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StudyGuide3_Screenplay - Study Guide#3 Screenplay The...

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Study Guide #3 Screenplay: The Narrative Film FTVDM 188B Prof. Deland Nuse The vast majority of commercially produced films, both national and international, are fictional narrative films , films that tell a story. These films usually begin with a written screenplay , a form of writing that has evolved into a highly standardized form, but first, let’s consider the elements of narrative fiction that make up drama, literature and film. What is a Story? At the most simple level, a story only requires the narration of a series of events or actions in their chronological order. As the author E.M. Forster once explained: If you were to write, “The king died and then the queen died,” you have the foundation for a story, but it is a foundation without a meaningful ordering of the events. In fact, the sentence about the fate of the King and Queen provides little more than simple reportage, not quite enough to truly engage a reader. If, on the other hand, you were to write, “The king died and then the queen died of grief,” you have now provided an ordering of events that will stimulate a reader’s curiosity about the who, why and how of the story. The purposeful organization of the actions and events of a story is called a Plot , and keep in mind that a plot does not necessarily have to lay out the actions of a story in chronological order. For example, in a mystery, critical information may be withheld until very near the end of the narrative in order to keep the reader engaged and provide a surprise ending. It should also be noted that the nature of action does not necessarily imply activity. Conflict and change are actions that can take place without apparent activity but they must still engage the viewer and move the narrative forward. Elements of Narrative Fiction Plot Character Theme Plot, character and theme are the fundamental elements which every film writer and/or director has to confront and come to terms with. There is also a set of secondary elements that must also be addressed by the writer/director, and it is through these elements that cinema expresses its uniqueness as an art form in profound ways. Point of view Setting Style
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2 Since we are studying the “art of filmmaking,” it is important to note that these elements must be expressed by visual means , not just with words on a page. In addition, each writer or director will place more emphasis on some elements than on others creating a film that is uniquely personal. Thus, in an action oriented film, plot may be more important than character.
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