New Narratives – Week 11 – Tuesday Lecture

Narrative –

How do you understand narrative?

How the method of telling the story is done; who is telling the story or it could be told through actions and various camera shots.

An objective to be accomplished? 

To get a reaction from the audience, to feel something. Emotionally engagement plays a huge part.

We can consider a narrative to be a chains of events linked by cause and effect and occurring in time and space.

Typically, a narrative begins with one situation; a series of changes occurs according to a pattern of cause and effect; finally, a situation arises that brings about the end of the narrative. our engagement with the story’s depends on out understanding of the pattern of change and stability. cause and effect, time and space

A random string of events is hard to understand as a narrative. 

Actions: “A man tosses and turns, unable to sleep. A mirror breaks. A telephone rings.”

Narrative: “A man has a fight with his boss. He tosses and turns that night, unable to sleep. In the morning, he is still so angry that he smashes he mirror while shaving. Then his telephone rings; his boss has called to apologize.”


What is the difference between Story and Plot?

“The plot is the what keeps the story alive, development of the plot is kept brief and specific which means better plot development equals to a more appealing story but not vi-versa. The story is about adding detailed that makes the plot more engaging for the audience. The story can also be altered through changes in the plot to create something different.”

The story consists of all the narrative events that are explicitly presented on screen, plus all the events that are implicit or that we infer to have happened but are not explicitly presented.

The plot consists of the specific actions and events that the filmmakers select and the order, in which they arrange those events so as to effectively convey the narrative to the viewer. Plot also includes those things that we see and hear on the screen that come from outside the world of the story, such as score music, titles and credits and voice over comments from a third person narrator.

The story can be presented in different ways- 

From the filmmakers perspective, the story exists as a precondition for the plot, and the filmmaker must understand what story is being told before going through the difficult job of selecting events to show on screen and determining the order in which the will be presented.

For the viewers, the story is an abstraction-a construct- that we piece together as the elements of the plot unfold before us on screen, and our impressions about the story often shift and adjust throughout the movie as more of the plot is revealed.

Characters as causes most often-

In the film, characters make things happen and respond to events.

Film characters can have a visible body, or is only a voice, or is portrayed by more than one actor.

A letter to three wives, 1949 – Trailer

That Obscure Object Of Desire, 1977 – Trailer

I’m Not There, 2007 – Trailer



Cause and Effect-

Along with a body, a character has traits, attitudes, skills, habits, tastes, psychological drives.

If some characters possess several varying traits, we tends to call that character complex, or three dimensional, or well developed.

complexity of characters:

Dexter Morgan – The Dexter Franchise: (Below)

A man who is a serial killer that comes as a anti-hero at times, initially he kills only other killers or horrid people but as the series moves on he begins to make choices to protects those around him thus paying the price in later events.

Taken from a blog on complex characters 

The Wolverine Movies (Hugh Jackman): (Below)

Dreadful past with an organisation that then turns against him, cheating his agreement then altering his body and wiping his memory clean. This sends the characters through a truth seeking revenge path.


Not all causes and effects in narratives originate with characters. In some disaster movies, some natural occurrences, such as an earthquake or tidal wave, may precipitate a series of actions on the parts of the characters.

Jaws Trailer:


In general, the audience actively seeks to connect events by means of cause and effect. Most of films plot withhold causes and thus arouse the audiences curiosity. The plot may also present causes but withhold story effects, prompting suspense and uncertainty in the viewer.



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