters to Achieve Absolute Perfection

Filmmaker Michael Tucker of Lessons from the Screenplay created a fascinating video essay that analyzes the how the obsessive character is able to achieve absolute perfection with absolute sacrifice. Using the lead characters from both Black Swan (Nina) and Whiplash (Andrew) as examples, Tucker explains the ordered arc of self-destruction that ultimately leads each character to their desired goal no matter the consequence.

Act 1: Inciting Incident, Desire, and Dramatic Question Every story has its first turning point. The moment at which the protagonist can no longer maintain the status quo and embarks on their journey. …The second act of a screenplay is where the protagonists encounter obstacle after obstacle, and in doing so are forced to change in a way they wouldn’t otherwise. …Act 3: Transformation And Perfection. …Both protagonists have destroyed their old selves.