Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Narrative Theories and Uses and Gratifications

If you want the big marks, you have to know these theories.

Make sure you understand the basics of Todorov’s narrative theory and you can apply it to your film, but don’t forget the idea that a good film – one that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats, will have several moments of disruption and repair before the final equilibrium. Narrative theory will be on the blog here:



Narrative and character theories (2) from HeworthMedia1


Remember to mention the Enigma Code, whereby the audience is attracted to the film because there’s a problem that needs solving or a quest that needs fulfilling and the audience wants to find out how it ends. Your film can have more than one of these. A successful film will have a series of problems or cliffhangers – like a series of disruptions – how will they be solved?
The narrative of the film is often organised around opposite pairs/conflicts and these can create tension to attract the viewer. This is Levi-Strauss’ binary opposition theory. The basic opposition is good v evil and then hero v villain, but you can take this to all sorts of lengths: man v woman; youth v age; survival v destruction; utopia v dystopia; technological v organic; machinery v human and so on…
Uses and Gratifications – how can you apply this to your film? There’s a powerpoint here, but it should be simple when discussing the appeal of your film to the audience. 1. It’s entertainment. 2. People can discuss it with each other, face to face or on website message boards or across social network sites. 3. Fans of the genre will be able to find typical tropes and conventions; some people may even watch the films to find information in the sense that they want to get ideas about aliens and global warming, though I think if you watch fiction films for this sort of thing, you’re probably in trouble, but there is some informative element, I guess, in that you can take some of what you see as a warning or find out about scientific possibilities. 4. Personal identity – you may well identify or aspire to be like or fantasise you are one of the characters (hey, it happens), but you may be such a fan that you watching sci-fi, reading about it etc, becomes a part of your identity – a way you identify yourself.


Your own film. You may have to provide a cast and justify your choices. Possibly a director too. Remember, it’s a British independent company, so it will not have a vast amount of money and you will be in competition with Hollywood films produced by big studios who have a lot of money at their disposal to both make and promote the film. So, you say that after watching Caradog James’ The Machine (2013) and Gareth Edwards’ Monsters (2010), you will be able to create special effects on a low budget in order to give the film a chance at the box office in a genre where fans generally expect to see an event movie.



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