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 A2 A2 A2 A2
 
G324: Advanced Portfolio in MediaG324: Advanced Portfolio in MediaG324: Advanced Portfolio in MediaG324: Advanced Portfolio in Media
 
1
 Making Short Films Narrative Point Guide Making Short Films Narrative Point Guide Making Short Films Narrative Point Guide Making Short Films Narrative Point Guide Four Steps To Writing A Short Film Scenario Four Steps To Writing A Short Film Scenario Four Steps To Writing A Short Film Scenario Four Steps To Writing A Short Film Scenario
1. Find the ending first2. Then the beginning…3. Then the first turning point – the event that gets the story going;4. Then the second turning point, the scene that swings the story around and sets upthe ending.
The ScriptThe ScriptThe ScriptThe Script
Is the audience interested in the characters? So we want to follow their story?
Do the characters start a point A and shift subtly and convincingly to point B?
Is there conflict? All stories progress through conflict: action and reaction.
It is the emotional journey that holds the readers and grabs the audience.
With the conflict established, and the characters introduced, the pace and urgency ofthe scenes should increase, racing the audience towards a conclusion that shouldachieve two goals:
o
To be both what the audience expects…
o
Yet not exactly what it expects.
The audience wants to be surprised, not disappointed by the obvious.
Each scene should have its own beginning, middle and end
, a minor conflictleading to resolution and on to the next scene, the characters growing from eachdevelopment.
The characters need to go through changes
.
Enter your story a short time before the crisis that ignites the drama.
Scenes are like parties: arrive late and leave early.
 Characters and NarrativeCharacters and NarrativeCharacters and NarrativeCharacters and Narrative
1. Who is the story about?2. Do we empathise with the main character/s?3. Are they likable?4. What exactly do these people want?5. Who is stopping them getting it?6. Why?7. Have the principal characters gone through major, irreversible changes?8. Are those changes credible?9. Will those changes move and affect the audience?
 
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G324: Advanced Portfolio in MediaG324: Advanced Portfolio in MediaG324: Advanced Portfolio in MediaG324: Advanced Portfolio in Media
 
2
 Narrative Structure Narrative Structure Narrative Structure Narrative Structure
 1. What’s the story actually about?2. Introduce main character(s); set the scene.3. Give the characters a problem, obstacle, obsession or addiction.4. Let the character work out a plan to overcome the problem.5. Before setting out to solve the problem, there may be a moment of doubt that willrequire the hero to seek advice from a mentor: teacher, best friend. This is anopportunity to let the audience know more about the problem and weigh it up in theirown minds. What would they do?6. With new resolve (and often with help from their mentor), the hero sets out toovercome the problem, obstacle, obsession or addiction.7. Overcoming the problem or challenge will be met by extreme opposition from therival, who will usually have greater but different strengths and will in some ways bearsimilarities to the hero: the nemesis is the hero’s dark side.8. The hero will appear to fail in their quest. They will glimpse defeat, even death, andwill require superhuman effort to overcome this daunting final task.9. The hero will win the final battle, with an opponent, or enemy or with themselves, andreturns to their natural state wiser, or stronger, or cured, but not necessarily happier.The journey has made the hero a different person. They have glimpsed failure andcan never go back to the simplicity of what they once were.
 Narrative and Audience E Narrative and Audience E Narrative and Audience E Narrative and Audience Expectationsxpectationsxpectationsxpectations
 1. Are there surprises, thrills, and revelations: is the audience led one way before theopposite is revealed?2. Is the audience lifted and let down and then lifted again, the peaks and troughs goinghigher and plunging lower as the story builds?3. Do the main turning points and climaxes appear for maximum impact and interest?4. Do we have the elements you’d expect for the genre?5. Is the underlying theme clearly revealed?6. Is there a satisfactory ending which gives the audience what they expect, but notexactly how they expected it?
Scene NarrativeScene NarrativeScene NarrativeScene Narrative
 1. What is this scene about?2. What does this scene achieve?3. Is the scene necessary?4. What does this scene tell us about the main character/s?5. Do the secondary characters have their own dramatic function?6. Does this scene have conflict, a beginning, middle and end?7. Does this scene contribute to the main character(s) objectives, development, andrevelations of true nature?8. Do the characters behave consistently, and where they are inconsistent is thatunderstood and applicable within the narrative?9. So the characters have individual voices, word patterns, or slang?10. Can verbal
exposition
be replaced by the visual?
 
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G324: Advanced Portfolio in MediaG324: Advanced Portfolio in MediaG324: Advanced Portfolio in MediaG324: Advanced Portfolio in Media
 
3
 Narrative Narrative Narrative Narrative
Film is a way of telling stories about ourselves 
– not usually our own personal stories, but thestory of us as a culture or set of cultures. Since stories in film have to be told in a very shortspace of time filmmakers have to adopt specific ways of telling stories. Narrative theory setsout to show that what we experience when we ‘
read
’ a story is to understand a particular setof constructions, or conventions, and that it is important to be aware of how theseconstructions are put together.
1
 
Narrative
: The structure of a film.
Diegesis
: The
fictional space and time implied by the narrative
– the world inwhich the story takes place.
Verisimilitude
: Literally – 
the quality of appearing to be real or true
. For a storyto engage us it must appear to be real to us as we watch it (the diegetic effect). Thestory must therefore have verisimilitude – following the rules of continuity, temporaland special coherence.
TheTheTheThe Structure Of The Classic Narrative SystemStructure Of The Classic Narrative SystemStructure Of The Classic Narrative SystemStructure Of The Classic Narrative System
 
This structure is not unique to film. In fact it is an integral part of the majority of both westernand eastern cultures. Thus what we expect from film is informed by our exposure to novelsand plays. According to
Cook
(1985), the standard Hollywood narrative structure shouldhave:1. Linearity of cause and effect within an overall trajectory of enigma resolution.2. A high degree of
narrative closure
.
3.
A fictional world that contains verisimilitude especially governed by
spatial andtemporal coherence
.
 
4. Centrality of the narrative agency of psychologically rounded characters.
 Narrative Structure Narrative Structure Narrative Structure Narrative Structure
Every story ever told can be fitted into one of eight narrative types. Each of these narrativetypes has a source, an original story upon which the others are based. These stories are asfollows:1.
Achilles
: The fatal flaw that leads to the destruction of the previously flawless, oralmost flawless, person, e.g.
Superman, Fatal Attraction.
 2.
Candide
: The indomitable hero who cannot be put down, e.g. Indiana Jones, JamesBond, Rocky etc.3.
Cinderella
: The dream comes true, e.g.
Pretty Woman 
.4.
Circe
: The Chase, the spider and the fly, the innocent and the victim e.g.
Smokey And The Bandit, Duel, The Terminator 
.5.
Faust
: Selling your soul to the devil may bring riches but eventually your soulbelongs to him, e.g.
Bedazzled 
,
Wall Street 
.6.
Orpheus
: The loss of something personal, the gift that is taken away, the tragedy oflosss or the journey which follows the loss, e.g.
The Sixth Sense 
,
Love Story 
,
Born On the Fourth Of July 
.7.
Romeo And Juliet
: The love story, e.g.
Titanic 
.8.
Tristan and Iseult
: The love triangle, Man loves woman…unfortunately one or bothof them are already spoken for, or a third party intervenes, e.g.
Casablanca 
.
1
DOMAILLE, KATE, (2001). Narrative Theory,
The Horror Genre: Classroom Resources
,Leighton Buzzard: Auteur Publishing, p.2.1.

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