Western shoot outs

These are some of the western style shoot outs that Film Studies students have been making in their last few film lessons. These ones are from Q block, the other groups work will be added later this week. 

New York, New York

This year Long Road Film Studies students will be able to join Q the Winged Serpent in New York!

We are offering 20 places to Year 12 students on a joint Film and Photography trip to New York. The trip will take place from Sunday 17th to Friday 22nd February and will include a visit to the excellent Museum of the Moving Image as well as a number of film screenings. As well as this you will experience the sights and sounds of New York City one of the greatest film locations in the world!


If you are interested and would like more information please collect a letter from Barney in G10 (English Office) from Tuesday 18th September.

Character and Narrative

Vladimir Propp states there are seven 'spheres of action' which characters can be well .... characterized to. These spheres are catagrised as the hero, villain, donor, helper, princess (though this can be exchanged for a prince), dispatcher and false hero. Not all spheres of action are needed to be addressed for a film as its also well to note characters can portray more than one sphere and vice versa, spheres can be composed of several characters.
Vladimir Propp seven spheres of action:

Hero: Individual(s) who's quest is to restore the equilibrium.
Villain: Individual(s) who's task is to disrupt the equilibrium.
Donor: Individual(s) who gives the hero(s) something, advice, information or an object.
Helper: Individual(s) who aids the hero(s) with their set task.
Princess (Prince): Individual(s) which need help, protecting and saving.
Dispatcher: Individual(s) who send the hero(s) on their quest.
Fasle Hero: Individual(s) who set out to undermine the hero's quest by pretending to aid them. Often unmasked at the end of the film.

Can you identify some of the character types in these movie trailers:

Task on Moodle - for 1st lesson next week!
Using the seven character types above find an example for each from a films you know. Find a picture of them, then write a short explanation of how they fit into the character type and in what way they help the narrative structure of the film.

Narrative Structure

Why is Narrative not the same as story?

When you sit down to watch a film the narrative structure help defines the story. It needs to be structured to help the viewer understand the message contained within, giving the film meaning throughout. However you need to keep in mind that the narrative structure only applies to the way in which a story is told not the story itself.....meaning the narrative structure is the chronological stages or steps that progress from one to the other throughout the story.

The conventional narrative structure pointed out by Tzvetan Todorov as a rule has five stages though this can be rudimentary broken down to three stages, a beginning (state of equilibrium), middle (disruption to the equilibrium) and end (reinstate the equilibrium). What I mean by equilibrium its simply just a state of balance, normality in which the characters find them selves at the begining.

Below is Tzvetan Todorov conventional narrative structure complete with five stages:

Stage 1
A state of equilibrium is defined.

Stage 2
Disruption to the equilibrium by some action or crisis.

The Character(s) recognition that there has been a disruption, setting goals to resolve problem.

The Character(s) attempt to repair the disruption, obstacles need to be overcome to restore order.

Reinstatment to the equilibrium. Situation is resolved, a conclusion is announced.

With the five stage layout the narrative becomes more comprehensive. However its essential to remember films need to be seamless as the chain of events unfold, with all the questions raised answered and all the loose ends tied up unless you want to break the conventions, induce a cliff hangar, intentionally create doubt in the minds of the audience and leave them questioning.

Even though these stages are presented here as a linear structure there is no golden rule that it has to be this way, especially if you wish to create a non-linear structure. Should you wish to you can always muddle up the chronological order and have the end at the begining. Remember a film should have clear goals with believable chararcters if its to maintain a sense of credibility and to help keep the audience captivated.

Little White Lies

The LRC now have a new film magazine, Little White Lies. It is a good magazine and often features an in-depth look at a particular new release so is worth checking out.

This month it is focusing on the new Anton Corbijn film Control. This film is a music biopic about the life of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division. The film is released on the 5th October, more details about where it will be screened in Cambridge when we have them.

© 2007 LongRoadFilm