TCOM 307 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Dramatic Structure, Fourth Wall, Frame Story

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TCOM 307 Terms
Characters: The people featured in the narrative. Characters do not necessarily have to be people.
Agency: A central element of characters. The ability to undertake actions and make choices with
narrative consequences.
Protagonist: The hero at the center of the narrative
Ensemble: A group of characters besides the protagonist.
Antagonist: Acts in opposition to the protagonist as a villain or adversary.
Plot: The way the story is told, consisting only of events shown on-screen, and the particular choices
used to present that material, such as chronological order.
Story: Consists of all events and characters within the world of the show, whether they are shown on-
screen or not.
Narrative comprehension: The processes of the viewer connecting the dots between events shown on-
screen to construct a story within his or her mind.
Storyworld: Also known as diegesis, a consistent universe in which all of the story elements, characters,
and events are taking place.
Narration: The act of storytelling itself that presents the story via a medium.
Range of story information: Each choice that shapes the effectiveness of a program, such as the style of
Omniscient or unrestricted narration: Any story material can be presented without regard to what the
main characters know or experience.
Restricted narration: all the story information is filtered through the experiences of one or two main
Objective narration: presenting the external storyworrld via what characters do and say.
Subjective narration: presenting story information from the perspective of a particular character.
Mental subjectivity: Gives viewers access to a character’s internal thoughts through a voiceover
narration, dream sequence, flashback, and visual fantasies.
Direct address: Straddles the boundary between objective and subjective narration when a character
speaks directly to the camera. Breaks the fourth wall. Can serve as a narrator.
Framing device: Often narrators serve as framing devices. Serves as a bracket at the beginning and
ending of episodes to introduce and conclude a narrative.
Plot time: The time frame as told within a given narrative. How time is presented on-screen.
Screen time: The temporal framework used in telling and watching the story.
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