'The Bobby Calf' - non linear and non classical narrative structures in the cinema of unease

Scrivin, Nicholas
Hughes, David
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Master of Arts in Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

This document outlines the research, development and production of a creative work and accompanying exegesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Communication Studies (MCS) programme. It includes the first draft of a feature film screenplay and an exegesis that explores the research conducted, the theoretical context of the work, and analyses the screenwriting process undertaken. The Bobby Calf (2008) is the first draft of a feature film screenplay that uses a non-classical and non-linear narrative structure to tell the story of its main characters and advance the plot. A psychological drama set in rural New Zealand, The Bobby Calf (2008) was originally inspired by the Janet Frame short story The Reservoir (1963), a story based on a group of youngsters who venture forth to discover the forbidden reservoir; a place their parents had forbid them from going. Set in the outskirts of a small farming settlement, the story is a dark and gothic depiction of rural life and the harshness of reality faced by those brought up in a lifestyle they did not choose. The story focuses on the journey of ADAM (21); both as a young boy in 1988 (called JOHNNY) and as a young adult in 1997, and his mother CATH; a woman whose dreams and aspirations for her son and indeed her own life are slowly slipping away. The story centres on Adam as he grows more uncomfortable with how his life has ended up, and his discovery that the life he has been destined to fulfil is not the one he has chosen. Accompanying the screenplay is an exegesis that explores the research conducted previously on the history of non-classical/non-linear narrative structures and the rationale behind the success and limitations of this now-popular form of storytelling. These types of narrative structures are not a new phenomenon, and as many authors have attested, the basis of this form of storytelling is rooted in the history of screenwriting and film making, and borrows many techniques from theatre and literature.

Story-telling , New Zealand rural life , Non linear , Narrative structure , Bobby calf
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