Narrative Structure• In most films, a narrative is present…• Series of events in ways that imply connections between one event and the next.• Cause and effect relationship: one event causes the next event.• Narratives require ‘narration’.• Think of some ways in which films narrate.
Text Character dialogue Angles Move- ment Dialogue Camera Voice shots over NarrativeConventi- ons Visual Narrative Codes Connotati -ons
Narrative Structure• Film are organised according to a set of rules or conventions.• They are understood by filmmakers, and recognised by film viewers.• Responses to film are based on our real life experiences and, previous experiences of films.• Story: What happens in a narrative.• Plot: How things happen in a narrative.• Example: In Terminator II, a crazy machine tries to kill John Connor (story) over the space of a couple of weeks. This happens by us first seeing John and Arnie hook up, then John, Arnie and Sarah hooking up to kill the T1000.
Narrative Structure• Focalisation: Is when the viewer adopts the point of view of a specific character.• This helps us understand the plot more as we empathise with there character and understand why they do certain things.• It can also help us understand the story better and we might get a couple of focalisations and thus know a number of different stories and more than any individual character.• Dictated by the need to arouse and sustain our interest.• Character-based : stress on active characters, whose exploits reveal motives we can readily appreciate.
Hollywood Benevolence and Transparency• Hollywood narratives are dictated by a desire to make the story readily comprehensible to the audience.• Benevolence: A set of conventions, sometimes sophisticated, which aims to guide viewers through the story.• Transparent: The techniques are ‘transparent’ because they seek to keep viewers focused on the story.• They are therefore unobtrusive, so that audiences remain absorbed in what is happening, rather than become distracted by how the story is told.
Hollywood Cause and Effect• Hollywood narratives use cause and effect most rigidly, as it produces story clarity.• Characters provides the causal elements, driving the story forward, and providing connections between the elements which the plot places side by side.• Hollywood films therefore, have heroes who have definite goals.• The central character desires something, seeks to achieve something, and the story consists of the actions the character undertakes to fulfill such aims.
Hollywood Cause and Effect• Most Hollywood films are closed, meaning the ending offers a complete conclusion to the character’s goal.• The narrative will end with the character’s goal having been met, or the attempt having failed – the later is unlikely however, as Hollywood revolves around audience pleasure.• Worth noting, that most narrative are driven by male characters.• Can you think of any films that are driven by female characters…
Hollywood Invisible Story Telling• The main purpose of a mainstream Hollywood film is to tell us a story.• All mainstream films are based around a plot or narrative idea and contain various scenes and sequences all of which contribute to the overall story.• On a more fundamental level all films can be boiled down to just two core building blocks: the shot and the cut.• As such, the use of camera and editing are crucial elements of moving image language.
Hollywood Continuity Style• Continuity Style: a particular style of shooting and editing, emerging in the 20th century, geared towards making film narratives easier to understand.• Continuity style, encourages you the viewer to become enthralled and captivated by a story but actively discourages you from consciously noticing the editing and camera techniques that are being used to tell it.• The continuity style deliberately sets out to make the camera, camerawork and editing invisible or, at the very least, unobtrusive.
Hollywood The Three-Act StructureAct I • The film is set up; main characters introduced, their goals and the obstacles they are likely to encounter.Act II •The plot thickens; action is increased, sense or urgency, often a false conclusion to the obstacles outlined in Act IAct III •The resolution; the story concludes, almost always with a happy ending.