The art of sound pictures (1930)

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132 THE ART OF SOUND PICTURES successful. The attitude of antagonism makes us wish to reject the situation, and our attitude of superiority makes us wish to control it. A simple situation of this kind occurs when a man wishes to enter a barred door to obtain the heroine or the jewels. He finds the door an obstacle to which he is antagonistic, and this initial bar- rier is unpleasant to contemplate. He increases his energy and breaks down the door, thus showing his superiority to it. The success of his action is pleasant to him. Dominance is the most primitive of all emotions. It accompanies self-assertion of all sorts. Therefore, if you wish your audience to feel dominance, you must build a situation or a character toward which people will simul- taneously feel antagonism and a desire to rise superior to it, overcome it, or control it, in order that they may finally get rid of it altogether. There are many types of dominance. Two of these especially concern us: destructive and competitive domi- nance. These types are used as the foundation of a great many stories. Destructive dominance is apparent in situations in which there is much killing, destruction of property, warfare, and general “hell-raising” activities. All our crime stories have as their basis this destructive type of dominance. Competitive dominance forms the basis for the type of story in which two people are competing for some re- ward. This is the situation in which another person is the antagonist. There is no desire to kill the antagonist, for then the competition would be at an end. It is more the type of dominance that is exhibited in sports, such as tennis and football or, somewhat modified, in business.