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  1. 1. Narrative By Eden Taylor
  2. 2. What is Narrative?
  3. 3. The way in which a story is told • Narrative tell a story through a sequence of actions or events • They maybe very simple or complex • Structuralist analyses have suggested that many narratives involved a relatively limited number of key characters (or character functions) the hero or the villain for example.
  4. 4. Claude Lévi-Strauss- Binary opposition • In critical theory, a binary opposition (also binary system) is a pair of terms or concepts that are theoretical opposites. • A binary opposition is a pair of opposites, thought by the Structuralist to powerfully form and organize human thought and culture. Some are common- sense, such as raw vs. cooked; however, many such oppositions imply or are used in such a way that privileges one of the terms of the opposition, creating a hierarchy in the case of media and films it could be the binary opposition of hero vs. villain in the fact that there are subjected to being opposite when in fact characters can have traits of both.
  5. 5. The two different narratives Another important distinction in narrative is between OPEN and CLOSED texts.
  6. 6. Open Narratives Eg. Television and radio soap operas • No sense of ending – could go on for ever, eg Coronation Street • Many more characters – characters shift in and out of prominence and narrative function • More than one story line • Time is more chronological and more with the ‘world time’ • Different knowledge of characters for the audience to that of characters in films
  7. 7. Open Narratives • The texts of modernism and postmodernism are often more open in that the links between different aspects of the narrative require more work on the part of the viewer to understand the concepts.
  8. 8. Example of an Open Narrative • Coronation Street reaching its fifteenth year • Narrative function – this weeks villain may become next weeks hero... • Christmas day programmes are shown on Christmas day – also references to events happening in the ‘real world’ such as love actually. • Audiences are assumed to have different kinds of memory, and knowledge of a long running soap. Magazines, television, the press often speculate about actors’ contracts and thus the fate of characters.
  9. 9. Love Actually • Love Actually is a 2003 romantic comedy film written and directed by Richard Curtis. The screenplay delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as their tales progress. The ensemble cast is composed predominantly of British actors. • Set in London, the film begins five weeks before Christmas and is played out in a weekly countdown until the holiday, followed by an epilogue that takes place one month later. • The film was also released in November 2003 which is also 1 month before Christmas which relates perfectly back into the story line
  10. 10. Closed Narratives • ‘Tight’ reading involved; the audience is aware that they are watching a complete story so therefore reading with a likely end in mind • Often the audience are invited to make ‘verdicts’ of the characters, identifying narrative roles such as the hero, villain, victim ect.
  11. 11. Closed Narratives More relevant to films and cinema • Depth set up with interior voice-overs giving characters’ thoughts, hallucinations etc. • There is a small number of central characters; ‘depth’ of audience knowledge often set up • Characters arranged in a ‘hierarchy’ of importance • Audiences invited to make ‘verdicts’ on the characters • Unlike Open Narratives, time is compressed and not with the ‘real time’ • Times and events are usually special to this particular story and not linked to the outside world • Audience usually has evidence about the characters only from this single text – plus star, publicity and genre expectations
  12. 12. Time in Closed Narratives • Time usually is very compressed; a typical two hour of screen time constructs of events happening over months, years and sometimes centuries • Time and events are usually special to this particular story, and need have no resemblance to the viewer’s world, through specific reference is possible as are flashbacks and flash forwards
  13. 13. Donnie Darko & The Butterfly Effect • Female voice seems as if she is recalling this young boys life but in fact he narrates him own through the film • A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident • There Is not sense of a chronological order which only adds to the disturbance as we are taken through flashbacks where cause and effect of ones actions are of importance. • This films is in relation to ‘the butterfly effect’ • The way in which his actions occur result in alternate endings, the main character returns to different parts of his life as a mixed up child changing events that ultimately end in his death rather than a death of a lover – Donnie Darko – The Butterfly Effect
  14. 14. Gérard Genette Order • Say a story is narrated as follows: the clues of a murder are discovered by a detective (event A); the circumstances of the murder are finally revealed (event B); and lastly the murderer is caught (event C). • Add corresponding numbers to the lettered events that represent their order chronologically: 1, 2, and 3. • If these events were described chronologically, they would run B1, A2, C3. Arranged in the text, however, they run A2 (discovery), B1 (flashback), C3 (resolution). • This accounts for the 'obvious' effects the reader will recognise, such as flashback. It also deals with the structure of narratives on a more systematic basis, accounting for flash-forward, simultaneity, as well as possible, if rarely used effects.
  15. 15. Soviet montage theory • What is it? - Soviet montage theory is an approach to understanding and creating cinema that relies heavily upon editing
  16. 16. Methods of montage • Metric - where the editing follows a specific number of frames (based purely on the physical nature of time), cutting to the next shot no matter what is happening within the image. This montage is used to elicit the most basal and emotional of reactions in the audience • Rhythmic - includes cutting based on time, but using the visual composition of the shots -- along with a change in the speed of the metric cuts -- to induce more complex meanings than what is possible with metric montage. Once sound was introduced, rhythmic montage also included audial elements (music, dialogue, sounds). • Tonal - a tonal montage uses the emotional meaning of the shots -- not just manipulating the temporal length of the cuts or its rhythmical characteristics -- to elicit a reaction from the audience even more complex than from the metric or rhythmic montage. For example, a sleeping baby would emote calmness and relaxation.
  17. 17. Methods of montage • Over tonal/Associational - the over tonal montage is the cumulation of metric, rhythmic, and tonal montage to synthesize its effect on the audience for an even more abstract and complicated effect. • Intellectual - uses shots which, combined, elicit an intellectual meaning Eisenstein argues that montage, especially intellectual montage, is an alternative system to continuity editing
  18. 18. Continuity Editing • A process in film and television that ensures that details are consistent through the narrative. Example- the continuity person will make sure that the actor’s hairstyle does not change from shot to shot ect. • Continuity editing is the predominant style of editing in narrative cinema and television. The purpose of continuity editing is to smooth over the inherent discontinuity of the editing process and to establish a logical coherence between shots • Continuity editing can be divided into two categories: temporal continuity and spatial continuity. Within each category, specific techniques can either promote or work against a sense of continuity
  19. 19. Discontinuous editing • Discontinuous editing describes the deliberate or accidental violation of rules of continuity when editing films. As a deliberate technique, it may be used to connote authenticity or to create alienation. The viewer's expectation of continuity can be violated by such methods as changing image size or tone between shots, changing direction or changing shots before the viewer has time to recognize what is happening .It is also known as montage editing, and employs a series of often rapid and non-matching cuts which creates a style the audience is conspicuously aware of or alternatively that create uneven and unpredictable rhythms and emphasize the rapidity of movement between images.
  20. 20. Gérard Genette Frequency • The separation between an event and its narration allows several possibilities. • An event can occur once and be narrated once (singular). – 'Today I went to the shop.' • An event can occur n times and be narrated once (iterative). – 'I used to go to the shop.' • An event can occur once and be narrated n times (repetitive). – 'Today I went to the shop' + 'Today he went to the shop' etc. • An event can occur n times and be narrated n times (multiple). – 'I used to go to the shop' + 'He used to go to the shop' + 'I went to the shop yesterday'
  21. 21. Gérard Genette Duration • The separation between an event and its narration means that there is discourse time and narrative time. These are the two main elements of duration. • "Five years passed", has a lengthy discourse time, five years, but a short narrative time (it only took a second to read).
  22. 22. Gérard Genette Voice • Voice is concerned with who narrates, and from where. This can be split four ways. • Where the narration is from – Intra-diegetic: inside the text. – Extra-diegetic: outside the text – Is the narrator a character in the story? – Hetero-diegetic: the narrator is not a character in the story – Homo-diegetic: the narrator is a character in the story.
  23. 23. Gérard Genette Mood • Genette said narrative mood is dependent on the 'distance' and 'perspective' of the narrator, and like music, narrative mood has predominant patterns. It is related to voice. • Distance of the narrator changes with narrated speech, transposed speech and reported speech. • Perspective of the narrator is called focalisation. Narratives can be non-focalized, internally focalized or externally focalized
  24. 24. Propp Theory • Vladimir Propp developed a character theory for studying media texts, which indicates that there were 8 broad character types in the 100 tales he analysed, which could be applied to other media • Certain characters (animate or inanimate) are linked to certain elements in predictable ways – he calls these the ‘spheres of action’ • Propp assumes a linear narrative which makes flashbacks problematic because it disturbs the linear narrative – link to postmodernism
  25. 25. Propp’s character types Roles or spheres of action, Propp argued, make sense of the ways in which many different figures can be reduced to 8 significant roles- not the same as the actual characters since one character can occupy several roles these are: 1- the villain 2- the hero: or character who seeks something, usually motivated by an initial lack- of money, or a mother for example: (‘hero’ is one of those terms that does not mean the same within theory as it does in life outside, where ‘hero’ usually refers to a male, and ‘heroic’ has moral connotations of ‘admirable’ or ‘good’.
  26. 26. Propp’s character types 3- the donor: who provides an object with some magic property 4- the helper: who aids the hero 5- the princess: reward for the hero and often object of the villains schemes 6- her father: who rewards the hero 7- the dispatcher: who sends the hero on his way 8- the false hero
  27. 27. Todorov Theory - Todorov proposed a basic structure for all narratives. He stated that films and programmes begin with an equilibrium, a calm period. # -Then agents of disruption cause disequilibrium, a period of unsettlement and disquiet. - This is then followed by a renewed state of peace and harmony for the protagonists and a new equilibrium brings the chaos to an end. The simplest form of narrative (sometimes referred to as ‘Classic’ or ‘Hollywood’ narrative.
  28. 28. Roland Barthes • “ in the control of the flow of information we are often teased by a riddle that requires us to guess the next piece of information to be revealed”
  29. 29. Barthes' Five Codes
  30. 30. Barthes Theory- The Enigma Code • The enigma is a useful narrative device to keep the reader interested by whetting his/her appetite to find out more. • The narrative will establish enigmas or mysteries as it goes along. Essentially the narrative functions to establish and then solve these mysteries. • Enigmas are very common in thrillers are horrors whereby the victim is trying to solve the murders intentions and as to why the mayhem is occurring or in other story lines who exactly is the villain
  31. 31. Barthes Theory- Hermeneutic Code (enigma code) • The Hermeneutic Code refers to any element of the story that is not fully explained and hence becomes a mystery to the reader. • The full truth is often avoided, for example in: • Snares: deliberately avoiding the truth. • Equivocations: partial or incomplete answers. • Jamming's: openly acknowledge that there is no answer to a problem. • The purpose of the author in this is typically to keep the audience guessing, arresting the enigma, until the final scenes when all is revealed and all loose ends are tied off and closure is achieved.
  32. 32. Barthes Theory- The Proairetic Code • The Proairetic Code also builds tension, referring to any other action or event that indicates something else is going to happen, and which hence gets the reader guessing as to what will happen next. • The Hermeneutic and Proairetic Codes work as a pair to develop the story's tensions and keep the reader interested. Barthes described them as: • "...dependent on ... two sequential codes: the revelation of truth and the coordination of the actions represented: there is the same constraint in the gradual order of melody and in the equally gradual order of the narrative sequence."
  33. 33. Barthes Theory- The Semantic Code • This code refers to connotation within the story that gives additional meaning over the basic denotative meaning of the word. • It is by the use of extended meaning that can be applied to words that authors can paint rich pictures with relatively limited text and the way they do this is a common indication of their writing skills. • Connotation-the associated or secondary meaning of a word or expression in addition to its explicit or primary meaning • Denotation-the explicit or direct meaning or set of meanings of a word or expression, as distinguished from the ideas or meanings associated with it or suggested by it
  34. 34. Barthes Theory-The Symbolic Code • This is very similar to the Semantic Code, but acts at a wider level, organizing semantic meanings into broader and deeper sets of meaning. • This is typically done in the use of antithesis, where new meaning arises out of opposing and conflict ideas.
  35. 35. Barthes Theory-The Cultural Code • This code refers to anything that is founded on some kind of canonical works that cannot be challenged and is assumed to be a foundation for truth. • Typically this involves either science or religion, although other canons such as magical truths may be used in fantasy stories. The Gnomic Code is a cultural code that particularly refers to sayings, proverbs, clichés and other common meaning-giving word sets.
  36. 36. David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson • Bordwell and Thompson define narrative as ‘ a chain of events in cause effect relationship in time and space’.
  37. 37. Plot & Story • Plot- A plot is a series of events deliberately arranged so as to reveal their dramatic, thematic, and emotional significance. The plot is the meat and bones of the story. It can be charted and outlined to highlight the critical events during a movie, book, or TV show. The plot is developed in order to create a better story • Story- A story is a series of events recorded in their chronological order. The story is the idea, the general theme, and the loose interpretation of the event in its entirety.
  38. 38. David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson • “when we speak of going to the movies, we almost always mean we are going to see a narrative film” • “part of the pleasure of going to the cinema is the opportunity to suspend disbelief and to become engrossed in the ‘invisible’ process of story telling”
  39. 39. David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson’s cause and effects Characters- characters in narratives are not real people (even when the characters are based upon historical personages) characters are constructed in a narrative; they are collections of character traits. •Character traits can involved attitudes, skills, preferences, psychological drives, details of dress and appearances and any other specific quality the film creates for a character Example- a rich character such as Sherlock Holmes has a mass of traits (love of music, addiction to cocaine, skills in disguise and so on ) where as a minor character may only have one or two traits
  40. 40. Cause and Effects Supernatural- Greek plays and the book of Genesis , God causes the earth to form Natural- in so called disaster movies, tidal waves or earthquakes maybe the cause that precipitates a series of actions on the parts of the characters. •Jaws 1975: (may anthropomorphize these natural causes by assigning human traits) In this case the shark is terrorises a community by becoming personified as vengeful and cunning. It is described as a mindless eating machine
  41. 41. The Voice Over • The Voiceover (including words on screen) is one of the most frequently used conventions of the trailer genre. It is used for several reasons: - Helps the audience to make sense of the narrative by giving us background, such as where the action is set - It showcases the stars appearing in the film - Gives information about the filmmakers behind the film such as the director and producer and their previous work - Helps to build a sense of anticipation about the films release - Sets the tone for the film - Can summarise the story in between 5-8 lines. It does not give away the ending but helps us. - Helps to anticipate what is to come; some trailers rely on words on the screen or characters dialogue rather than a voice over. Music can also play a important part alongside these features of a trailer
  42. 42. Here is a few example from films in which way there have managed to narrate their trailers across to their potential audience
  43. 43. How To Train Your Dragon • Narrated through the use of the character in animation (Homo-diegetic) • The character is narrating his life within the story being told • As he is telling his story, we are also shown a brief overview the setting as well as the story line • Characters are introduced through actions • Lines of dialogue are juxtaposed next to one another to give the impression of a complete conversation and story • Character traits are reviewed through their actions, costumes and voices and the personality of the character being played. • Titles from DreamWorks animation are also narrating the genre of film through text and audience relation to DreamWorks previous films • There is also some tense music played to portray either action scenes or dramatic tense moments • Text is also used to announce important aspects of the film
  44. 44. Tenacious D • Narrated through what we think is the character but in fact is narrated through the characters own self as he is well known in the comedy world on cinema (Homo-diegetic) • Introduced himself and his brother who is also in the film as ‘dudes’ this adds to the comedy and also is a clever way of introducing the main characters as being themselves. • The characters simply act themselves throughout this film • The main theme and storyline of the film is also backed up by the help of instruments such as guitars that are constantly shown throughout and music is also being played throughout this trailer • The main character is also using his notion that he is good at being this comedian by imitating the comedy voice over in his own personal style and voice
  45. 45. Gone In 60 Seconds • Narrates the genre though fast action shots • Very unique as it is a female voice over, this holds power creating a strong aggressive and slightly seductive feel towards younger male audience as this is typically targeted towards • Interacts with the audience on the basis of buying their tickets, and popcorn in relation to the main story line and characters to ‘steal your car’ this gives the storyline in a few short nappy lines that relate back to you as an audience watching this trailer in the cinema and immediately gets you involved and attracted • text is also used here in cooperation with the female voice over to support her sense of identity in being a strong independent female (she almost sounds dangerous or involved in the crime within the film) • The 60 second timer is also narrating the time taken to watch the trailer from them stealing the actual cars against a ticking timer as it counts down, this narrates the time scale and storyline of the overall film itself being condensed into a 60 second powerful clip • Narrator is not part of the film (Hetero-diegetic)
  46. 46. Paranormal Activity 2 • Has no voice over which gives this particular genre one of its conventions of being awkward and eerie • Titles have been added that communicate directly with the audience, showing that this is a trailer based on a high demand for me from previous films in this sequel • As if we are looking through a camcorder, gives it a sense of reality • Very dark and has lots of static, this uses narrative paranormal causes as well as creating suspense and tension amongst the viewers • Strong fast movement is contrasted against slow passé movement building up the suspense of the film • The text also narrates what previously has happened and what we can expect from the sequel along side the moving images and snap camcorder shots as there is not speech in this narrative • Relates to the audience on their level by showing a snap shot of a cinema full of people watching the original
  47. 47. Mode of Address The way that a media product ‘speaks’ to the audience Parallel Action: - Aspects within the context of a story that are happening simultaneously with the primary performer’s situation. - The technique is employed in the editing process where the projected image goes band and forth between the primary and secondary scene. Polysemy: The ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used to express two or more different meanings
  48. 48. Mode of Address Continuity editing: - A predominant style of editing in narrative cinema and television - The purpose is to smooth over the inherent discontinuity of the editing process and to establish a logical coherence between shots. - Most film sequences are edited so that time seems to flow, uninterrupted, from shot to shot. Multi-strand Narrative: Telling a story from more than one person’s point of view or two stories of two different people that intertwine. Non-linear Narrative: - ‘Disjointed’ or ‘disrupted’ narrative is a narrative technique. - Sometimes used in literature, film, hypertext websites and other narratives, where events are portrayed out of chronological order. - Often used to mimic the structure and recall of human memory but has been applied for other reasons.
  49. 49. Carl Jung - Archetype • An archetype is an original model of a person, ideal example, or a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated; a symbol universally recognized by all • In the analysis of personality, the term archetype is often broadly used to refer to • a stereotype—personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of such a type, • an epitome—personality type exemplified, especially the "greatest" such example, or • a literary term to express details. • Archetype refers to a generic version of a personality. In this sense "mother figure" may be considered an archetype and may be identified in various characters with otherwise distinct (non-generic) personalities
  50. 50. Archetype Example • For example this particular trailer from ‘white chicks’ over exaggerates the stereotypical roles of women and also the stereotyped version of a ‘dumb blonde’ • They act over the top • Hair and make up is over done and extreme with the brilliant blonde hair and pale faces • Shopping is made an important role associated with the characters • Played by male impersonators • Girlish screaming, crying, music, clothes • Everything is just don’t over the top
  51. 51. References • Teachers help • GILL BRANSTON ROY and STAFFORD- the Media Student’s Book (Fourth Edition) • NICHOLAS ABERCROMBIE & BRIAN LONGHURST-Dictionary of MEDIA STUDIES • MEDIA STUDIES: The Essential resource- Phillip Rayner, Peter Wall and Stephen Krunger • elling/articles/barthes_five_codes.htm