Narrative is defined as ‘a chain of events in a cause-effect relationship occuring in time’. Vladimir propp also put forward the idea that characters can be more than one character type. Todorovs theory is the most conventional used by a lot of the hollywood blockbusters as it is a typical, clear structure for a narrative.
Evaluation Question 1 In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Short films Short films generally have very little number of people due to the fact there is not enough time for many characters to be introduced. It is often hard to find a genre that typically fits it as there is sometimes not even enough time for one to be clear. However, in mainstream Blockbuster films follow conventions of genre and narrative which appeal to a vast range of target audiences. An example of a short film I have studied is ‘Across The Hall’ which is a thriller. This short film is also a very good example of what can happen for short films; it has been re-constructed to become a mainstream blockbuster film due to the popularity and success at film festivals. This means that more from the film is revealed and narrative can be fully introduced.
Narrative In my short film, Latent Love, I challenged Vladimir Propp’s theory of narrative which suggested that characters took on the role of narrative ‘spheres of action’ or functions. He also came up with different character types, the three I used were the ‘Hero’, ‘Princess’ and ‘False Hero’. Another theory of narrative is Todorovs theory which is the most conventional, it is in 5 stages: Techniques of narrative I challenged were objective character identification which involved the use of flashbacks so the audience can see into the characters mind/memories. Most mainstream blockbusters use this as it explains the narrative in greater detail and unfolds the story.
Genre Films such as a horror have to follow a sufficient number of generic conventions in order to be recognised. Nick Lacey devised a basic schema of genre which includes characters, setting, iconography, narrative/theme, style and stars. This is how I applied my short film to Nick laceys theory:
Short Film Influences My film includes the aspects of time, technology, romance, tragedy and symbolism. Short films which I have studied influenced my short film, for example: ‘George Lucas in Love’ – includes the elements of love and comedy. ‘I’m Here’ – Based on romance using typical narrative conventions. ‘Across the Hall’ – The genre of Across the Hall is mainly thriller however, it relates to my film as it includes the elements of tragedy.
Mainstream Influences As my film has the genre of a ‘chick flick’, there are many films which can easily be compared to mine. This is mainly due to the typical narrative structure. Here are some examples of blockbuster influences: ‘Bridget Jones’ – this relates to my short film with the symbolism of a diary to express the modern girls emotions and thoughts to the audience. ‘My Best Friends Wedding’ – this reflects the actual narrative storyline of my short with choosing ‘the best friend’.
Style Lighting: In mainstream media products, lighting is used to direct the audiences eyes on the main attraction of that particular scene. I used this in my short film to make the audience understand the narrative more and to focus on a certain point. Camera Angles: Following on from my AS coursework last year, I already had some camera skills, but now I could adapt and develop them. I was able to use techniques such as panning and shot reverse shot. These allowed more variety in my film to appeal to the audience. Techniques like these are used in real media products for example mainstream/blockbuster films.
Music and Voice-overs Following my conventional ‘chick flick’ genre theme, my end credits music relates to this as it is slow and acoustic. I did this so the audience can relate to the film more and understand the genre I was putting across. I also used sound effects from GarageBand to add to the dramatic/tragic scenes. For example, when the cars crash I used a ‘AutoMobile’ sound effect of a destructive crash, this then became obvious to the audience what happened in that scene. I used the technique of voice-overs when my character is reading from a diary, this allows the audience to feel more personal with the character and like they can understand their thoughts and feelings. I think this adds to the ‘chick flick’ element as it can be seen as symbolism of a young, modern girl of today.
Ending My film follows a conventional and typical narrative. This helps the flow of my film to have a linear narrative. As it is a romantic/chick flick hybrid, I wanted the ending to be something typical that the audience can relate to and clearly understand. I therefore followed Todorovs theory of narrative so the ending of my film becomes resolved. This therefore makes my film flow easier and does not complicate the audience as this genre is not typical of that feature.
My Poster As part of my ancillary task, I created a Film Poster promoting my short film. I looked into mainstream influences of film posters to push my in the right direction. I followed a typical convention of including the main characters on the poster, having a tag line and following the conventional bright colours for a chick flick genre. As I was creating this poster to promote my short film, I included star ratings from ‘film festivals’ which would appeal to the audience. Looking back at the lesson I analysed poster, I included looking at things liketag lines, titles, main image. Therefore I included these techniques in my poster to make it more reflective of a real media product.