Narrative Theory


You can view the powtoon I created to present the narrative theorists Stauss, Propp, Barthes, and Todorov in this YouTube video:

Our Trailer

Strauss’ Binary Opposites

A binary opposition used in the narrative is that of good vs. evil, or more accurately, moral vs. immoral. An example of this is Daniel’s immoral ‘conning’ of the government by not imparting complete information and thus causing several problems, as well as the assumed immoral standing of the government’s potential use of such a system, vs. Michael’s moral standing of destroying the system as a result of Daniel’s actions, and Anthony’s moral, if reluctantly, decision to stand with Michael despite it going against his lifetime goal.

Propp’s Character Types

  • Michael is a protagonist
  • Anthony is a protagonist, helper (he’s the main force behind the development of the system), and dispatcher (he sets the main objective/collective goal of creating an efficient, fully functioning teleportation system, which would lead to each characters individual goal)
  • Daniel is a protagonist in the form of an anti-hero (due to his lack of consideration the consequences that may arise from his actions)
  • The ‘government’ is the antagonist

Barthes 5 Codes

The following still shots are from a PowerPoint presentation given on 18.11.2014 in relation to how Matt and I have used Barthes’ five codes in our coursework

Barthes i

Every film trailer uses the enigma code; a good film trailer will use it to reveal some key moments and/or exciting points without the consumers who do see the film feeling that the trailer covered everything in it. For out trailer we have used it to present the beginning of the film plot – the creation of the teleportation system – up to the point where one of the protagonists gets caught by the government. This is similar to existing Sci Fi-Action films, however we won’t be including any pyrotechnics in the trailer, and will focus more on the dialogue between the characters to emphasise the drama genre of our Sci Fi-Drama hybrid.

Barthes ii

Trailers, more-so perhaps than other forms of narrative, uses the action code, as they must choose scenes and shots in the film that will sell the concept well enough to potential consumers that they understand what the film is about. For our trailer we have focused on using this code to present the process of making the teleportation system over the conflict post the capture of one of the protagonists. This decision is to present to the consumer that the film is as much about the effects of discovering and creating how to teleport as the effects of the misuse of such a system.

Barthes iii

As implied, the semantic code can be applied to the Mis-en-Scene of the project, for example using the colours blue, silver, and white can link to the Sci Fi genre – particularly the futuristic types – for blue connotes intelligence and sterilisation, whereas silver links heavily to stainless steel and the metal assumed to be in futuristic inventions, with the white linking to both sterilisation and the plastic covers/outer layers of the inventions or habitats the characters use/live in.

Barthes iv

This can be shown in Michael who is good/moral (hero trait) but also intelligent (villain trait), and Anthony who is the most intelligent but is balanced by following rules over his personal ambition.

Barthes v

A convention of the Sci Fi genre is that the narrative is centred around a concept that currently does not exist, be it due to lack of technological/scientific advancement, or simple impossibility. We have used this convention by basing our narrative around the creation of a teleportation system.

Todorov’s Equilibrium

  • The equilibrium is the time where the trio of protagonists are discovering and developing the system
  • The disequilibrium is the time when the government are after the trio having caught and released Daniel once he gives incomplete information on how to build the teleportation system
  • The resolution of the narrative come with the destruction of the teleportation system and the oath that none of the trio will reveal, publish, or recreate anything about the system henceforth

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