SCRIPTS & SCRIPTING

There’s been a lot of discussion, both on the page and off, in-private, on scripts recently…which is positive, as it’s an area often neglected. This is not to counter or disprove anyone else’s ideas but to give a different perspective and outlook. While I get the general use of starting-scripts to get students thinking on potential scenarios, I personally don’t think they’re necessity and, long-term, I think they can potentially stifle the adaptive mind, critical thinking under duress, and problem-solving ability. (should they be stuck to and conditioned as is) Many in the SD world use adrenal-stress response (ASR) monosyllabic (or close to it) scripts for various interview stages. Now, we have an overabundance of people using the same tired clichés and passing them on to their students as viable. “Bro, I don’t want any trouble.” “Dude, can I buy you another beer.” “Buddy, talk to me, how can I help.” So even many instructors are seemingly “stuck” in script-format and rarely vary from these tired responses. These are dynamic, complex, and unique situations so I’m just (personally) not sure that scripting does the thing many claim. When I do drilling on this, I am constantly changing behaviors, giving off confusing signals, escalating/de-escalating in tone and body language, changing dynamic for exactly that reason….to destroy their scripts and show them that that means is often ineffective against live-action humans in complex environments. As a developmental base for future cultivation, sure, if that’s not all that’s perpetuated, I can see some value.

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That being said, I see numerous videos or commentaries on “the interview” where the same sad clichés and mechanical interactions take place, often from long-serving name instructors. Lots. That tells me exactly that, that the scenarios they’re giving to their students involve scripts from both sides. “I’m gonna kick your ass.” “Whatchu’ lookin’ at, mother fucker.” “You gotta’ problem, asshole.” Tired, and this is way I most often see scripting implemented into modern SD training. It makes criminals seem one-dimensional and lacking in creativity, as well as the “defender.” If that’s how you incorporate interview-stuff, it seems more like the idea of being able to state that you have that element in your training rather than actually understand the complexities of the skillset. These are multi-faceted and multi-dynamic scenarios, why not train for them the same way? It’s not an emotional roller-coaster ride for students as there’s a sliding scale of order – low, medium, high – and gradual manner of incorporating it. The sooner you get your students to start interacting dynamically and seeing the rapidity of change that can occur in stranger-interviews, the more prepped they’ll be for adaptive thinking. With more experienced students, yes, it can become emotional but that’s kinda’ the point, isn’t it? To show the physiological, adrenal, emotional reactions you can have under even low-level conflicts and how it can potentially affect performance, whatever that performance may be in relation to – conflict communication, spatial distancing, body language/stress physiology, to actual aggression response. To see in what small head-space you’re in need of working in. That monosyllabic response is sometimes all we’re capable of…yet sometimes we’re capable of far more. (as is aligned with much science coming out on stress-response capability) That it’s not so easy to just open a script-file and pull out the exact one needed for that time, or ad lib with no prior training that advocates for that. Something else worth thinking about, and from my experience, is that “pros” often take advantage of, even manipulate, scripts. They expect many targets to script, whether out of panic, freezing, fear, submission. It’s part of the ambush mentality and if we think it’s of importance, assuredly they know that we think it’s of importance.

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I am, personally, not a script guy, some people are, so I’m not knocking the methods of others, just pointing out that there are options and it’s not imperative. Come to your own conclusions, either way the discussions that we’ve been having on this should be quite valuable and thought-provoking. It’s an important topic. Indexing and recalling scripts for a situation that has (often-great) physiological changes to you, is often rapidly-changing, and can be dictated by huge variations in dynamic….is sometimes not feasible. Sometimes scripts can provide and assist with this, sometimes we’re better off with “conditioned” adaptive and critical thinking.

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