Narrative in Films and Film Trailers

By the end of the lesson you will be able to :
• Identify different narrative structures employed in films and trailers •Explain the role of different character types in the narrative • Understand the role of narrative for the audience

Using the definitions – Re-define Narrative and explain how it is different to the story
• “NARRATIVE REFERS TO STORYMAKING AND STORY STRUCTURE. THE NARRATIVE OF A PROGRAMME OR AN ARTICLE IS NOTJUST ITS STORYLINE. IT IS ALSO HOW THE STORY IS ORGANISED AND ABOUT HOW THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE READER IS ORGANISED BY THE WAYS IN WHICH THE STORY IS TOLD” • (BURTON, 1990) • “FILMS HAVE A PRIMARY FUNCTION OF TELLING A STORY. THE IMAGES ARE ORGANISED AND MADE SENSE OF AROUND THIS FUNCTION. ESPECIALLY FEATURE FILMS WHICH ARE GIVEN A ‘TREATMENT’ IN TERMS OF IT’S PLOT LINE AND THIS IS PERCIEVED AS BEING WHAT THE FILM IS ABOUT” • (ROWE, 1996)

Narrative
“ Stories are the events in the order of their occurrence, where as plot is the order in which they are told. Narratives are about the structure of the text”

Narrative Theory
• Russian theorist, Tzvetan Todorov, suggests that all narratives follow a four part structure.

Linear Narrative Structure

Narrative Theory – A more developed version of Todorovs Theory – This is McKee’s ‘classic Narrative Structure’

In your groups knowledge plot out a real films overall narrative structure

The narrative structure of a film trailer could be simply shortened to this:
• • • • Opening Build Up Problem Events (OBPE) Using the teaching trailers on the mac put together a trailer that uses this structure.

Top Tips…
• Occasionally people complain that film trailers give far too much away. • An effective trailer avoids any suggestion of resolution and ending, perhaps just a hint that the protagonist is going to learn an important lesson. • The intention is to leave audiences wanting more, not feeling they have seen all the ‘best bits’ already. • The key events are often put in nonchronological order so the actual film will not be too predictable.

Character Roles in Narrative
• Todorov came up with his theories after making a study of Russian folk tales. So too did Vladimir Propp, who came up with the theory that there are only a certain number of characters, who crop up in most narratives. It is easy to spot the hero and villain in most cases, but here are some others: • We expect them to be there, and to behave in a certain way. Try identifying them in the following fairy story and then think how they are used in your comic story.

Character Type Hero ( protagonist) Villain ( antagonist) Heroine Father Helper Donor Mentor Blocker

Role Within Narrative
Leads the narrative, is usually looking for something (a quest) or trying to solve something (a mystery). Does not have to be male :) Conflicts with the hero Is usually some sort of prize or reward for the hero. NB if your hero is female, your heroine can be male :) An authority figure who offers a reward to the hero for completing their quest. That reward might be a prince or a princess or a cool new job Helps the hero - often acts as a sidekick Gives the hero something - a clue, a talisman, a special power - which helps them complete their quest Teaches and guides the hero Attempts to stop the hero achieving his task

Narrative Theory – A more developed version of Todorovs Theory – This is McKee’s ‘classic Narrative Structure’

Plot out a trailers overall narrative structure

Propp’s Character Types in your comic story
Character Type Role Within Narrative in your film with explanation

Hero Villain Heroine Father Helper Donor Mentor Blocker

Why do Audiences like Narrative?
• “NARRATIVE REFERS TO THE STRATEGIES,CODES AND CONVENTIONS ( INCLUDING MISE-EN-SCENE AND LIGHTING) EMPLOYED TO ORGANISE A STORY. PRIMARILY, NARRATIVE CINEMA IS ONE THAT USES THESE STRATEGIES AS A MEANS OF REPRODUCING THE ‘REAL’ WORLD, ONE WHICH THE SPECTSTOR CAN EITHER IDENTIFY WITH OR CONSIDER TO BE WITHIN THE REALSM OF POSSIBILITY” (HAYWARD) “NARRATIVE DEVELOPS ON THE BASIS OF ‘CAUSE AND EFFECT’. AS EXPERIENCED FILM GOERS WE LEARN TO EXPECT AND ANTICIPATE THIS CHAIN” (ROWE, 1996) “OFTEN WHAT WE CALL SUSPENSE IS NO MORE THAN THE DELAYED FULFILLMENT OF AN EXPECTATION” (BORDWELL AND THOMPSON, 1979)

• • • • •

Try to answer this question using your own experience and the quotes above

Using what you have learnt
Plan the following • Narrative Structure of your film • Character Types in your film • Shorter narrative of trailer using the OBPE

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