Within this session we covered Narratives. There are various different types of narratives that I’ll be talking about within this post and what they include within them, and how they usually go. I’ll also be talking about the different types of Narrative Techniques as well as submitting a story that I’ve created for a Narrative Flow.
What is a Narrative?
A narrative is the way that the story is told, there are various different types of narratives that exist within Film & TV. These include:
- Linear Narratives
- Non-linear Narratives
- Single-Stranded Narratives
- Multi-Stranded Narratives
- Open Narratives
- Close Narratives
- Realistic Narratives
- Non-Realistic Narratives.
A Linear Narrative is a story that goes in a specific order – starting at the beginning, having a middle and then ending.
Light: Linear Narrative (ryelink, 2014)
Above is a simple clip made by a film student of a small Linear Narrative they created called Light. It shows how the story has a general flow and keeps going through rather than stopping at all.
Non-Linear Narratives are the opposite of what a Linear Narrative is. They usually have a more jumbled up order of how the story goes, and as an example it could be: end, beginning, end, middle.
Top 10 Non-Linear Narratives in Movies (WatchMojo.com, 2015)
A Single-Stranded Narrative is a narrative that is stuck to only one story. There can be some sub-plot used within the film to get some background information on the characters, but if the film is about a plane that’s crashed, that will be the story.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The First 10 Minutes (IGN, 2014)
A Multi-Stranded Narrative is a narrative that has many and various different stories within it, a big example for these are soaps such as Eastenders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street etc.
An Open Narrative is a narrative that is left open, the story can continue in another episode rather than being completely shut off. This can link with the above image being – soaps!
A Close Narrative is a narrative that is complete, after that specific film/tv show, it is over – there is no more to that specific narrative. An idea for one of these can be a film that finishes after the first film, and never has a sequel or a prequel to it.
Realistic and Non-Realistic Narrative
A Realistic Narrative is a story that could have actually occurred in the real world, or could in fact happen, for example, an earthquake somewhere in the world.
A Non-Realistic Narrative however is obviously the opposite, there’s no way that it would be able to happen, for example, tumbling around in space and being able to breathe perfectly well at this current moment in time.
There are various different techniques that are used within Narratives, these can include:
A Voice Over is a dub over the top of the clip itself to generally talk to the audience or give more information about the current scene.
HD 1080p | Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Intro - This is Halloween (408nate08, 2009)
Idents are text that appears on the screen, these can be used by showing the location within a film for example: “Hollywood, CA” or “6 months later”. They are used to communicate with the audience to allow the audience to know what exactly is happening and where the location could be, or the channel that they are on, on the TV.
Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Sound
Sometimes the rules can be broken from a Non-Diegetic Sound point where the character suddenly says something such as “Who said that?” whilst looking around in the sky. However, they can be used effectively by allowing the audience to know the current situation they’re in, and what’s heard by the actors and what isn’t.
Rather than using the Non-Diegetic and Diegetic sound within this, I decided I wanted to use a clip from Deadpool about how breaking the 4th wall can be effective as Diegetic and Non-Diegetic sound has already been explained in a previous post. Within this clip below, Deadpool breaks the 4th Wall various different times where he is the narrator and has frozen time or is directly speaking to the audience.
*Please be aware there is some patches of language within this clip, but it was one of the ways I could clearly show how effective breaking the 4th wall was within films*
Deadpool - 4th Wall Breaks (Space Rain, 2016)
A Narrative Flow is to do with Todorov’s Theory – it MUST have a beginning, middle and end. It will start with an equilibrium (which is a level or balance) which will then move onto the disequilibrium – “an event has happened that will destroy the world!”. This will then move onto some form of a resolution, whether it’s through a battle with the villain or something completely different, then it will be back to the equilibrium. Generally you’d find these in many superhero films, as usually they start very normal and casual, then there’s some problem that needs to be resolved by the superhero and then it’s resolved.
I decided to write my own version quickly of what I thought could be a similar situation:
There are 4 band members of a new upcoming rock band that are getting ready for their tour around Europe, starting in the United Kingdom. They get on the tour bus and start travelling towards London from Newcastle. Whilst they are on their journey and practising, playing songs and just generally relaxing as much as possible, a dog runs out in front of the tour bus on the motorway! The tour bus then ends up swerving to try and dodge the dog, but in a result ends up with the bus rolling fast down a hillside and the bus ends up getting stuck half on, and half off of what seems to be a cliff – they don’t want to look out the front in case it changes the balance of the vehicle, and they feel their lives are at risk – could it end in the band getting killed by what could be a giant drop!? After hours of them contemplating on what to do and having no service to try and call for help, they decide to try and climb out of the back window to some form of safety. Once they step out of the bus, the balance disappears and the bus makes a loud “crash” sound. It fell… only about 1 metre! The bus gets back up to the road, nobody is too injured and they get ready to start their tour in London.
I feel this task was a useful one as it allowed me to work out the different types of narratives, how they could be conducted and used effectively as well as allowed me to understand them in more detail than I did at first, and I got to learn about new ones such as Open and Close Narratives.