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U64006 INTRODUCTION TO SCREENWRITING WEEK 8 Complex narratives Case studies: - Pulp Fiction - Memento - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Mulholland.

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Presentation on theme: "U64006 INTRODUCTION TO SCREENWRITING WEEK 8 Complex narratives Case studies: - Pulp Fiction - Memento - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Mulholland."— Presentation transcript:

1 U64006 INTRODUCTION TO SCREENWRITING WEEK 8 Complex narratives Case studies: - Pulp Fiction - Memento - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Mulholland Drive

2 4 MODELS Fields 3-act paradigm (Aristotle) Voglers 12-step heros journey 7-step pattern (comedy) Krevolins 15-step pattern (simplified) Traditional + internal patterns Alternative models?

3 ALTERNATIVE MODELS Traditional 3-act structure Significant events in linear structure (logical flow) Cause and effect Climaxes and turning points at end of acts, final resolution Main narrative device: conflict goal Usually closed ending (consistent fictional reality, emphasis on external conflicts, all questions resolved) Majority of Hollywood films (archetype is Casablanca)

4 ALTERNATIVE MODELS Mixed / complex structures Structure is not clear-cut Still beginning, middle, end BUT not 3 acts, no usual climax, turning points, act breaks. Can reverse chronological or logical order or events Series of episodes, incidents on a central theme OR apparently separate stories that interweave – also multi-plot stories Often open-ended

5 ALTERNATIVE MODELS PULP FICTION Causal relation between sequences not explained, nor evident to viewers at the beginning (and most of movie) The overall plotline jumps backward and forward in time, but begins and ends in media res (in the middle of the chronology) Three stories (plus prologue) with narrative connections that explains the cause-effect logic, even though at different times - Honey Bunny and Pumpkin at diner - Jules and Vincent (The Bonnie Situation) - Vincent and Mia - Butch and Marsellus (The Gold Watch)

6 PULP FICTION Diner, Honey Bunny and Pumpkin Previous jobs, decision to hold up diner Priming effect, protagonists (?) BUT… Freeze frame Credits

7 PULP FICTION New situation, causal relationship unexplained Jules and Vincent A) Conversation in car (expectations, diner?) B) Retrieve case at Bretts flat (business partners double- crossed boss) Backward in time (unaware) non-linearity

8 PULP FICTION New situation, Marsellus and Butch (paid to throw boxing match), BUT causal link… Jules and Vincent, connection between characters 1) Vincents episode (later) 2) Butchs episode (later) Case + different clothes Forward in time (aware) non-linearity confirmed

9 PULP FICTION New situation (Vincent and Mia) BUT linearity Forward in time (aware, previous conversation w/Jules) First self-contained story Internal 3-act structure - Preparation (Lance) - Main event (night out with Mia and complication) - Climax and resolution (Lance)

10 PULP FICTION New situation, causal relationship unexplained Butchs father and gold watch A) Self-contained B) Plot element for subsequent section (Butchs story) Flashback (visual and oral info) = Backward in time (unaware for now) non-linearity

11 PULP FICTION New situation (Butch and Marsellus, and Fabienne) BUT linearity Forward in time (aware, previous conversation w/Marsellus + ellipsis at motel day after the match, simultaneous w/Mia story) Second self-contained story Internal 3-act structure - Prologue (Gold Watch flashback) + ellipsis - Setup (preparing to flee with Fabienne) + disturbance (watch) - Main action/goal (retrieving the watch) + complications (Vincent + Marsellus + S&M gay perverts in dungeon) - Climax and resolution (Butch and Fabienne leave)

12 ALTERNATIVE MODELS PULP FICTION Gold Watch FB (20 yrs earlier) Vincent and Jules retrieve case Accidental shooting of Marvin At diner with Honey Bunny & Pumpkin Vincent and Mias night out Butch Vs. boxer/Fabienne/Vincent/ Marsellus/perverts

13 ALTERNATIVE MODELS PULP FICTION

14 ALTERNATIVE MODELS PULP FICTION Paradigm/pattern/3-act ?? Characters goal-plot/arc/growth - Protagonist(s) ?

15 ALTERNATIVE MODELS PULP FICTION Vincent Vega (protagonist 1) Night out with Mia (setup) Attraction + bosss jealousy (disturbance) RL Mia ODs (TP1) AL Foiled by Lances reluctance (setbacks) Mia almost dead (TP2) Adrenaline shot, Mia revived (climax) Return home (resolution)

16 ALTERNATIVE MODELS PULP FICTION Butch Coolidge (protagonist 2) Accepts bribe from Marsellus (setup) Double-crosses Marsellus (disturbance) AL Fabienne forgets watch (TP1) RL (linked to flashback, back story) Foiled by Vincent (setback 1) and Marsellus (setback 2) Dungeon with perverts (TP2), manages to escape Goes back and saves Marsellus (climax) Rides away with Fabienne (resolution)

17 ALTERNATIVE MODELS PULP FICTION Jules Winnfield (protagonist 3) Teams up with Vincent (setup) Executes Bretts gang (disturbance) AL Hidden guy, divine intervention (TP1) RL (inner torment) Foiled by Vincents accidental shooting of Marvin (setback 1) and Bonnies imminent arrival (setback 2) Held up at gunpoint by Honey Bunny (TP2) Solves problem, paths of God (climax) Walks away with Vincent (resolution)

18 ALTERNATIVE MODELS PULP FICTION Change Characters arc/growth? Vincent no change dies Butch changes new life Jules changes new life Paradigm portmanteau structure

19 ALTERNATIVE MODELS PULP FICTION Paradigm portmanteau structure { HB&P + J1 [ (VV) (B) ] J2 }

20 ALTERNATIVE MODELS MEMENTO Not just backward chronology Colour scene / BW scene pattern Specific pattern?

21 ALTERNATIVE MODELS MEMENTO C1 – Credit sequence / polaroid (someone killed) BW1 C2 – Motel, then derelict building with Teddy C1(e) + BW1 + C2(e-1)... BW2 C3 – Motel room, photograph of Teddy (Kill him) C1(e) + BW1 + C2(e-1) + BW2 + C3(e-2)... Colours scenes show event moving backward, time turns back BW scenes show event in chronological order but with abrupt interruptions of action Birectional structure (not just backward)

22 ALTERNATIVE MODELS MEMENTO OVERALL STRUCTURE BW scenes numbered 1 to 22 Continuous action, no ellipses 17 minutes in total Abrupt, short interruptions of colour sequences Leonard in room (mirror, tattoos), 4 phone calls (monologues + 6 flashbacks story of Sammy Jankis), voiceover Scene 22 transitions to colour (A)

23 ALTERNATIVE MODELS MEMENTO OVERALL STRUCTURE C scenes named A to W Retrograde movement (reverse motion in W, then in steps) Matching shots mnemonic device, orienting elements Mental temporal reordering

24 ALTERNATIVE MODELS MEMENTO OVERALL STRUCTURE BW scenes numbered 1 to 22 C scenes named A to W Film Structure W-1-V-2-U-3-T-4-S-5-R-6-Q-7-P-8-O-9-N-10-M-11-L-12-K-13-J-14- I-15-H-16-G-17-F-18-E-19-D-20-C-21-B- 22+A Story chronology A-B-C- D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W

25 ALTERNATIVE MODELS ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND Layered 3-act structure Double/tandem narrative 1) Joel & Clementines story (plot, RL, triggers AL) 2) Lacunas staff stories (AL new RLs themes: love, pain, memory, mental manipulation) Preview flashback + Regret flashback

26 ALTERNATIVE MODELS ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND JOELs STORY Protagonist (asleep ?) Joel is engaged with Clementine (setup) Discovers Clementine had him wiped from her memory (disturbance) Joel decides to do the same (plan, preparation, delay) Lacunas staff start procedure (TP1, threshold) Act 2=memory-wiping process Joel changes his mind Vs computer (external antagonist force) and Vs. painful memories (internal antagonistic force) complications Joels memory wiped (Black moment) BUT decides to fight back (TP2) and goes to Montauk (Road back) Newly attracted to Clementine BUT Lacunas file (climax) Continue relationship (?) (resolution)

27 ALTERNATIVE MODELS ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND TP2 TP1 1 Preview flashbackFlashback Dist. + Plan Lacuna stories Memory-wiping Regret flashbacks (non-chronological) Flashbacks as illustration (surreal escape)

28 ALTERNATIVE MODELS ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND TANDEM STRUCTURE 1.Consequences (TP2) 2.Original cause (Dist.) 3.Plan links to tandem story 4.Tandem Process (execution of plan; exploration of themes and conflicts) A+B+flashbacks (layered narrative) 5.Return to opening (but new course of action) 6.Resolution

29 HOMEWORK FOR WK 9 SEMINAR - Watch/Analyse Slumdog millionaire - Prepare presentations (booked students) - 3-Act structure (?); two storylines (past and present) - Internal patterns (including relationship lines and dynamics, tandem ?) - Characters


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