Researching & Applying Narrative Theory G321 Coursework Version

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  • 1. Researching & Applying Narrative Theory
  • 2. Applying Vladimir Propps Theory- 7 broad character types Vladimir Propp developed a character theory for studying media texts which indicates that there are 7 broad character types. 1.Hero Leads the narrative, is usually looking for something or trying to solve something. Does not have to be a male character! 2.Villain Conflicts with the hero. 3.Heroine Is usually some sort if prize or reward for the hero. N.B. if your hero is a female, your heroine can be male. 4.Father An authoritative figure who offers a reward to the hero for completing their quest. That reward can be a prince/princess, or an object of value. 5.Helper Helps the hero often acts as sidekick. 6.Donor Gives the hero something a clue, a talisman, a special power which helps them complete their quest. 7.Mentor Teaches and guides the hero. Complexities 1.These roles could sometimes be distributed among various characters, as the hero kills the villain dragon, and the dragon's sisters take on the villainous role of chasing him. 2.Conversely, one character could engage in acts as more than one role, as a father could send his son on the quest and give him a sword, acting as both dispatcher and donor.
  • 3. Propps Character Archetypes Applied to Star Wars & Sherk The Villain Darth Vader The Donor Obi Won Kenobe The Helper Han Solo The Princess Princess Leah The Dispatcher R2 - D2 The Hero Luke Skywalker The False Hero -Darth Vader (Lukes dad) Hero Shrek Villain Lord Farquaad Heroine Princess Fiona Father Lord Farquaad (In this instance) Helper Donkey Donor Dragon Mentor None as such. Using examples from your own planned production, what archetypical types do your group plan to feature and which specific film techniques have you elected to use to help construct desired meanings?
  • 4. Applying The Theory of Todorov Franco-Bulgarian philosopher who coined the term narratology meaning to look at units of meaning in a text. Todorov felt that all stories start in a state of equilibrium, which is then disrupted, setting in a motion a chain of events. The resolution of the story is the creation of new/different equilibrium. A film that follow these steps perfectly is Die Hard. 1. John McClane (Bruce Willis) is coming home to his family for Christmas and all is calm. (The equilibrium) 2. Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his team of terrorists take over the nakatomi building which is hosting a Christmas part of which McClane and his wife are attending. 3. (2 points of recognition) McClane isn't in the room when the terrorists storm in so is able to move up the building when he hears screaming. People outside of the building realise there's a disruption when a police man's car is shot at from the building. 4. The police try sending in a SWAT team in which fails. The situation is solved by John McClane throwing Gruber out of a high floor window which kills him. 5. The equilibrium is restored when the police got McClane, his wife and the other hostages out of the building, and the McClanes leave in a police car.
  • 5. Applying The Theory of Todorov Although, Todorov's theory is so flexible it could be argued that Fight Club could fit in to the theory. Every film unless it is in a sequel should end with a new equilibrium. Star Wars is a sequel, and even that has a new equilibrium at the end of every flim. My film will follow Todorov's theory. With reference to the content of your script /storyboard, what stages of Todorov theory has been applied? 1. Clarke Hammer living his everyday life and still mourning his brothers death. (Equilibrium) 2. Starts looking into his death more and asking questions. (The disruption) 3. He tries to avenge his brother's death (acknowledgement of the disruption) 4. Attempts to kill the Home Secterary (Attempt to repair) 5. Hammer's dead, and the Home Secretary resigns (New equilibrium)
  • 6. Binary Oppositions Levi-Strauss looked at narrative structure and themes in texts in terms of Binary Oppositions. Binary oppositions are opposite values that reveal the structure of media texts. It is important to look at the detonations (literal meaning) and connotations (cultural significance) of the sign. Hero Coward Natural Artificial Good Evil Male Female Rational Emotional Strong Weak Day Night Looking at the narrative structure of your own productions, if and what binary oppositions are arguably present in your opening 2 minutes?
  • 7. Restricted or /and Omniscient Narration Restricted narration Audiences see an event through the viewpoint of only one person. This can add surprise as audiences only discover events alongside the character seeing the films events through his/her eyes. A camerawork technique such as extensive use of point-of-view shots is commonly used. It is typically used in the detective genre as a way of increasing the mystery and impenetrability of the story. Omniscient narration Audiences see events from multiple viewpoints adding suspense as audiences are privy to information other characters are not. This technique is often used in melodrama and is intended to introduce a discrepancy between the information held by the characters and that of the spectator. This is useful in increasing the dramatic suspense crucial to melodrama. Narrative information conveyed from a wide variety of sources by means of camerawork; the camera freely moves from one character to another so the events can be seen through the eyes of different characters. Scream (Wes Craven 1996) Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) in Scream is a good example of omniscient narration. As in most horror genre films we know more than the victim does. (Hes behind you!) (Bonus Marks) Did your group opt for a restricted or omniscient narration and to what extent was your decision informed by your chosen genre?
  • 8. Tim OSullivan (1998) Media texts offer a way of telling stories about ourselves not usually our own personal stories, but the story of us as a culture or set of cultures. Through careful mediation, media texts offer a way of telling stories about ourselves (as a culture) these are ideologies -when things go wrong/unplanned you must be responsible and deal with the situation as appropriate. Making an unplanned relationship work with your childs biological parent because this is the right thing to do Sherk: Moral ideologies , such as, ' it's not what's on the outside, it's what's on the inside that counts.' It also emphasizes companionship, that friends should always stick together. -pursue a relationship with ideal partner because love is Important (sometimes you have to sacrifice other things in life for this). Follow your expected role in life. Applying Tim Sullivans ideas Which specific dominant ideologies does your plan to use, develop or challenge
  • 9. Narrative Analysis Narrative Theory Propps Character Archetypes Applying The Theory of Todorov Binary Oppositions Restricted or /and Omniscient Psycho None established in the opening 2 minutes, but music combined with the the slicing of titles connotates villainy Opens up with an apparent equilibrium established shot of the city, nothing seems a mist. Nice sunny day Calmer music Vs deep piercing sonic exaggerated sounds Not established
  • 10. Narrative Theory Film X Film 1 Film 2 Film 3 Propps Character Archetypes Applying The Theory of Todorov Levi-Strauss Binary Oppositions Restricted or /and Omniscient