“The only really valid definition of the
‘dramatic’ is: any representation of
imaginary personages which is capable of
inte...
“The techniques of continuity editing, set
design, and lighting that were
developed...were designed not only to
provide at...
The root nature of story “has only one
merit: that of making the audience want
to know what happens next. And
conversely i...
Audience
How do we keep them interested?
4
Maintaining Narrative Interest
• Telegraphing
• Dangling Cause
• Dramatic Irony
• Dramatic Tension
...
Maintaining Narrative Interest
Telegraphing
• Pointing or Advertising
• Lets the audience i...
Maintaining Narrative Interest
Dangling Cause
• An expression of intent, hope, fear, warning or
...
Maintaining Narrative Interest
Dramatic Irony
• Omniscient Narration
• Audience knows somethin...
Maintaining Narrative Interest
Dramatic Tension
• The most powerful force in sustaining narrative
...
3 Act Structure
The Sequence Approach
Sequence: A series of scenes, all focused around a sub-
objective ...
ACT I: 2 Sequences
(The First Quarter of the Story)
11
ACT I
Sequence A: Exposition & Point of Attack
• Exposition: Who, What, Where & under what conditions
the st...
ACT I
Sequence A: Exposition & Point of Attack
• Point of Attack (inciting incident)
• The first intrusion...
ACT I
Sequence B: Predicament (Major Dramatic Question)
• The Protagonist spends this sequence grappling with the
...
ACT II: 4 Sequences
(The Next 2 Quarters of the Story)
15
ACT II
Sequence C: First Attempt
• The Protagonist’s first attempt to solve the problem set
up at th...
ACT II
Sequence D: The First Culmination
• The Protagonist’s second attempt takes them to more
desperate...
ACT II
Sequence E: Response to First Culmination
• The Protagonist’ works to resolve the complications
arose in ...
ACT II
Sequence F: The Second Culmination
• The last sequence of ACT II
• The Protagonist has eliminated a...
ACT III: 2 Sequences
(The Last Quarter of the Story)
20
ACT III
Sequence G: The Second Culmination
• In the resolution of the Major Dramatic Question in
Sequence H...
ACT III
Sequence H: The Second Culmination
• The final sequence of ACT III
• Contains the resolution of the...
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Narrative Tension & Sequence Structure

Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Education      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Narrative Tension & Sequence Structure

  • 1. “The only really valid definition of the ‘dramatic’ is: any representation of imaginary personages which is capable of interesting an average audience assembled in a theater.” ~William Archer Play-Making: A Manual of Craftsmanship 1
  • 2. “The techniques of continuity editing, set design, and lighting that were developed...were designed not only to provide attractive images but also to guide the audience attention to salient narrative events from moment to moment.” ~Kristin Thompson Storytelling in the New Hollywood 2
  • 3. The root nature of story “has only one merit: that of making the audience want to know what happens next. And conversely it can only have one fault: that of making the audience not want to know what happens next. ~E.M. Forster Aspects of the Novel 3
  • 4. Audience How do we keep them interested? 4
  • 5. Maintaining Narrative Interest • Telegraphing • Dangling Cause • Dramatic Irony • Dramatic Tension 5
  • 6. Maintaining Narrative Interest Telegraphing • Pointing or Advertising • Lets the audience in on the future events, puts characters under time pressure • Verbal or Visual • False Telegraphing • A man says“Don’t forget about our theater tickets tonight” and then is kidnapped that night, never making it to the theater • Deadlines or Ticking Clocks • “If you don’t pay the rent by Friday, you’re evicted!” 6
  • 7. Maintaining Narrative Interest Dangling Cause • An expression of intent, hope, fear, warning or threat for which no immediate answer is provided • A vow, or a bet • “I’m going to ask her to marry me” 7
  • 8. Maintaining Narrative Interest Dramatic Irony • Omniscient Narration • Audience knows something the characters don’t • Bookended by • Scene of Revelation • Scene of Recognition • Suspenseful or Comedic 8
  • 9. Maintaining Narrative Interest Dramatic Tension • The most powerful force in sustaining narrative interest • Someone wants something badly and is having difficulty getting it • We are emotionally connected to the Protagonist’s wants • Emotional connection transcends mere curiosity • 3 Parts: • Set-up: Question is posed • Played-out: Question Deliberated • Resolved: Question Answered 9
  • 10. 3 Act Structure The Sequence Approach Sequence: A series of scenes, all focused around a sub- objective of the Major Dramatic Question Each sequence focuses on a particular attempt/ strategy by the Protagonist to get what he/she WANTS (Major Dramatic Question). Let us see the Characters specifically TRY some of the many possible outcomes, and we’re more likely to invest in their efforts & believe them... 10
  • 11. ACT I: 2 Sequences (The First Quarter of the Story) 11
  • 12. ACT I Sequence A: Exposition & Point of Attack • Exposition: Who, What, Where & under what conditions the story takes place • Best achieved through raising audience curiosity • The hook: posing a puzzle, raising questions that are answered by the exposition and... • Introduction of Protagonist • Glimpse the flow of their life (status quo) before the story begins • The stronger the flow of life, the greater the dramatic contrast of the destabilizing elements of the story 12
  • 13. ACT I Sequence A: Exposition & Point of Attack • Point of Attack (inciting incident) • The first intrusion of instability on initial flow of life that forces the protagonist to respond and reveal... • Character Arc (Want vs. Need) • Contrast between Protagonist’s Conscious Desire & Unconscious Need • As the Protagonist pursues Conscious Desire, he suffers sufficiently to become conscious of his need, and let go of his want 13
  • 14. ACT I Sequence B: Predicament (Major Dramatic Question) • The Protagonist spends this sequence grappling with the destabilization caused by the Point of Attack in Sequence A • Attempts made by protagonist only lead to a bigger problem, one they cannot escape from... • The Predicament: The point where the character becomes locked in and must press forward through challenges in order to gain their WANT • This is the set-up of the Major Dramatic Question for the rest of the story--the reason we want to keep watching • This signals the End of Act 1 14
  • 15. ACT II: 4 Sequences (The Next 2 Quarters of the Story) 15
  • 16. ACT II Sequence C: First Attempt • The Protagonist’s first attempt to solve the problem set up at the end of ACT I and gain their WANT • Characters (like most of us) generally attempt the easiest or most familiar solution to the problem in hope that it will be resolved immediately • Whatever the outcome of the attempt, it leads to bigger and deeper problems, and the formulation of a new strategy to gain their WANT 16
  • 17. ACT II Sequence D: The First Culmination • The Protagonist’s second attempt takes them to more desperate measures to solve the problem set up at the end of ACT I and gain their WANT • The end of this sequence leads to the... • Midpoint or First Culmination: a glimpse of what could be • a glimpse of the actual resolution of the story, or answer to the dramatic question... • which is then lost as circumstances turn even more difficult than before 17
  • 18. ACT II Sequence E: Response to First Culmination • The Protagonist’ works to resolve the complications arose in the First Culmination • Sometimes new characters are introduced, new opportunities present themselves and can sometimes occupied by subplots • As with other sequences, the resolution of the tension in this sequence creates new complications in resolving the main tension, with higher stakes than before 18
  • 19. ACT II Sequence F: The Second Culmination • The last sequence of ACT II • The Protagonist has eliminated all the easy solutions, they work towards a resolution of the Major Dramatic Question • Ends with The Second Culmination: • The Major Dramatic Question is answered, either by completely resolving it or completely reframing it • A mirror opposite of the actual resolution of the story • Typically, the character has gotten what they WANTED but realized it wasn’t what they NEEDED. • This NEED is often what they will fight for the rest of ACT III 19
  • 20. ACT III: 2 Sequences (The Last Quarter of the Story) 20
  • 21. ACT III Sequence G: The Second Culmination • In the resolution of the Major Dramatic Question in Sequence H, a new, and even more complicated problem is created that the Protagonist will fight for the rest of the story • Sometimes, the story is turned upside down, the protagonist now fights against their previous objective • Often characterized by higher stakes and a more frenzied pace and it’s resolution characterized by a major twist 21
  • 22. ACT III Sequence H: The Second Culmination • The final sequence of ACT III • Contains the resolution of the story • For better of worse, the instability created in the Point of Attack is settled • ex: the guys gets the girl, or is doomed to never get her (the emotional opposite of the Second Culmination) • Contains an Epilogue or Coda, tying up loose ends, giving the audience a chance to catch their breath and come 22