medium (narratology) A story is narrated in a medium, and this medium supports narration in different and specific ways. If a story is understood as a fabula, a story without a set medium or narration, then the writer or filmmaker can work with this to create a work in a range of mediums: film, drama, screenplay, graphic novel or audio drama. The fabula might be considered to be the story as understood as a conscious understanding – the writer conceives the fabula and expresses it in a particular medium and format: book, screenplay. The reader, viewer, audience, is given and then understands the fabula from the telling of the story.
Prose narration tells story in five ways
Prose commentary can be exterior or interior: talking about the character and the story, or from the internal viewpoint of their character: what the character is thinking or how they are reacting and feeling.
Prose narration uses: Present tense, Past tense, Future tense
Prose uses viewpoint: 3rd Person, 1st Person, 2nd Person, Free Indirect Speech/Style
Prose uses narrator: Telling own story, Telling someone else’s story, Telling story about themselves, Multiple narrators
The screenplay format includes only what can and is to be filmed
Immediate action dominates – it can be filmed
Dialogue that presents story, character and action
Description is minimal, specific, functional: no figures of speech, no metaphors
No summary of complex actions – can’t be filmed
The screenplay makes very limited use of commentary: may be provided as narration or text on screen to explain the setting of the story, or to set an emotional tone or attitude, but not to tell the story.
Shows immediate action: a shot can only show immediate action
Uses the continuity system for mimesis: aesthetic control of image, sound and editing
Uses editing for ellipsis; control of time and telling of the story
Use dialogue for narrative, character and action.
Uses title and transitions to indicate locations, time
Uses narration/voice over narrator for commentary: interior or external narrator
Heterodigetic: not in the story
Homodiegetic: narrates and is a character in the story to some degree
Autodiegesis: narrator is the protagonist of the story
The narrator focalises characters in the story: stating what they see, think, action, intentionality.
Heterodigetic based on mimesis: so, there is no overt narrator unless story uses verbal narration: voice over, breaking fourth wall.
Plot Focalisation: established through plotting, which character’s actions are shown. The story follows/focalises certain characters because it gives the audience access to the character’s private self.
Scene Focalisation: staging, viewpoint: observing, participating, objective, subjective, psychological, classical continuity, contemporary continuity, intensified continuity, editing
The novel has narration and focalisation
The script has plot focalisation: follows characters
The script has no specific scene by scene focalisation, this is set through the direction, the blocking and the sets ups choose from the scene.
Copyright: Eugene Doyen 2019