Juul’s article on Video games

December 2nd, 2008

Juul’s article discusses three reasons why video games should be considered forms of narratives and three reasons why they should not. I have always felt thta video games contained narratives, but on of the points in the reasons got me thinking that maybe there is not. The point is that the relationship between the reader/viewer and the storyworld is different than the relation between the player and the game world. I agree with this because video game players seem to have more control on affecting the narrative. Some games have different paths than you can explore, or different stages within the game where you can play. The video game player is actually controlling someone in the storyworld whereas readers/viewers have no control on the story world in movies or in novels. I think this is an interesting debate.

Video Games (NBA 2k9)

December 1st, 2008

I like video games, and play often. However, I really only like the sports games. So I play the same 3 or 4 games and just keep getting the updated year. Each year the game will try and create different modes and things you can do besides just playing full games against a friend or the computer. Each year, the narration in the games do not really seem to change much. They will sometimes change the commentators and will change their “catch phrases” to describe the players and what they are doing. I have been playing NBA 2K9 pretty reguarly the last few weeks. The narrator’s say the same phrases each game and it gets quite irritating. However, I found out from a friend (also a NBA 2K9 player) that you can update the current game by putting it on the online mode. I do not know much about playing online, but I understand that you can play different people at different locations. Anyways, he said that you can update the current players based on how they are playing during this year’s actual season. I think that is significantbecause doing that can change the narrative by changing how the commentators describe the players.


November 24th, 2008

Last night, I watched what I thought was the season premeire of 24 but it was actually a prologue. I think it was kind of a teaser and I had no idea that the next episode would not be until Janurary 11th. Maybe it’s because I watched it on the DVR and skipped the commercials. Fox aired two hours of events that took place between season six and season seven. I do not believe that this show has ever done this but it got me thinking of the narrative strategy. Giving a two hour prologue provides the audience with more information and i think that is a useful strategy. In previous seasons, I would have to try and fill in the blanks of what happened in between seasons since ever season in this series represents one day of events that occur in real time. The only problem is that I am upset that I have to wait two months for the next episode, but also anxious. I am wondering if other shows do this? I think the producers of 24 decided to do this because it has been two years since the last season of 24 because of the writers’ strike.  Anyways, I have always been a fan of 24’s narrative structure with how the events occur in real time, how they show you the time of the day frequently, and how the split the screens to show different events occuring at the same time during certain parts of the show. Anyone else see 24 Redemption last night? I really enjoyed it!

Today’s class discussion

November 13th, 2008

I was thinking about our discussion today about comprehension, interpretation, and experience in viewing Mulholland Drive. I agree with what some people said in class about trying to comprehend first and then interpret; and I definitely was confused for much of the film especially after the key unlocked the box. The experience for me was frustrating, scary, funny, confusing engaging, and enjoyable which is I thinkis remarkable. I do not think I have ever left a film before with all of those mixed feelings. I have no idea what genre this film should be classified in because i was amused and scared during many of the scenes. Even though I was confused, I was still engaged because I wanted to solve the “puuzle’ or unlock the thriller as Lynch would put it. I definitely think the film was made for multiple viewings and I would like to see it again. However, I became a little frustrated because I was so confused that I wanted to give up, and I can’t say that I won’t give up trying to interpret even in the second viewing even though I want to see it again. I hope that makes sense. I really want to see Twin Peaks now also!

Final Essay Topic

November 10th, 2008

Initially, I wanted to research the device of the “flash forward opening” in films. However, I encountered a problem with finding sources so I wanted to change it. I read the paper topic blogs from class, and one really interested me, so I was hoping to do a similar topic. Douby’s blog talked about the narration in college or professional football and argues that each game is an episode in a season and the off season allows for new characters (players) to join the series.

            I would like to research how the narrative affects college basketball or professional basketball but looking at how the basketball commentators on ESPN, TNT Ect. use a narrative for each game to try and maximize entertainment. Commentators of basketball games at the professional level and even Division one college basketball are different than say the high school level because those sports league are businesses. The outcome of the contests seems irrelevant, the only matter to these leagues and to the television networks are did they please the spectators and entertain them. Did they maximize ratings?

 I think exploring the issues of the referee scandal that is currently going on surrounding Tim Donaghy is also a good example to explore of someone trying to fix an athletic competition into a narrative pleasing to him and the NBA. Media representations of American Professional sports are extremely popular.

In the book entitled Out of Bounds Ava Rose and James Friedman explore the many ways in which television sports constructs a uniquely masculine experience of spectatorship. I think I can also research this issue of masculinity and if the narrative targets males in college basketball and the NBA. The book quotes, “TV sports are similar to soap operas in its distracted reception, its construction of a gender viewing community, and many of its discursive strategies and textual effects”. I think the issue of masculinity and the notion of the narrative in sports creating a sense of distraction is also an issue that I can research here.

I think the best way to do this research is to use this book as my main source and watch a few Basketball games where there are clear examples of a narrative as entertainment and as a masculine cult of distraction. I could also look into how the NBA/College basketball uses advertisements and marketing skills to try and enhance their games leading into the narrative. For example the NBA’s slogan is: The NBA- Where Amazing happens! They have many commercials and ads in magazines to promote the NBA like this and then the commentators also try to incorporate this slogan into the narrative.

Thesis- The NBA (or college basketball) is more focused in entertaining an audience by using a narrative as a mode of entertainment than the actual result of the game; while also targeting a specific audience.

Please let me know if I can do this topic or if you think it is too similar to Douby’s?



  1. Edited by Aaron Baker and Todd Boyd Out of Bounds- Sports, Media, and The Politics of Identity Indiana University Press in Bloomington Indianapolis. Copyright 1997
  2. Edited by Tom McMillen with Paul Coggins Out of Bounds- How the American Sports Establishment is Being Driven by Greed and Hypocrisy and what needs to be done about it Simon & Schuster New York Copyright 1992
  3. Phone interview with NY Times sports writer William Rhoden
  4. Watching Actual NBA Games
  5.    Edited by David Herman The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (class text book)

More secondary sources to come as I do more research.

Video Essay

November 4th, 2008

Working on this assignment was definitely a good experience and I enjoyed it. Andrew and I decided to dour project on The Prestige. This is one of my favorite movies and each time I watch it I discover something that I hadn’t known before. For example, In dong this project I realized that the first voice over of the film is done by Bourdan (Christian Bale) and Not Cutter (Michael Caine). I remember that we talked about this in class and I think the majority thought that it was Caine who opened the film with a voice over. Anyways, just to give a preview for our project, we decided to look deeper into Christian Bale’s two characters: Bourdan and Fallon. We focus is on Fallon as Bourdan (looking like Bale) and not the disguised Fallon. We decided to explore their relationships with Sarah and Olivia. Fallon is in love with Sarah and Bourdan is in love with Olivia. We even use color as a signifier in our video to show when Bale is Fallon and when he is Bourdan. The scenes that we use feature both Bale characters with both women. Fallon and Olivia, Fallon and Sarah, Bourdan and Olivia and Bourdan and Sarah. We also have two scenes in which both Fallon and Bourdan are present. We also use voice overs which shows specifically how the narrative is different by providing clues to the fact that there are twin brothers that make many of their magic tricks possible and confuse their love interests because two different people do not act the same.

The Prestige

October 23rd, 2008

This is the third time watching this film and I think its gotten better each time. In terms of the narrators, I think there were multiple ones. The film starts out with Cutter (Michael Caine) introducing the three different parts of a successful magic trick which made him the initial implied author. He also concludes the film with the same voice over speech as in the beginning. However, we get other perspectives when we hear voice overs from Robert (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred (Christian Bale). It is interesting with Alfred because we are not sure who the real Alfred is and who and when the twin brother is featured. We get several voice overs from Robert starting with the one in the beginning that indicates a time shift. I was confused with some of the aspects of time in the film in my first viewing which is also a similarity to Memento. Nolan uses a discontinuous narrative which left me confused in my first viewing. I was confused about why Alfred was in jail and when the story was in the present. It all made a lot mores sense in the second viewing and is remarkable to watch now. I picked up a little more on Fallon (also Christian Bale) and his role and many of their magic tricks made a lot more sense. He also looked like Christian Bale and Alfred had a cue when he he quotes, “you live live for both of us”. This happens towards the end of the film when he’s about to be hung. Overall, it is a film I really enjoyed and i do not think that there is just one narrator. Also, I am still looking for a partner for the Video essay assignment if anyone is interested?

Narration/ The Prestige

October 21st, 2008

I was thinking a lot about this question of agency in narratology. The definition of narration in the Chatman article is the process whereby the film’s syuzhet and style interact in the course of cuing and channeling the spectator’s construction of the fabula. Bordwell then goes on to say that the narrator computes human being to him meaning that he questions if no voice or body gets identified as a locus of narration can there still be a narrator present in the film. I understand the narrative as the elements and devices to tell stories and also that the narrative is constructed by the thinking of the audience members. Is the main protagonist the narrator is no voice is identified as the narrator? Also I was thinking about this week’s film, The Prestige. i saw this film when it came out and it was a little confusing. This time when I watch it, I will try and view it for the different types of narrators and the agency in narrartology.

Paper Topic

October 19th, 2008

I am still thinking about some ideas to use for my paper and have seen some great ideas on other blogs. I was thinking that maybe I could analyze the fabula, syuzhet, and style of two films that we have not studied in class and compare and contrast them. I think two films with similar qualities but different ways of telling the story. I think a more specific idea would be to analyze two films that begin the movie by showing the ending and then going back with an inter title of for example “four years earlier” and then telling the story of how they got to that point in the film. I could explore aspects of such as character representation and how other cinematic structures help tell the story. I do not have the two films in mind that I want to study yet, but I wanted to make sure I am on the right track before I look at possible movie choices. Thoughts professor Mittell?

The Sixth Sense

October 2nd, 2008

I will start off by saying that this film is the scariest film I have ever seen. It terrified me ten years ago, and it still terrified me seeing it for the second time tonight. Anyways, I noticed some significant differences in this viewing. The first time i saw the film, I did not realize that Bruce Willis’s character was dead until he found out at the end. I thought he was divorced from his wife and that he was still a working doctor. We never see him with any other patients, but he does mention to Haley Joel Osment’s character that he wanted to transfer him to another doctor which led me to assume that he was alive the first time i saw the film. However, watching it the second time I realized that there were inferences that he is dead. The biggest one is that the boy’s mother never acknowledges or talks to Willis. They never have on conversation or interaction.  Another inference is when he meets her for there anniversary dinner and she acts as if he is not there. It did not seem like she was just simply upset at him. Osment also states that the dead people he sees are unaware that they are dead which is another clue. The one thing that I didn’t understand was why Osment was was not afraid of Willis? He was scared every time he saw a dead person, but not when he saw Willis. I thought there was one really interesting scene that provided a unique film style. Osment and his mother are talking at a table in the kitchen and instead of using traditional editing the director takes a different approach. He moves the camera back and forth without cutting in a medium shot when each character talks taking the other character completely off screen instead of using shot reverse shots or close ups. The scene goes on for a few minutes without cutting. Also the use of the color red is evident throughout many shots in the film. I thought this was very unique.