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Film Narrative and codes and conventions.

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Introduction

Film Narrative and codes and conventions In media terms, narrative is the coherence/organisation given to a series of facts. The human mind needs narrative to make sense of things. We connect events and make interpretation based on those connections. In everything we seek a beginning, middle and an end. We understand and construct meaning using our experience of reality and of previous texts. Each text becomes part of the previous and the next through its relationship with the audience. "Story is the irreducible substance of a story (A meets B, something happens, order returns), while narrative is the way the story is related (Once upon a time there was a princess...)" Media texts are better organised; we need to be able to engage with them without too much effort. We have expectations of form, a foreknowledge of how that text will be constructed. ...read more.

Middle

In particular, Time is something that we understand as a convention - narratives do not take place in real time but may telescope out (the slow motion shot which replays a winning goal) or in (an 80 year life can be condensed into a two hour biopic). Roland Barthes describes a text as "a galaxy of signifiers, not a structure of signifieds; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared to be the main one; the codes it mobilizes extend as far as the eye can read, they are indeterminable...the systems of meaning can take over this absolutely plural text, but their number is never closed, based as it is on the infinity of language..." (S/Z - 1974 translation) What he is basically saying is that a text is like a tangled ball of threads, which needs unravelling so we can separate out the colours. ...read more.

Conclusion

Identifying Narrator Who is telling this story is a vital question to be asked when analysing any media text. Stories may be related in the first or third person. Very few screen stories take place in real time. Whole lives can be dealt with in the 90 minutes of a feature film, an 8 month siege be encompassed within a 60 minute TV documentary. There are many conventions to indicate time passing. Devices to manipulate time include * Flashbacks * Dream sequences * Repetition * Different characters' POV * Flash forwards * Real time interludes * Pre-figuring of events that have not yet taken place Each story has a location. This may be physical and geographical (e.g. a war zone) or it may be mythic (e.g. the Wild West). Virtual locations are now a feature of many newsrooms (e.g. the computers and holograms of the BBC's Nine O'clock News). There are sets of conventions to do with that location, often associated with genre and form (e.g. all space ships seem to look the same inside). ...read more.

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