Once Upon a Time

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my, probably quite regular, childhood was like, and how my father wanted me to become an accountant, yet I’m now working as a designer, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap; but you can probably just read that in the Bio section if you wanted to.  Catcher in the Rye aside for a moment, I’d like to properly introduce you to an investigative journey into narrative, focusing mainly on digital media.

By definition Narrative is derived from the Latin verb narrare, “to recount” and takes its rightful place in all forms of entertainment and our everyday lives, embedded within our very cultures.  Narrative in itself is a highly skilled and aesthetic art form, without it any form of media would cease to exist.  Blogger, for Reuters financial news site, Felix Salmon, following up on an article in April 09, referencing to the collapse of Portfolio financial magazine stated that “…The fact is that narrative is the way that humans communicate information: whether it’s a book or a screenplay or a magazine story, if there isn’t a narrative there, virtually no one will read it, and when they do they will read without pleasure, complaining about how “dry” it is. So if you’re a journalist — if your job is to make stuff that people want to read — then yes, you need narrative.”

So I suppose the question I am trying to answer, is what exactly is narrative, how is it important and how does it fit into the digital media industry that I will, nay should find my way into.  After all like any great hero or adventurer from Myth, I am at the start of a journey, just about to take tentative footsteps outside of the only world I have ever known, not sure of the strange and mystical people and places I am inevitably going to encounter on my way, or if I will even end up at the destination I intend to.  The same can be said about this piece of writing, (360 words down and only 9,640 to go…) I know how it will end up; how the journey will end; which mirrors a lot of the script writing I do.  I know the outcome of the story and roughly what takes place in order to get there, but I’m often missing the smaller, more detailed series of events that link them all together in a nice, neat, little package.

I would quote my favourite English Teacher on this subject, except… he only ever talked about Bob Marley, and never had anything quite so useful to say; so instead I’ll quote this, “Your dissertation should ‘tell a story’ in the sense that you should ‘set the scene’ (and grab the reader’s attention)”  Even this piece of writing needs story, a message to get across. What is it about narrative that manages to weave its way into every single piece of our lives?  Every single person, every single object has a story to tell.  But is it more than just a sequential series of factual events, and is there a deeper meaning to why we indulge in fictional fantasy worlds beyond our own comprehension; yet still maintaining an element that we as sentient beings can ascertain to be plausible, even real?  How and why do we empathise with characters and events that just do not exist outside our own imaginations?  Is it just our nature to bond with a character, human or otherwise just because we personify traits with them?  Does this mean the soul truly exists if only created and offered up to imaginings inside our own minds?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative

http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/04/28/the-importance-of-narrative/

http://www.thebigmoney.com/blogs/sausage/2009/04/27/portfolios-death-predictable-yes-necessary?page=0,0

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One Response “Once Upon a Time” →

  1. Mark Ingham

    16/12/2010

    Alex

    Does the section In The Beginning have to have separate pages for each section? And if you do keep it like this I would like to see many more visual and videos that express what you are trying to say.

    More of your own comments on things like Propp’s Narrative structure. Take each of the points and give examples…

    • A member of a family leaves home (the hero is introduced);
    http://themythinglink.tumblr.com/hips
    [See also Paris Texas or any other film by Wim Wenders]
    http://www.wim-wenders.com/news_reel/2002/june02-directors-interview.htm
    • An interdiction is addressed to the hero (‘don’t go there’, ‘go to this place’);
    Falling Down with Michael Douglas http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106856/
    • The interdiction is violated (villain enters the tale);
    http://www.erbzine.com/mag2/0288.html
    • The villain makes an attempt at reconnaissance (either villain tries to find the children/jewels etc; or intended victim questions the villain);
    Home Alone?
    • The villain gains information about the victim;
    Faustus?
    • The villain attempts to deceive the victim to take possession of victim or victim’s belongings (trickery; villain disguised, tries to win confidence of victim);
    Red Queen?
    • Victim taken in by deception, unwittingly helping the enemy;
    45 Minutes

    You will need to make this website come alive somehow and not just by randomly inserting images… somehow you have to construct a stronger narrative [arc] for this story and make your voice even clearer…Why is not in an online comic book form? Highly visual story telling is highly affective.

    Use sound? See: http://techtv.mit.edu/collections/newmedialiteracies/videos/683-narrative-structure-in-comic-books

    Reply

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