Beyond and Beside Narrative (Discussion)

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Bill Nichols' terms

Explain film scholar Bill Nichols' sense of the following terms:[1]

  • historical world or historical reality
    • Why does he prefer this term to "reality"?
  • social actor
    • Why does he prefer this term to "individuals" or, simply, "people" in non-narrative works?

Modes of representation

Television depicts historical reality and addresses itself to the viewer about that reality through four principal "modes". Individual genres and programs are not limited to one single mode, but instead draw upon each as needed.

Explain the principles behind each mode, drawing examples, as the book does, from:

  1. Group 4: Expository (or rhetorical)
    Fig05-01_Bowflex_MaxTrainer_Ad_During_The_Mick_20170101qq00_01_07qq00023.jpg
  2. Group 5: Participatory (in older work, Nichols referred to this mode as "Interactive")
    Fig05-05_PriceIsRight20101213_02.jpg
  3. Groups 6 and 1: Observational
    Fig05-08_CopsOnHulu20101119qq00_01_17qq.jpg
  4. Groups 2 and 3: Reflexive
    Fig05-13_DailyShow_000001.jpg

Applying "modes of representation"

Storage Wars: "A Tale Of Two Jackets" (2012)

In discussing these questions, refer to specific scenes, dialogue, shots, graphics, etc. in Storage Wars.

  1. Group 4: Expository (or rhetorical)
    • How does it argue for a certain interpretation of these events?
    • How does it shape our understanding of them?
    • Is it different from/similar to the news coverage of Goražde? Is it different from/similar to commercials?
  2. Group 5: Participatory (in older work, Nichols referred to this mode as "Interactive")
    • How do social actors participate in the creation of television?
    • Does the TV world interact with the historical world?
    • Is it different from/similar to social actors in game shows?
  3. Groups 6 and 1: Observational
    • Do the producers just observe these events or do they appear to stage or manipulate them?
    • How is this show different from/similar to Cops?
  4. Groups 2 and 3: Reflexive
    • Is it TV about TV? Does it make you aware of TV as TV?
    • Is it different from/similar to The Daily Show's Iraq bit?

Cast

  • Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante: "The Young Guns"
  • Darrell and Brandon Sheets: "The Gambler" and his son
  • Dave Hester: "The Mogul"
  • Barry Weiss: "The Collector"
  • Dan and Laura Dotson: auctioneers
  • Nabila Haniss
  • Jeff Jarred

College Football: Alabama vs. Duke (in Atlanta) on ABC

8/31/2019. Announcers: Steve Levy, play-by-play; Brian Griese, color/analyst; Todd McShay and Molly McGrath, sideline reporters. On-demand from SEC Network.

  1. Group 4: How is the expository mode apparent in this game?
    • What function do statistics, graphics and replays serve? Be as specific as possible.
  2. Group 5: How is the game turned into a narrative, a story?
    • Do Brian Griese's comments in this game fit the generalization? Be as specific as possible.
    • Are the "social actors" turned into characters?
  3. Groups 6 and 1: Do the book's generalizations about the play-by-play announcer apply to Steve Levy in this broadcast? Be as specific as possible.
  4. Groups 2 and 3: How do football's time and space fit the time and space of television?
    • Provide examples from this broadcast.
  5. All Groups: What function do the sideline reporters (Todd McShay and Molly McGrath) serve? How does their function compare with that of the play-by-play announcer and/or the color commentator? Why don't women do play-by-play or color for (most) football broadcasts?

Divorce Court, 1960

Bibliography

  1. Jeremy G. Butler, Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture (New York: Routledge, 2012).

References

External links