Narrative Theory:Applying the conceptLook carefully at your media text at how the story is structured and howthe audience is positioned (i.e. who are we led to identify with?)Consider the following (if relevant): How the narrative is organised and structured. How the conflict is established and how it is resolved The construction of the characters in the text and how we are led to relate to them How heroes and villains are created within the text The importance of sound, music, iconography, mise-en- scene, editing and other technical features in telling the story. How the themes and ideas are put forward in the story. Is your narrative open or closed?
Your chosen text :1. Summarise the lyrics/dialogue in your text.2. Are there key lines that you chose to give visual dominance to?
Importance of the mise-en-scene in your narrativeDoes your mise-en-scene: Add authenticity to your singer/ band/characters? Is it key to establishing setting and relationships? Is it part of the voyeuristic context e.g. By suggesting a setting associated with sexual allure like a sleazy nightclub or boudoir? Is it to emphasise an aspirational lifestyle for the audience (John Stewart)?
Theories You must apply at least 2 theories to your work. Apply the theories which are relevant to your chosen media text…
Vladimir ProppAfter analysing folk tales, Propp developed a theory that within each narrativethere are a set of stock characters, which reappear in every storyline.These roles are: Hero – Person on the quest Princess – Prize for the hero Helper – Helps the hero on his quest False hero – Somebody who believes they are the hero Dispatcher – Sends the hero on their quest Father – Rewards the hero Villain – Attempts to stop the hero on his quest Donor – Provides objects to help the hero on his questCan you apply Propp to your text?
Roland BarthesBarthes was a French semiologist who identified 5 different codes by which anarrative engages the attention of the audience.In order of importance these are: The enigma code- the audience is intrigued by the need to solve a problem The action code – the audience is excited by the need to resolve a problem The semantic code – the audience is directed towards an additional meaning by way of connotation The symbolic code – the audience assumes that a character dressed in black is evil or menacing and forms expectations of his/ her behaviour on this basis The cultural code – the audience derives meaning in a text from shared cultural knowledge about the way the world works.Can you apply any of Barthes’ codes to your chosen text?
Levi-StraussLevi-Strauss‟ theory dictated that in every media textthere are binary oppositions, or a conflict between twoopposites. The audience subsequently are aware ofwho they should side with, and this technique can alsohelp create a political theme within a text. For example: Good & Bad Rich & Poor Eastern & Western World Love & HateCan you apply Levi-Strauss’ theory of binary oppositesto your text?
TodorovTodorov‟s theory states that in a media text there are five stages. ORIGINAL EQUILIBRIUM (normality) DISRUPTION RECOGNITION (of disruption) ATTEMPT TO RESTORE original equilibrium NEW EQUILIBRIUMCan you apply Todorov’s theory to your text?
Andrew Goodwin Is your narrative: Illustrative? (images provide a literal representation) Amplifying? (repetition of key meanings and effects to manipulate the audience) Disjuncture?: (When the meaning of the song is completely ignored)
Steve Archer, 2004 “videos tend to only suggest storylines and focus on fragments of the lyrics” (Steve Archer). “Often, music videos will cut between a narrative and a performance of the song by the band. Additionally, a carefully choreographed dance might be part of the artist‟s performance or an extra aspect of the video designed to aid visualisation and the „repeatability‟ factor. Sometimes, the artist (especially the singer) will be part of the story , acting as narrator and participant at the same time. But it is the lip synch close-up and the miming of playing instrument s that remains at the heart of music videos, as if to assure us that the band really can kick it.”Can you apply Steve Archer’s theory to your text?
The Main Artist1. What role does the artist play in your music video – narrator, protagonist or both? Is the video a vehicle for the artist’s star persona? (Refer back to Andrew Goodwin)1. Did you chose a subjective or objective character identity in your music video and why?(Subjective character identity – a range ofcharacters „stories‟ or points of view are shown.Objective character identity – one characters storyor point of view is shown)
Music videos can be characterized by 3 broad typologies, Firth 1988: Performance (to convey a sense of the in-concert experience) "Performance oriented visuals cue viewers that the recording of the music is the most significant element. (BUT see John Berger) Narrative (linear, love stories most popular – “Action in the story is dominated by males who do things and females who passively react or wait for something to happen” (Schwichtenberg, 1992)). Conceptual (metaphors to create a mood, offer multiple meanings)These types describe the form and content selected by the director or artistto attract viewers and to convey a direct or indirect message.They can act as extended advertisements, as popular art forms or as self-referential filmic texts (e.g Madonna videos) Which typology does your music video fit into?
Applying Andrew GoodwinWhat is the is a relationship between lyrics andvisuals and music?Is your narrative: Illustrative? (images provide a literal representation) Amplifying? (repetition of key meanings and effects to manipulate the audience) Disjuncture?: (When the meaning of the song is completely ignored)
Narrative Video Codes To what extent does your music video feature these narrative video codes? Narratives are rarely complex for two reasons: 1. They need to market or advertise the band/artist and song so must feature ‘repeatability’ In other words the narrative code must be „loose‟ or simply „suggestive‟ rather than „realistic‟ or „detailed‟. This is because music video audiences need to be able to watch videos repeatedly and a tight realist narrative would prove too boring after the first couple of viewings. Musical Synaesthesia only requires the musical or lyrical „mood‟ to latch onto to develop a narrative concept. 2. Musical Synaesthesia – the two elements of the song which determine the visual subject matter or overall concept Roland Barthes theory of “the grain of voice” whereby the vocal sounds can be understood as music in themselves eg Michael Jackson‟s „yelp‟ or Fantasia‟s „yeh, yeh, yeh..” or the tone of voice of the words which are the song title themselves e.g Bjork‟s „It‟s Oh So Quiet‟ The dominant musical arrangement that dictates the overall mood. This could be a key guitar sound(the bassline in „Sabotage‟ The Beastie Boys) or a particular beat („Weapon of Choice‟ Fatboy Slim) Once the director has identified what he/she thinks is the key vocal or musical element then this may be used to tap into the audience‟s sense of shared cultural history or intertextuality e.g. The steel guitar=the American Deep South and desert plains A group of choral voices=places of religious significance e.g. a church, graveside etc A R‟n‟B beat or bassline=an urban landscape in a downtown American city
Performance video codesDoes your narrative contain these codes? Conventions of the band performance: a degree of authenticity of the performance is sought by the band and the director so we find lip-sync close-up, mimed playing of instruments, repetition of chorus shots to enhance „repeatability‟, unusual camera shots and angles e.g. the micro camera shots attached to the neck of a guitar, sweeping crane shots to film audience reaction to the band playing etc Conventions of solo artist performance: many of the above plus choreographed dance routines to enhance „repeatability‟, a first person mode of address directly engaging the viewer through the camera which involves many close up shots of eyes rolling and gesturing (see how these conventions have been adopted by „Pop Idol‟ contestants in a bid to appear professional and authentic)and if the video is a hybrid form cutting between performance and narrative then the solo artist or band lead singer often becomes part of the narrative story, acting as narrator and participant at the same time (see Jarvis Cocker in Pulp’s video for „Babies‟)