Narrative theories 2
This is a continuation on the narrative theories task for A2 media
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative theories 2
Propp’s theory of character types can be related to soap trailers as we can clearly see that
some of the characters are good and some are evil. However we can only make these
assumptions as the trailer does not give us a full explanation of what is going on and
therefore our view on the character may be wrong. However in the Coronation Street
trailer we can see that the Platt’s could be seen as the good (hero) characters and then
Callum would be seen as the bad (villain) character. This would be a useful theory to use
in my soap as the audience would be used to character types such as these and therefore I
would be able to make a connection between the character types and my audience which
would make them recognize and relate to certain characters.
Propp’s theory can be explained as to how a story progresses. The idea of a good vs. evil
drives the story forward as we see the good want to take down the evil. In this case both
character types help to further the narrative and drive it forward until eventually it comes
to a conclusion. In the trailer we can see the chase is happening which we can deduce that
the evil is chasing the good and it will come to a conclusion, we know this as the good
characters come to a cliff with nowhere else to go so they are left to face the problem.
This could also be linked to Levi-Strauss’ theory of binary opposites as the opposite
character types are the ones who drive the narrative.
Levi-Strauss’ theory of the binary opposites is clearly shown in soap opera
trailers. For example in the Coronation Street trailer for their live episode we
can clearly see the binary opposite between the characters. In this extract we
can see that the Platt’s are the good characters and that Callum is the bad
character. In order for this storyline to work it needs to be driven by the binary
opposites which would work side by side to help drive the story forward. This
theory helps to make a plot as a plot needs to have binary opposites in order
for it to be successful. This would be a good theory to use in my production as
it would allow me to have opposites which would help to drive the storyline
This theory can also be intertwined with Propp’s theory of character types as
for a narrative to be driven forward it is usually seen that the opposite
character types are the ones who drive the narrative forward.
Todrov’s theory could relate to soap operas as a whole however they are not
shown in soap trailers. This is mainly because if the new equilibrium was
shown then there would be no point in the show as the audience would already
know what the resolution would be. However his theory is shown to an extent
in soap opera trailers. Generically a soap opera trailer will show the equilibrium
and then the disruption/disequilibrium and would then show clips of
characters going through the struggle of the disequilibrium but would not show
the new equilibrium. In the Doctors trailer for the University Killing, we can
clearly see the places in which the equilibrium and disequilibrium happen.
However the trailer does not give away all of what happens as a result of the
new equilibrium it only gives a clip of what could potentially be the new
equilibrium. This would be a good theory to use in my own production as it
would create a sense of anticipation which would help to make my audience
want to watch my soap.
Barthes’ theory on enigma can be seen clearly in soap opera trailers. For
example in the Eastenders ‘Who Killed Lucy Beale’ trailer we can see that
there is a sense of mystery. In this case the mystery is resolving around
who killed Lucy. In the trailer we see each potential killer, this is to create
hype and anticipation which would make the audience excited to see
what will happen when it comes to the show. This is an essential theory
as it helps to bring it repeat viewers, by having anticipation surrounding a
certain issue the soap is able to keep their audience engaged.
This would be a good theory to use in my soap opera trailer as I want to
be able to have a repeat audience and want to be able to draw in an
audience for my first episode. By doing this I would be leaving my
audience in suspense and could leave them questioning what will happen
next which theoretically mean that they watch the next episode.
Which theory is most relevant
to my production?
0 I feel that Barthes Enigma theory is most relevant to my production
as I feel that it is essential for me to create mystery and suspense so
that the audience want to know what happens next.
0 Although the other theories are relevant to my production I feel that
this would be the most relevant one as I want to make sure that the
audience see the trailer and are intrigued and want to know what
happens next and then therefore they watch my soap opera. In this
case the theory can also be related to my storylines as I don’t want to
give away too much in one episode or too soon as if I do that then the
audience won’t keep watching if that was the only storyline they
were interested in as they would have found out what the conclusion
was and now have no interest. Therefore it would be important for
me to use this theory to create a surrounding mystery and to make
sure that I don’t give away too much information too soon.