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the world of the story

rob rector

on 11 January 2018

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Transcript of narrative

defining narrative
A narrative is an account of a string of events occurring in space and time.

Narratives are ordered by the logic of cause and effect.
narrative films
Focus on human characters and their struggles.
Characters pursue goals and encounter obstacles along the way.
the fictional world and the frame
'Diegetic' refers to elements that exist within the world of the story.
'Non-diegetic' refers to elements that exist outside the diegesis, for example, credits and some film music.

Filmmakers use non-diegetic elements to comment on or draw attention to aspects of the story from a position outside the story world.
within the diegesis
Filmmakers select and organize the events that appear during a film’s running time or screen time (generally 80-120 minutes).
Filmmakers begin with a story, then make choices about which sections of it to dramatize (act out) on screen.
Fabula: a complete, chronological story.
events as they appear onscreen
reordering events
Filmmakers do not simply eliminate certain details in the fabula. They also manipulate the order of events.
Flashbacks and flash-forwards are two devices for reordering events.
narrative structure
Paying attention to structure helps the viewer organize the flow of information and determine critical turning points that indicate a change in character or story line.
three-act structure
Act One: exposition leads to turning point
Act Two: complications lead to climax
Act Three: falling action leads to resolution
alternatives to three-act structure
A filmmaker may defy viewer expectations by presenting a variation on the standard three-act structure.
variations on narrative conventions
'unobtrusive craftsmanship'
films do not treat narration the way fictional stories do.
perspective and meaning
films only rarely rely on the “I” voice (first person) to narrate events.
Most films employ restricted narration, which conveys events but also allows viewers to understand the knowledge, thoughts, and feelings of one or more characters.
within a framework of restricted narration, directors may provide selective moments of omniscience (all-knowingness).
in these moments, the viewer learns information that main characters do not possess.
such shifts in perspective may align viewers with particular characters and may also create suspense, as the viewer knows what is about to happen but a main character does not.
character subjectivity
in films, a point-of-view shot occurs when the viewer temporarily shares the visual perspective of a character or group of characters.
point-of-view shots may align viewers with a character by illustrating how the character experiences the world
Sound techniques also provide viewers with access to a character’s subjectivity.
Voice-overs often indicate a character’s thoughts. Direct address allows the audience to hear a character in her own words.
r. rector, intro to film
who is the protagonist?
what is his main goal?
what obstacles stand in the way?
is there an antoagonist?
how does the main character achieve his goals?
what are the three acts?
Full transcript