Narrative is the art of telling a story – so it is more than just the story, it is how the story is told . Narrative
1. Story & Plot - Bordwell & Thompson 2. Enigma Codes – Roland Barthes Narrative Theories & Theorists
<ul><li>BORDWELL & THOMPSON </li></ul><ul><li>"The term plot is used to describe everything visible and audibly present in the film before us" (Bordwell and Thompson) </li></ul><ul><li>"The set of all the events in a narrative, both the ones explicitly presented and those the viewer infers, composes the story" (Bordwell and Thompson) </li></ul><ul><li>In other words, the story is the combination of the entire sequence of events that is shown as well as everything that we conclude has happened but is not shown. </li></ul>Plot & Story...
<ul><li>In summary </li></ul><ul><li>Plot : </li></ul><ul><li>The explicit presentation of the events (which is usually less than the story and may be in a different order, eg. Go or Pulp Fiction ). </li></ul><ul><li>Story: </li></ul><ul><li>All the events - both those that are visually represented and those that are inferred. </li></ul>Plot & Story...
<ul><li>Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit : Expressing all details in a clear and obvious way leaving no doubt as to the intended meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Infer : To conclude something on the basis of evidence or reasoning. </li></ul>Plot & Story...
<ul><li>The key to narrative analysis is to consider the wider story rather than simply describing the plot. There are elements of any narrative that we are expected to presume or infer, simply because it would be impossible to explicitly state everything. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes the plot may deliberately obscure elements of story to keep us intrigued (as in mysteries). Many art house films are less dependant upon plot and require the audience to infer more. </li></ul>Plot & Story...
<ul><li>Elements of story are often open to interpretation, for example we as viewers may presume something about a character based upon their appearance or actions. We often do this subconsciously. Sometimes the plot can be left open which leaves us to make up our own mind about what might or might not happen. </li></ul><ul><li>The more sophisticated your understanding of story and you ability to infer subtle information, the better your work will be. The weakest narrative analysis relies too much upon explicit information. However be careful, inferences must be backed up by reference to the text. </li></ul>Plot & Story...
<ul><li>Compression of Time: </li></ul><ul><li>Most films operate a high degree of Ellipsis or Time manipulation. In order to move the story forward, the audience only ‘sees’ the moments in time which are relevant to the Narrative. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the organisation of time in your teaser trailer: </li></ul><ul><li>Chronological order? (linear narrative) </li></ul><ul><li>Events shown out of time order? (non-linear narrative) </li></ul>Ellipsis
<ul><li>Use of Narrative to create Suspense and Audience expectations… </li></ul><ul><li>Restricted or Unrestricted Narratives determine how much information is released to the Audience at a time… What do they need to know and when? </li></ul><ul><li>Eg the Mystery companion Clare (Katie Holmes) has in the opening sequence of “Go” – not revealed until the final quarter as the relevance of it would have challenged the suspense of the central narrative sequences… </li></ul>Restricted & Unrestricted Narratives
<ul><li>Narratives that are left unresolved can be described as open narratives. For example, if Eastenders ends on a cliff-hanger at the end of the episode and you don’t know what will be the outcome, then it is an open narrative. </li></ul><ul><li>Narratives that come to a conclusion can be said to have reached narrative closure. Can you think of any examples? </li></ul><ul><li>Would a good teaser trailer have an open or closed narrative? </li></ul>Open & Closed Narratives
<ul><li>To entice an audience to go and see the film. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to acknowledge this in your own analysis as it is a key driver of what plot information is and is not given to the viewer and what questions this leaves them with. </li></ul><ul><li>It is useful to consider Roland Barthes work here… </li></ul>What is the purpose of a teaser trailer?
Action Codes: Images or sequences which work as a form of a Visual Shorthand making complex Ideas immediately apparent and carrying the story forward. Enigma Codes: Images/sequences which control how much we know in the story, engaging and holding audience interest. They present puzzles which demand to be solved And The Action/Enigma Codes Roland Barthes Remember the Buried teaser traile r ?
More on the Enigma Code Roland Barthes An enigma code works to keep setting up little puzzles to be solved (and not only at the beginning of a story), to delay the story’s ending pleasurably: e.g. how will Tom Cruise get out of this predicament? Enigma codes can be described as minor or major .
Apply Barthes’ ideas Roland Barthes Task : Watch the clip and write down all the questions it raises for you as a viewer. Shutter Island Teaser Trailer Now try and sort them into minor and major enigmas.
Apply his ideas to your own work Roland Barthes What elements of your trailer act as enigma codes (or clues) that leave the audience with questions or puzzles to solve? Draw and fill in the table below: What are the codes (or clues)? What questions do they leave the audience with? Minor: Major:
How would you approach this in the exam? Narrative essay plan What the examiners say: ‘ If the concept is narrative, and you’ve done a film trailer, you might consider how far a trailer gives a sense of a film’s narrative and how much you choose to reveal in yours as part of promoting the film. What you don’t want to do is apply some theory like Todorov’s to try to prove that your film follows a pattern. The task should be seen as an opportunity really to reflect on how your chosen project actually works as a text.’
How would you approach this in the exam? Narrative essay plan Examiner’s guide to structuring your answer: Para 1 - Intro: Which of your projects are you going to write about? Briefly describe it Para 2: What are some of the key features of the concept you are being asked to apply? Maybe outline two of the theories/ideas of particular writers briefly. (Bordwell & Thompson? Barthes?) Para 3: Start to apply the concept, making close reference to your production to show how the concept is evident in it. (See next slide) Para 4: Keep applying! Para 5: Conclusion (How successful is the narrative of your product in serving the purpose of a teaser trailer?)
How would you approach this in the exam? Narrative essay plan <ul><li>Ideas for working through paragraphs 3 & 4: </li></ul><ul><li>What narrative structure does your trailer use? Linear/non-linear? Open/closed? </li></ul><ul><li>How does this tie in with the purpose of a teaser trailer? </li></ul><ul><li>What plot information is given and what may audiences infer about the story of the film? (You could also refer to genre here – does your trailer show conventional elements of a particular genre and so set up narrative expectations based on that genre?) Link back to how this will entice viewers – and which viewers it would entice. </li></ul><ul><li>What enigma codes are there and what questions or puzzles are the audience left with? Link back to how this will entice viewers. </li></ul>