narrative theory evaluation

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  • Narrative TheoryThis presentation will aim to show how

    my music video uses, challenges or develops the Narrative theories

    surrounding music videos.

  • Tim OSullivan and Roland Barthes

    Tim argues that through careful mediation, all media texts tell us some kind of story, not specifically about ourselves, but about a certain culture or society.

    My music video uses this convention as the video tells a story of an Individual who is tempted away from his religion by alcohol and smoking, though he does eventually find his way back. Though this may appear an individual story, the video actually represents a wider issue for society. Religion is becoming less respected and more and more individuals are moving away from their religion. The problem between trying to live a normal life and maintaining a religion in todays society is a very real one. My video therefore tells a story about the culture we live in today, conforming with OSullivans conventions of media texts.

  • Furthermore, Tim suggests that all narratives have a common structure, and begin with the establishments of either the plot or theme. To some extent, this is true in my video because the video starts by highlighting the two major themes; religion and youth culture. This is because within the first 20 seconds of my video, aspects such as the trainers and smoking can be seen (youth culture) and the church and the uniform are also evident (religion). See next slide for screenshots highlighting this point.

    Roland Barthes suggests that after this establishment, arises a problem; he refers to this as the enigma. My video develops this convention somewhat because the problem does not come immediately after the establishment of plot, and is found later on in the video. On the other hand, the hells beer is evident early in the video and strongly foreshadows the enigma, which is the conflict between religion and opposing behaviours such as smoking and drinking. The resolution to this problem is found when the reverend finds his religion again, and it appears he has made his choice. Having a resolution to the problem in my video conforms with Barthes conventional narrative structure. Barthes goes on to state that these videos usually follow a linear structure and are left fairly unambiguous. My video follows a linear structure, therefore I would argue it follows this convention, though I do feel as though the videos ending is left for the audience to interpret for themselves, therefore challenging the convention that music videos of this type avoid ambiguity.

  • Roland Barthes Codes

    Barthes argued that every media text was made up of a combination of five different codes: Enigma code, the action code, semantic code, symbolic code, referential code. I would say my video uses many of these codes in a conventional fashion. Symbolic codes are present in the video. For example, the scale or the church in comparison to the protagonist highlights how Religion goes beyond the views of an individual, and is a shared movement between many people. The silhouette shot of the reverend takes away the facial details of the protagonist, and this lack of identity is symbolic of the greater issue between Western youth culture and religion, implying it is a widespread issue within society. These are evidenced on the next page. My video also uses the semantic code of green open spaces. This connotes freedom and escape, juxtaposing how the protagonist feels when he is oppressed by his religion. On the other hand, it could also be argued my video challenges Barthes codes because not all of them are present within the video.

  • Tzvetan Todorov

    Todorov proposed there are five main stages to the narrative. As you can see, the stages are very similar to the structure explored by OSullivan and Barthes.

    1. Equilibrium is made clear.

    2. Disruption to the Equilibrium.

    3. Recognition of this disruption.

    4. Decision made on how to overcome the problem.

    5. New equilibrium is created.

    My video challenges this conventional structure, because the equilibrium at the start of the video is not clearly defined. At no point does the character look satisfied or happy. Throughout the early stages, he looks to be in deep thought as if he already unsettled. Though a climax within the video amplifies this unsettlement, it is presented as a build up of a long standing problem for the character and not a new disruption all together. On the other hand, it could be argued that this convention is followed loosely towards the end, as the character does make an attempt to re-find his religion, and avoid the extreme distress he was dealing with previously. The ending of the video is inconclusive, and it is not known weather the reverend fully addresses his inner conflicts.

  • Claude Lvi-Strauss and Andrew Goodwin

    Lvi-Strauss theory highlights the use of Binary Opposties within media texts. The theory belives that narrative can be broken down simply into two categories which directly refute each other e.g good vs evil, black vs white, rich vs poor. To some extent, my video heavily relies upon binary opposites. For example, Religion can be categories as good, but sin directly refutes religion, and the sin in my video is the drinking and smoking. Furthermore, my video uses black and white colouring to accentuate this idea of conflict and contrast even further. The can represent the evil, whereas the white can represent the good.

    Andrew Goodwin says narrative relations are highly complex within a music video. This means that the audience can find meaning due to their own personal music taste, intertextual references or signifiers of Western culture. This can be said to be true in my video, because intertextual references to iconic western media texts such as Rocky, which is present within the boxing sequences, are included. Furthermore, the duct tape is an intertextual reference to Blaze Foley, aka the Duct tape Messiah.

  • Binary Opposites

  • Sven Carlsson & Vladimir Propp

    Carlsson suggests music videos are either performance clips or conceptual clips. My video uses this convention, as it can be considered a conceptual clip in the form of a narrative video. My video is a pure narrative video in the sense that there is no lip syncing performance, though instrumental performance can be seen. However, my video challenges conventional instrumental performance because the performance deliberately does not align with the audio track. This is because the meaning of the video is somewhat separate to the meaning of the lyrics, though some aspects about the music has influenced the media language within the video i.e. Reverend, and Blaze Foley references.

    Vladimir Propp suggested a conventional narrative had six keys stages of narrative action:

    1. Preparation Scene is set.

    2. Complication A problem becomes apparent.

    3. Transference Hero gets help and sets out on quest.

    4. Struggle Fight between hero and some sort of villain.

    5. Return The hero returns having fulfilled his quest.

    6. Recognition The hero is rewarded/Villain is punished.

  • My video uses to Propps six key points to some existent. The preparation is evident as the scene is set, with the church and the area in Beverley. The complication is evident because it becomes apparent the Reverend is holding beer which is likely to conflict his religious morals. The transferences stage is not easily defined within my video, though it could be argued that the sequence in which he is thinking at the start of the video could be him receiving internal clarity for what he needs to do to overcome his issue between drinking/smoking and his religion, and his walk at the start of his quest. The struggle can be seen more clearly, when the protagonist has a shadow boxing sequences in which the pain of his personal conflict are emphasised. In the end, religion appears to win as the reverend seeks comfort from his bible and crucifix. The return is when the Reverend is found back in the church. Recognition is not easy to pinpoint, though the reverend is rewarded with comfort and guidance from the bible. It could also be argued the alcohol is shown little respect as the bottle is thrown away on the ground, perhaps signalling the Reverend is past using it.

  • 1) Preparation 2) Complication 3) Transference

    4) Struggle 5) Return 6)Recognition