Narrative Form: Who is telling the story and how are they telling it?

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Narrative Form: Who is telling the story and how are they telling it?

1) Chain of Events in Cause-effect relationship in time/space

  1. Causality and time being most important

  2. Narrative devices: flashback,flashforward, voiceover, parallels, cues,

2) Story and Plot (story and “discourse”)

  1. STORY is the set of all events in narrative. , both explicit and inferred. World of story is “DIEGESIS”. (example of non-digetic audio/credits). Mind creats story based on info inferred in plot. Story is sum total of all events in plot.

  2. PLOT is used to describe everything seen/heard. Events witnessed. TIME and SPACE are subordinate to CAUSE and EFFECT chain.

3) Cause and Effect.

  1. Characters (antagonists/protagonists) are causal agents creating cause-effect chain.

  2. Character traits are reasons/motivations for creating chain.

4) Camera View

  1. Omniscient/Privileged view of standard western narrative discourse

  2. “Unreliable narrator” of Film Noir. Restricted View Points. “the Usual Suspects”.

5) Temporality

  1. Typically non chronological (out of story order. Flashbacks.

  2. Plots are stretches of story duration. (ELIPSES of STORYTIME)

  3. Plot duration takes from Story duration, screen duration selects from Story duration. (Examples where PLOT and SCREEN duration are the same?)

  4. Frequency (same story told over-RUN LOLA RUN or overlaps KANE)

6) Space

  1. Screen space/off screen space.

  2. Mise-en-scene (staging, lighting, etc)

7) Patterns and Resolutions

  1. Acts III (beginning, middle, end)

  2. Exposition in first act (story events, traits)

  3. Expositionary dialogue, elements, etc.

  4. Common pattern- change of KNOWLEGDE (39 steps)

  5. Common pattern- goal oriented

  6. Time/space provide patterns (flashbacks).

  7. Strong resolutions, circular situations, climax and dénouement. Settles cause-effect chain set out in first act.


  1. Range of Story info/continuum.

    1. Unrestricted

    2. Restricted

    3. Do we know more than any one character knows?

    4. When and how do we know it?

    5. Hierarchy of knowledge.

  1. Depth of Story Information

    1. How deep into characters PSYCHOLOGICAL STATES do we go (POV shots and sound perspective)

    2. Perceptual subjecting

    3. Mental subjectivity (dreams, hallucinations, etc.)

    4. Flashbacks motivated by/as mental subjectivity but presented as objective/unrestricted

9) Who is the narrator?

  1. Indentification.

  2. Character (telling flashback?)

  3. Non-character narration (documentary V.O.)

10) Classical Hollywood Cinema.

  1. Fiction dominated by one form of narrative mode- HOLLYWOOD system

    1. individual character as causal agent

    2. strong motivation/desire
    3. active goal orientation character, brought about by traits

    4. Opposition/Conflict

    5. Character ARC-change

    6. Motivation for events brought about by psychological need/desire

    7. Time is subordinate to cause and effect chain.

    8. Objective “story” reality is used as a measure against perceptual or mental subjectivity.

    9. Strong degree of closure, resolution.

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