[Course Description] [Schedule and Course Outline] [Journal Assignments] [Exam] [Film Studies Resources]

Exercises: Film as Story Telling (Narrative Form, Plot/Story, and Range/Depth)

To respond to this assignment, you'll need to read "Ireland Boasted of a Drug Sting, But Joke Was on the Public" (a New York Times article that I photocopied for you). Next, imagine writing a screen play that narrates the story. Then, answer several of the following questions.

Whose story would you tell? Around whose basic point-of-view would you build the screen play?

Use Labov's theory--a chart would work fine--to illustrate how you will structure the telling of your story.

How are you going to deal with range? What effect will this choice have on viewers' responses to the film? In essence, what sort of hierachy of knowledge will you advance?

How about depth? Are you going to stick to a primarily objective approach? Will you grant viewers access to the subjective states of any of the film's characters?

Stories are created in the minds of viewers; they are our response to plot cues. This is especially evident in films that are told out of chronological order--where viewers have to straighten out scenes and mentally order them--in effect, completing or assembling stories. Are you going to tell your version of the story in a straightforward fashion, in chronological order, or do you have other plans?

  • You can contact Michael Jarrett at jmj3@psu.edu.