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Media narrative codes

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i am not sure where i have acquired this so if you are the audience i apologise for not citing your creative and intellectual rights. I suspect I found it somewhere on here or on an OCR training day - …

i am not sure where i have acquired this so if you are the audience i apologise for not citing your creative and intellectual rights. I suspect I found it somewhere on here or on an OCR training day - i have changed it somewhat so thanks for the original


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  • 1. HAS ANYONE SEEN A FILM THAT HAS A STORY THAT IS TOLD IN AN INTERESTING OR UNUSUAL WAY?
  • 2. Audience Genre • To whom is the text addressed? What is the target audience? • What assumptions about the audience’s characteristics are implicit within the text? • What assumptions about the audience are implicit in the text’s scheduling or positioning? The ways in which audiences can be categorized (e.g., gender, age, ethnicity, social & cultural background, advertisers' classifications) – Class, Young and Rubicam’s Four Consumers, LifeMatrix • How media producers and texts construct audiences and users How audiences and users are positioned (including preferred, negotiated and oppositional responses to that positioning). • Ideology • Uses and gratifications • Adorno • Mode of address • Pleasures – Dahlgren & Stam • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs • To which genre does the text belong? • What are the generic conventions within the text? • Who creates genre? • Hybrids • Themes and Ideology • Frank McConnell • Post-modernism • Intertextuality • The cast and genre associations Textual Analysis Grid Technical Codes (Topic Specific) • Camerawork • Lighting • Sound • Codes and Conventions • Editing and sound for audio-visual media and graphic design elements for print-based and interactive media • What work is being done by the sound track/commentary/language of the text? • Language use •Editing Symbolic Codes • What are the denotative and connotative levels of meaning? • What is the significance of the text’s connotations? • What are the non-verbal structures of meaning in the text (e.g. gesture, facial expression, props etc)? •What is the significance of mise-enscène/sets/settings? • Semiotics Representations • Who is being represented? • In what way? • Mediation • The role of selection, construction and anchorage in creating representations • How the media uses representations • The points of view, messages and values underlying those representations. • The Reflective view of representing • The Intentional view • The Constructionist view • Stereotypes/Countertypes • Hegemony • Pluralism Narrative Institutions/Ideology • What are the major themes of the narrative? • How is the narrative organised and structured? • How is the audience positioned in relation to the narrative? • Propp • Todorov • Barthes • Levi-Strauss • John Ellis • Single/Two Goal Plot • Genre/Cultural/Internal Repetition • Segmented Narrative • What is the institutional source of the text? • In what ways has the text been influenced or shaped by the institution which produced it? • Is the source a public service or commercial institution? What difference does this make to the text? • Who owns and controls the institution concerned and does this matter? • How has the text been distributed? • What are the major values, ideologies and assumptions underpinning the text or naturalised within it? • What criteria have been used for selecting the content presented?
  • 3. Understanding the narrative codes will help you to understand 1.How an audience makes sense of the narrative 2.How the producers convey meaning 3.The different theories behind narrative In turn this should help you to create strong narratives for your own work
  • 4. LINEAR AND NON-LINEAR • http://www.youtube.com/ watch? v=HvljC8HTgwA&feature=r elated • http://www.youtube.co m/watch? v=FOUGf_s4hy4 • Non-linear stories are popular in computer games – it means the story doesn’t follow a straight line. In a game, you can often choose different paths. • This trailer follows the story in chronological order from start to finish. • In films like Memento, the story moves around in time and is often told in flashbacks, where a character looks back in time. • Linear narratives are in a “straight line” from start to end.
  • 5. MULTI-STRAND AND DUAL NARRATIVES • http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=BixyC0Zk_s • http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=v4IOoyrfi0s • Theses narratives often have more than one story and more than one set of characters. Sometimes the stories “cross over” and the characters meet. • These often follow one character. It is one person’s story. • Sometimes, but rarely, they are kept apart…
  • 6. BARTHES’ ACTION/ENIGMA CODES • Action codes • Roland Barthes believed that in some films and other narratives one action will lead to another and this is where the story comes from… e.g. somebody kills, so a friend hunts them down… Here the audience know why things occur. • Enigma Codes • On the other hand, it can be mysteries that drive a story forward… The audience watch to find out why things are happening.
  • 7. TZVETAN TODOROV • He suggested that the primary function of the narrative was to solve a problem and that characters pass through a series of stages of a linear narrative where events follow in chronological order. • Todorov stated that narratives are led by events in a cause and effect format and suggested the following structure. • Equilibrium: Stable, balanced, unchanging system. • The narrative starts with equilibrium. • An action / character disrupts the equilibrium. • A quest to restore the equilibrium ensues. • The narrative moves to a confrontation / climax. • Resolution / equilibrium is restored. 7
  • 8. VLADIMIR PROPP • Russian literary critic and folklorist, was concerned with the relationship between narrative and characters. • Through his research, he argued that stories are character driven and that plots develop around the actions of characters. He looked at characters and their function within the story. • He stated that is was possible to group characters and actions into roles and functions which move the story along. • The hero – who has a mission to accomplish something, he carries the events through the story. (In modern narrative, the hero can also be female). • The villain – who is driven by evil motives and tries to prevent the hero from accomplishing his mission. • The doner – aids the hero by giving him help. • The dispatcher – sends the hero on a quest. • The false hero – appears to be good and tries to trick the hero by giving bad advice. • The helper – ‘sidekick’ (like figure) who helps the hero • The princess – stereotypical ‘damsel in distress’. • Her father – rewards the hero (often by giving his daughter as a prize).
  • 9. LEVI-STRAUSS’S BINARY OPPOSITIONS • Levi-Strauss (pronounced Lev-ee, and no relation to the Jeans guy), introduced the notion of binary oppositions as a useful way to consider the production of meaning within narratives. • E.g. Hero – Villain, Light – Dark, Man – Machine, Male – Female etc. • He argued that all construction of meaning was dependent, to some degree, on these oppositions. 9
  • 10. TESTING UNDERSTANDING • There are five stages to this activity. Stage five sees you complete the following quiz: 1. Name an example of a text with a non-linear narrative. 2. Name a text with a linear narrative. 3. Name a text with a single-strand narrative. 4. Name a text with a multi-strand narrative. 5. Name one of Barthes’ codes. 6. Name the other of Barthes’ codes. 7. Name the first stage in Todorov’s narrative structure. 8. Name the second stage in Todorov’s narrative structure. 9. Name the third stage in Todorov’s narrative structure. 10. Name the fourth stage in Todorov’s narrative structure. 11. Name the final stage in Todorov’s narrative structure. 12. Name all of Propp’s character types. 13. One. 14. Two 15. Three 16. Four 17. Five 18. Six 19. Seven 20. Example - Binary Opposition. 21. Who came up with the theory of Binary Oppositions?