This course is 1 part a deconstruction of modern narratives and 1 part construction of them for contemporary media. It's important that for students to be effective narrative designers whether that be for games, film, TV, journalism, or else, that they know how the narratives that have influenced them so much were built. But knowledge does not make a designer implicitly. Experience in weaving these narratives together is what makes them so appealing from the consumer side.
When students think of narrative they most often go right to their favorite stories. Watching Casablanca on a snowy December eve, the sweeping mesas of the Mexican frontier as the gallop along on horseback in Red Dead Redemption, or maybe just The Office running endlessly on repeat on a cracked iPad next to their laptop as they hustle through a Canvas quiz before rushing off to class. We often think of the shining or at least halcyon moments when we think narrative. But Narrative Design has grown into much more than just The Hero’s Journey. Narratives have reached well beyond just stories, its bled into perception, color, plot, persuasion and so much more. It’s being used (and quite effectively) to reshape how we as a society think because of our keen interest in organizing things as narrative. We’ve seen it used for all purposes, whether for the good of mankind or bad.
The 2020 American Election proved to be one of the most populated stomping grounds for false narratives. Social media has run rampant with targeted ads, and misleading articles drenched in verisimilitude. Young people are even starting to question decade old narratives sold to them by their parents such as “boot straps”, “the American dream”, and “the economy”. Narratives have been built all around us and are being delivered and sold to us to prey upon our human instinct to decipher things using story.
Narrative design is about world building, presence, lore, and context. This process is less about writing dialog, screen directions, or technical mark up and more about establishing tone, art direction, and story. It’s a bigger, higher level process meant to unify a vision and allow other creators to use as a “sacred text” so to speak. We live in a near infinite world of possibility and narrative design is a way of pointing hundreds possibly even 1000s of creators in a singular direction to help create a cohesive immersive piece, regardless of format.
This course is eligible for honors credit through Hutton Honors College.
Catalog Information: COLL-S 103 FRESHMAN SEMINAR IN A & H