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Structure of Short

Films
Character and Narrative
Key Words:
Story/narrative: the sequence of events
Narrative structure: the way the story is themed,
constructed and presented to an audience. How it's
structured - not the story itself.
Basic Structures
Linear Structure:
Beginning Middle End (going through the story in order)
Open Structure
The audience are left to wonder what happens next and have to make
sense of it themselves the ending is ambiguous.
Closed Structure
There is a definite ending with a clear conclusion.
Circular Structure
The narrative begins at the end event and then goes to the beginning.
Todorov's Narrative Stages Theory:

Equilibrium
Disruption to equilibrium
Recognition of disruption
Attempt to repair disruption
New equilibrium
Vladimir Propp's Character Types
Theory:
A theory that all plots use the same characters to be successful.
Hero - restores the equilibrium
Villain - disrupts the equilibrium
Donor - gives the hero help, advice or an object
Helper - aids the hero with their task
Princess - needs help. protecting or saving
Dispatcher - sends the hero on their quest
False hero/villain - pretends to be good/evil and is then unmasked to be
the opposite
Claude Levi Strauss' Binary
Opposites Theory:
Good//Evil
Old//Young
Weak//Strong
Night//Day
Dark//Light
There are opposing elements within a narrative.
Binary oppositions create conflict which in turn drives the narrative.
In horror the most common binary is good/evil.
Roland Barthes' Enigma Code:
The code of enigmas or puzzles.
Barthes noticed that texts keep some information from the
audience in order to maintain intrigue.
In horror, the obvious question to ask is 'will the princess escape
the villain?'
These questions are what keeps the audience watching as they
want to know the answers.
Allan Camerons Modular
Narratives
Proposes there are four types of modular narrative:
Anachronic
Something thats not in its correct historical or chronical time. This can be seen in flash
forwards/flashbacks with no clear dominance between the narrative threads.
Forking paths
A narrative that shows how small changes can change the overall plot/outcome of a film due to a
characters decisions.
Episodic
Shows the separate narratives of two different characters who are linked, but only by the same incident.
This type of narrative can also be told through a series of episodes. A horror example of this is the Final
Destination franchise.
Split Screens
A technique that displays two or more images on screen at once.