Narrative Film Guide
A narrative film is a type of film that tells a fictional story. There are many different types of narrative films – action films, fantasy films, comedy films, and romance films. Think about some of your favorite films: Zootopia, Home Alone, The Wizard of Oz, or How to Train Your Dragon. All of these are narrative films because they all tell a made up story. However, with any kind of narrative film, the point is to make the story feel real through the writing and the acting.
Narrative Film Examples
Check out these mini-movies made by students:
Common Features of Narrative Film
There is a lot that goes into storytelling. However, even as important as the story is to a narrative film, there are many other features that can help keep your audience interested in that story – and most importantly, have them wanting more.
Here are some key features and questions that you should ask yourself while you’re creating your story:
- Setting – This is the time and location where your story takes place.
- Does this story take place in the past, present or the future?
- Where do most of the characters interact with each other?
- Characters – A story usually involves a number of characters who each have a different role or purpose. Typically in narrative films, there are protagonists, who are the main characters that must accomplish or overcome obstacles, and there are antagonists, who stand between the protagonist and their goal.
- Who is the protagonist and what are they trying to achieve? And for what reason?
- Who is the antagonist and why/how are they going to stop the protagonist?
- Plot – This is the sequence of events that happen within the story that connect the audience to the protagonist and their goal. Most narrative plots have a beginning, a middle and an end.
- What is the goal of the protagonist?
- How do they plan on achieving that goal?
- What will happen after they achieve this goal? How will this change the protagonist?
- Conflict – This is what drives the story, creates tension and builds suspense. It is what keeps the audience engaged in the story as they wait to see if the protagonist will achieve their goal. Without conflict, there is no story to tell.
- What obstacles are stopping the protagonist from achieving their goal?
- What will happen if the protagonist does not achieve this goal?
Remember, there are no rules when it comes to filmmaking. The features listed above are basic guidelines to help you tell your story. As important as it is to keep an audience interested, always remember that every story is good as long as your heart is in it.