Narratives in a
Documentary
Joseph Toyer
What is a Narrative?
O The narrative is the account of connected events
making the story, which can be spoken or written...
How is a Documentary
Narrative Structured?
O The narrative of a documentary depends on what
type of documentary is bein...
Vladimir Propp’s Theory
O This is the theory of characters in the
media text fitting a certain caption, as an
example, ...
Is Propp’s Theory Useful?
O I believe for most Documentaries I would say this
theory is not so useful, unless the subjec...
Tzvetan Todorov’s Theory
O This theory is based upon the three stages of a
storyline; the beginning, middle and ending. ...
Is Todorov’s Theory Useful?
O Generally this theory could apply to
anything, including reality, as there is
always a pr...
Roland Barthes’ Theory
O Roland’s theory, is about the narrative
being broken down into codes and rules.
These are used...
Is Barthes’ Theory Useful?
Action Code
O The action code claims for narratives to
be resolved through action. This usua...
Is Barthes’ Theory Useful?
Enigma Code
O The Enigma Code is the device used to question the
audience and keep them inte...
Is Barthes’ Theory Useful?
Semantic Code
O The Semantic Code refers to part of the media text
suggesting additional mea...
Is Barthes’ Theory Useful?
Cultural Code
O This refers to anything within the media
text referring to an external body ...
Levi Strauss’ Theory
O Along side Barthes, Strauss saw that the way we
understand some ideas or words depends not on
th...
Is Strauss’ Theory Useful?
O I doubt that this theory would help me with
my documentary, however I can
understand how t...
References
O http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definitio
n/english/narrative
O http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary...
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Narratives in a Documentary

presentation on how narratives are done in doumentaries
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Education      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Narratives in a Documentary

  • 1. Narratives in a Documentary Joseph Toyer
  • 2. What is a Narrative? O The narrative is the account of connected events making the story, which can be spoken or written. O This is not to be mistaken with a plot, which would follow the scripted writing of the story whilst the narrative follows the timeline of events told in the text. O The role of a narrator comes from the narrative, in which it would be told to the audience alike to being read a book, though this is not compulsory for all narratives. O Narrative comes from the late middle English language in the form of an adjective based on the French word ‘narratif’ and further back ‘narrativus’ in late Latin.
  • 3. How is a Documentary Narrative Structured? O The narrative of a documentary depends on what type of documentary is being produced. O Documentary films would generally have the same style of narrative that a fictional film would include. O Some documentaries use the multi-strand narrative for such as ‘Barely Legal Drivers’ which usually focuses on three different stories per run whereas others like ‘Meerkat Manor’ follow one story at a time. O In most cases, the narrative is based on facts or the true events themselves, though sometimes (i.e. with Mockumentaries), the narrative would be re-written so it would not only be informative but also entertaining.
  • 4. Vladimir Propp’s Theory O This is the theory of characters in the media text fitting a certain caption, as an example, your main character could be the ‘hero’ figure. O This is a useful theory, particularly for creating fictional characters however only going by this would make them ‘Two-dimensional’.
  • 5. Is Propp’s Theory Useful? O I believe for most Documentaries I would say this theory is not so useful, unless the subject matter being documented involves rivalries. O There are some documentaries however in which this theory could be applied, such as ‘Meerkat Manor’, this making predators to Meerkats appear as the ‘villain’ characters. Crime documentaries could also interpret criminals in such a way should they be featured on screen. O However for my documentary, Propp’s theory would not be relevant to finding out what makes people laugh or making a documentary of such the matter.
  • 6. Tzvetan Todorov’s Theory O This theory is based upon the three stages of a storyline; the beginning, middle and ending. O Todorov interprets the narrative to start with an initial equilibrium in which everything (usually) would be normal. O However the disequilibrium would interrupt this as the stage when the problem in the story is introduced and the consequences of such are shown. O By taking action against the disequilibrium and defeating the problem. The solution of the situation, which is usually different from the beginning stage is the form of a new equilibrium.
  • 7. Is Todorov’s Theory Useful? O Generally this theory could apply to anything, including reality, as there is always a problem in life to overcome. O For my own documentary, the original equilibrium would be the curiosity of what makes people laugh, and then going along hopefully to a new equilibrium of finding out what the answer to the question is.
  • 8. Roland Barthes’ Theory O Roland’s theory, is about the narrative being broken down into codes and rules. These are used to control how the information is represented to the audience. O There are four codes: O Action Code O Enigma Code O Semantic Code O Cultural Code
  • 9. Is Barthes’ Theory Useful? Action Code O The action code claims for narratives to be resolved through action. This usually being an act of violence, by villain and/or hero. O My documentary requires no action of such the sort as I intend to find out information rather than resolve conflicts by violence. Therefore the Action Code would not be useful.
  • 10. Is Barthes’ Theory Useful? Enigma Code O The Enigma Code is the device used to question the audience and keep them interested in a subject matter. It does so by presenting riddles or puzzles that need to be solved. O Sometimes extensive use is made of this code, such as Steven Moffat’s ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Doctor Who’, or spy films like the ‘James Bond’ collection. O This theory can be applied to non fiction as well as the headlines of a newspaper subtlety provide details of the stories that are featured in the paper. O I believe this is the central code of my documentary as I want to explore into what it is that makes people laugh and will therefore be trying to solve a puzzle, that this theory has created.
  • 11. Is Barthes’ Theory Useful? Semantic Code O The Semantic Code refers to part of the media text suggesting additional meaning, alike to connotation. O Elements in the Semantic Code are called Semes. This is what has the connotative function in media texts, there being an extra meaning beneath it’s literal meaning. O Although I don’t believe this would be useful in my documentary, it is possible that it may have some relevance to answering the question because sometimes it’s the hidden meanings behind a joke placed into a comedy that makes people laugh.
  • 12. Is Barthes’ Theory Useful? Cultural Code O This refers to anything within the media text referring to an external body of knowledge such as knowledge of culture, science, history or politics. O This may not be the main code used in my documentary, however it is relevant to the culture of the people that contribute to answering the question, as humour is subject to opinion.
  • 13. Levi Strauss’ Theory O Along side Barthes, Strauss saw that the way we understand some ideas or words depends not on their own meaning but by having an understanding of it’s binary opposite. O This can be explained using a coin, you understand one side from knowing the other. This can be applied to binary opposites such as happiness and misery, requiring each other for either one of them to exist, like the two sides of the coin. O It’s relevance to narrative comes from Strauss’ belief that binary opposites are essential to the development of a narrative as the opposition is what drives the story forward.
  • 14. Is Strauss’ Theory Useful? O I doubt that this theory would help me with my documentary, however I can understand how the theory becomes relevant to my documentary. O Because I intend to explore what makes people laugh, I might also have to be aware of what would make them cry, this being the binary opposite of laughter.
  • 15. References O http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definitio n/english/narrative O http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_f ilm O http://www.slideshare.net/tlninmedia/narra tive-theories-2723608 O http://www.slideshare.net/sarahlambe/bart hes-5-narrative-codes-12063567