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Film narrative part 1

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  • 1. FILM NARRATIVE (PART 1)
  • 2. PART 1 L/O: -to know what narrative is -to be able to define it -to be able to identify narrative in a film -to be able to apply existing knowledge of stories (from books) and their narrative structure and apply this in relation to film narrative -to be able to apply knowledge and definitions of narrative to an existing film; and explain the narrative structure by using key terms by creating a PowerPoint with annotated screen grabs as evidence 
  • 3. Key Terms           Narrative Story Plot Implicit Narrative Explicit Narrative Structure Linear and non-linear narrative Genre: codes & conventions Actions Events
  • 4. Narrative is….     A) B) C) D) the telling of a story the story the plot all of the above
  • 5. Answer is…..A  A) the telling of a story Or -the way the story is told -message that tells the particulars of an act or occurrence or course of events -a chain of events in a cause-effect relationship occurring in time Ex. Girl is lonely, goes out for coffee, gets lost, needs help, asks a man for directions, they fancy each other, he asks her out, they go on date, they fall in love, get married, the end. (girl in love (cause) causes things to happen (effects)
  • 6. Implicit/explicit   Explicit = clear, obvious, plain, open, unambiguous An explicit narrative is a narrative that is very clear and obvious, likely to be linear.  Implicit = unclear, ambiguous, hidden, inherent, implied, embedded  An explicit narrative is a narrative that is perhaps confusing or ambiguous on purpose. It might be to confuse the audience, create enigma or suspense.
  • 7. Story, plot, event STORY = all events referenced both explicitly (clearly/obviously) in a narrative and understood and summarized  PLOT = The events directly incorporated into the action of the text and the order in which they are presented  Events = something that happens in story to character, something that impacts them, (usually they have very little control)  Ex. Character getting hit by a car 
  • 8. Fairy Tales – common narrative (starter)   A) B) C) D) E) F) G) H) I) J) K) Think of how you were told stories when you were little Put this story in the „correct order‟ in terms of your understanding and familiarity from your childhood and the media A massive heroic battle occurs between villain and prince Prince wins and prince accepts girl for who she is and they are in love Girl is born to lovely parents And they lived happily ever after Prince and girl get married and she is now princess Girl is living her daily life as a poor girl, but she is happy, giving, beautiful and one with nature She suffers an unfair loss, (maybe by villain) (audience feel sympathy) They separate and because they are star cross‟d lovers she runs off, but he is determined to get her Once upon a time…. Girl‟s parents die in a tragedy A prince discovers her and falls in love with her
  • 9. Starter - The correct order 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. (I) Once upon a time… (C) Girl is born to lovely parents (J) Girl‟s parents die in a tragedy (F) Girl is living her daily life as a poor girl, but she is happy, giving, beautiful and one with nature (G) She suffers an unfair loss, (maybe by villain) (audience feel sympathy) (K) A prince discovers her and falls in love with her (H) They separate and because they are star cross‟d lovers she runs off, but he is determined to get her (A) A massive heroic battle occurs between villain and prince (B) Prince wins and prince accepts girl for who she is and they are in love (E) Prince and girl get married and she is now princess (D) And they lived happily ever after.
  • 10. Intro to narrative Our experiences of film and fictional TV lead us to form expectations based on the type of text that we are watching, which in turn enable us to make sense of what we watch and „read‟ from the text. We form expectations based on GENRE, CHARACTER, STYLE, and FORMAT, and even the INSTITUTION that has produced the text. Our expectations regarding narrative relate to one of the most basic human activities: storytelling, the casual relationship between one event and another. Just as we are able to „report‟ on our own lives, we also become skilled/familiar at a very early age at engaging with the plot of a TV programme or film. Most fictional narratives also fulfill another basic psychological need for a resolution to any event, although the journey toward this resolution and the time taken to reach it differ between texts, (example a drama film and a comedy sit-com are different). We watch so much TV/film that we might get bored with the certainty of this cause/effect structure, but we enjoy anticipating the sequence of events and the potential resolution, and there are of course, more challenging texts which both confuse and/or amaze our expectations.
  • 11. Where else is narrative?  Think of Shakespeare, how is play divided?   ACT 1 ACT 2 ACT 3…  Can you think of any other narrative styles? 
  • 12. Narrative theory (intro) Narrative theory involves studying the conventions and structures of stories represented in the media. Films and fictional TV shows are comprehensible (understandable, logical, clear) and therefore enjoyable because they tell fictional stories which are organized in ways that reflect the patterns and structures of our „real‟ lives. This pattern of events in a film reflects the chronology (order) of real life, but more importantly, the causality (cause – why things happen). David Bordwell says “Action triggers reaction: each step has an effect which in turn becomes a new cause.” It is this motivational relationship between events that creates narrative. We become involved with the chain of events and start to anticipate their progress and possible conclusion.
  • 13. Hollywood/mainstream films Most mainstream films will tend to have plots which follow the chronological chain of story events. Example: Sleeping Beauty (starts with birth, growing up, meeting and process of falling in love) However, many examples of films do not follow this format. Example: Momento (works backwards in time revealing past events to give clues/answers of his initial actions This text is a challenge to modern audiences who are still fundamentally expecting linearity. (linear = like a line, obvious order: beginning to end) However, it is a useful example of how narrative structures can reflect the mood, and in this case, confusion of a story. (just like how the main character feels) If this film was told chronologically, this narrative would have far less impact and just be another typical crime film.
  • 14. Linear/non-linear Linear narrative: -narrative where time is presented chronologically (in order)  Non-linear narrative: -narrative where time is not presented chronogically in order to communicate desired effects (Example: film starting with a flashback) and then going forward in time to when was thinking about that event)
  • 15. Genre  - Whenever we receive a media text, our response to that text are framed by the genre of the text. We expect certain things of the text, depending on the genre. If we are receiving an action film, what do you expect?
  • 16. Link to Stam‟s theory  Think of Grant‟s theory: “…allows audiences to identify them specifically by their familiar and what become recognizable characteristics” The film industry relies on audience‟s understanding and familiarity of GENRE and their familiar codes and conventions. Example  MARKETING: relies on audience familiarity (horror film posters and trailers (they know we recognize the iconography and connotations of them)   Narrative is a one of the familiar codes and conventions. You already have expectations of how a story is going to be told
  • 17. Action and events An action is something a character does to themselves, an object or another character. An event is something that happens to the character. (Example being hit by car (unless another character intentionally hit another character on purpose then it is action) A narrative is usually a serious of events and actions and the audience‟s expectations at any stage are often related to the pattern of events and actions taking place.
  • 18. What are common narrative structures for most films?  Discuss with partner/group for 2 mins ….  Beginning = equilibrium (normalcy/balanced)  Middle = disequilibrium (conflict)  End = new equilibrium (resolution – „new normalcy‟
  • 19. Common narrative structure (Hollywood/mainstream films) ACT 1 = (beginning) …….(set up) introduction to story/characters, everything is „ok‟ (audience feel ok), end of 1 = start to „crisis‟  ACT 2 = (middle) ……….(conflict) height of crisis (audience feel worried) working towards resolving the crisis  ACT 3 = (end) ……..(resolution) happy resolution and everything is „ok‟ (audience feel happy)    *Think of how relates to Grants theory = must be familiar and recognizable codes and conventions *Think of how this relates to Chomsky (to diverge audience from real problems/hardhitting texts)
  • 20. Common narrative structure diagram
  • 21. Common narrative structure diagram Conventional Film structure How audience feel
  • 22. Task  In pairs, think of a film that applies this format/structure:  Explain how it uses this format by describing what happens in film  Extension: why has this film been formatted this way?
  • 23. PROS CONS (10-15 mins) PROS OF CONVENTIONAL FILM CONS OF CONVENTIONAL FILM NARRATIVE MODEL NARRATIVE MODEL  Identify the pro‟s/con‟s…. (minimum 4 bullet points each)