GTA

While playing Grand Theft Auto today, I realized how easily people can become addicted to videogames. Living through the actions and antics of my character I could literally do almost anything I wanted. So, acting on my devilish nature, I found the punch button on my controler and decided to run down the street while stopping to hit strangers in the face. This proved to be extremely amusing, but only until I found a gun and realized that I could also shoot anyone. Which was completely unlike the games I was used to as a child, where “good/nuetral” characters could not be harmed. In my developing narrative, the police came, so I decided to run and hijacked a car. Every car in GTA has a radio, so I was able to change stations and listen to the channel that best fit the car chase. I lost the police for a while, but I didn’t realize that the cops keep trailing you, even if you drive off to another part of the game and can no longer hear their sirens. Finally, the police killed me when I tried to go for a swim and did not see them. I was outnumbered in a gun fight, and not nearly skilled enough to shoot my weapon.

I had played GTA before, but I am mostly a sports videogamer (Also, any Tom Clancy game will do). In talking with my friends, they game just to create havoc and live through the story they are creating, outside of the narrative the game provides. Although, within GTA’s ability there are different ways to complete the narrative that the game already holds. At certain points, one can complete required tasks as one deems neccessary. There is some choice involved, rather than just following the path that the game provides for the gamer. It doesn’t matter if someone wants to sell drugs or get into a high speed chase, both will help the character within the developing narrative. I personally have not gotten to this point yet, but hope to sharpen my skills and take home the gold one day. The best part is, that if one screws up, they can hit the reset button and start a whole new narritive by following different choices.       

Annie Hall

After our discussion of the constructural norms of narrative on Tuesday, I find the editing of Annie Hall to be interesting because I feel that it is a movie that might have been able to survive without transforming into a romantic comedy. The comic genius of Woody Allen, and onscreen interaction with Dianne Keaton is what drives the film, but that does not neccessarily mean that all the other superfluous shots needed to be cut, or does it? Personally, I would not have minded if Woody Allen ranted for two hours about all the things that irritated his “miserable” life. He probably has some worthwhile perspective, and his character is visually appealing because of his nuerotic tendencies. However, maybe this idea does not work because of the veiwer. The veiwer cannot simply be told what to think, or how to think, they want to relate to similar thinking with experiences from their own lives. Thus, making the argument that stories should follow the three act structure when engaging their audience. If Annie Hall was a film just about the experiences of a nuerotic comic, many people would probably leave the cinema confused about its purpose. The audience expects the familairty of film conventions because it is easier to follow what happens in the storyworld. For example, one can tell when a dramatic climax is coming due to the suspenseful buildup in an act. Also, it gives the audience a story that can coherently be pieced together without having to seperate sections of the film because they are connected in convoluted ways.    

Lost

In the show Lost, the point of veiw shots and dialouge do an excellent job of hiding the fact that Mr. Locke is in a wheelchair. Aready knowing form the reading about his disability, I looked for small clues that might signify his paralysis. When the show tells Locke’s past through flashbacks, he is seated while talking on the phone or to someone directly in front of him. The point of veiw creates an invisible world where Locke seems fine physically. However, the dialougue in the flashbacks are a huge hint about his condition. Watching him try to defend himself to the Australian tour guide makes one think that his age, or his “condition,” is the reason that the organizers will not allow him to come. When they speak of his condition, people naturally associate it with his military background because of the phone call where someone calls him Coronell. One might think, maybe his service has affected his health in some way? However, the best clue is when he glares at his feet twice in the episode. Initially he looks at his feet wondering how he has been cured, but the audience is led to believe that he might be paralyised. While the second time, the audience is convinced that he is paralyised while hesitates on the ground for a long period  of time. However he is just sitting on the ground, reaffirming that his body can fuction normally. 

Not being a follower of the show Lost, I can only speculate from what I was shown about how future events will unfold, and mimic the mysterious discourse of Locke. Two things which already have been shown in a similar fashion will continue to be developed until a dramatic moment exposes their purpose. The first is the ghost-like figure that Jack sees twice on the beach while helping the upset women. The other is the monster like beast that only Locke has seen while hunting in the woods. Both seem particularly interesting in their own ways. The ghost led Jack into the woods where he found Locke, with the boar he set out to kill. This is significant because Locke was thought to be dead by the people who ventured into the woods with him. However, he is not, and maybe this ghost will continue to alert Jack to necessities that will help the plane crash victims survive. While the monster poses a threat because it is still mysterious to the audience, Locke is the only one who has seen the beast. It did not harm Locke, but the high camera angle makes this monster beast seem strong and dangerous. As the show Lost continues, these small mysterious twists drive the plot, but also give the audience clues to their nature and purpose thoughout the series.     

Television

After reading about the difficult parameters that are involved with creating a narrative, I find the work that is done with television to be particularly impressive. Granted literary work has to be extremely descriptive or talk in depth about a particular aspect of the narrative to highlight its significance, and film has to visually stimulate its audence because what isn’t shown or talked about is not important, but I feel like television has to combine both the former and the later elements into its mode of production while still conforming to strict time and life demands. For instance, in the Mittell reading he discusses how Jennifer Garner had to take time off from Alias to have a baby, and John Spencer suddenly died while a cast member of the West Wing. Writers have to restructure these shows so the arcs and narrative match the overall genre expectations. Good shows use both focalization and cognitive schemata to make the audience believe the new material and enjoy their narrative, whether it is episodic or serial. This becomes even more impressive when you read about how the writers of Lost (pg. 167) use cognitive schemata (the eye) and focalization to provide both a flashback to the story and transition into an important place of the diegetic present; the man is in a secret hatch. Also, television is trying to entertain their audience on a weekly basis for either 22 or 45 minutes, depending on the length of the show and commercials. While literary work and films don’t neccessarily have as strict of a time limit (film is about 2 hours), rather, the work is finished at the artist’s desire.   

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