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INTRODUCTION TO
THEORETICAL METHOD

From the state of affairs to the state of feeling

This course was only possible after three decades of development of the Semiotics of Passions, a new science of knowledge that studies the meaning of passions in subjects, a new theory of narrative that takes into account the state of mind of characters in the construction of the fictional character.

A science of fiction, so called for incorporating the subject into the narrative, for including its feeling along with its acting. We move from a theory of action to a theory of emotion, of acting to feel the characters, which makes a lot of sense when we take into account that it is the "feel" that governs the "action" of the characters.

The general arc of a series or a movie, which is generated from the actions of the characters in this theory, is also formed from the effects of the transformations of passions on the characters. A character's journey in search of an object is operated by an action, which, in turn, is governed by the emotions of this character, and the arc stems from the junction of these two concepts: acting and feeling.

The Semiotics of the Passions takes into account that the text of fiction has three levels, arranged in a Generative Path of Sense: the “superficial” level, where are the speeches, actions and dialogues; the "narrative", where are the pathetic states of soul and the modes of existence governing the actions; and the "deep" level, where the tensing forces operate to push the character toward the empowerment of his soul.

This unprecedented theory will follow this theoretical path, which can be applied to the script of fiction in the form of "schemes". There are several theoretical schemes to understand how we can write such complex structures, such as Alfonso Cuáron's “Roma”, which obscures the feeling of the characters in their simple actions, the more classic narratives, such as “Game of Thrones”, where the journey of the hero is evident, but also governed by the affective journey of all his characters.

"Game of Thrones" only works as a perfect series, and one of the most awarded in the history of world TV, because it relies not only on the structures of the action, but also on the passionate motivations of each character. In "Rome," the journeys of two heroines are transmitted through sensations, not through their actions. These schemes make it possible to show that the arcs of the film and the characters Cleo and Sofia are caused by turning points in the form of "sensation" rather than "action".

This shift from the state of "things" to the state of "soul," which is the subtitle of Greimas and Fontanille's book "Semiotics of Passions," gave rise to a theory of narrative based on the emotions of the characters, called French Semiotics, developed in France, by AJ Greimas in the early 1990, and because it was so successful, it was called “greimasian” semiotics, a new science from linguistics for narrative theory.

This shock and change that continues to the present day is a paradigm shift in which the focus of character structures and narrative shifts from a "state of affairs to a state of mind." From a theory of action to a new one, of emotion.

Initially, this semiotics has advanced in the field of visual and plastic semiotics, including with great success in its application in Advertising and Marketing by Jean-Marie Floch, and only now, after more than two decades, are we applying this theory in the field of Cinema and the narrative of fiction.

The arc of acting and feeling

The arc of acting is built through a character's objectives, as is Arya's character's revenge bow in "Game of Thrones," which goes from a know-not-kill to a kill-power she wants. While the arc of feeling refers to the character rather than the structure of the script, its changes in this curve range from a state of satisfaction to a state of hatred and revenge.

A character's Narrative Revenge Program should be motivated by a need to settle who did the damage, as well as settle at the same time hatred, the real motivator of his sense of revenge. Feeling and acting always work together to form only one bow for both the character and the narrative structure.

In this theory, feeling (state of mind) governs acting (state of things), sensitive(immanent) rules the intelligible (the world of things), while from the point of view of structure, what governs this theory is the concession, which will promote the arc's turning points of a story and a character through Extraordinary Events.

Until then, we had a narrative theory based on “narrativity”, which takes acting as meaning into a script, and this theory presented here is also of action, but its novelty is the theory of emotion.

The theory of passion is important because it is the feeling that king acting, since emotions are what trigger the actions of the characters, generate their actions and speech, influencing the passage from one act to another, and the obligatory transformations of the story, making sense, because a sense of the characters is also at work, sensitizing the story and the viewer.

Semiotics of Passion has become the newest science in the field of knowledge, precisely because it can explain how subjects are governed by their passions, and how they affect them.

The difficulty is that this knowledge is in a very restricted area, only in large universities, with limited access to masters and doctors. It took three decades of research to extract this knowledge just beyond the walls of academia and apply it to the practical world.

Concessives structures

From the point of view of the character's passionate structure, this semiotics absorbed in this theory illuminates a field of the subject we call the 'soul', grounded on 'suffering', without which it would be impossible to establish the schemas to understand the concessive narrative.

The organizing scheme of this sensitive structure is the 'concession', a point of tension in the narrative because of its 'surprise' effect on the story and the character.

From the point of view of the structure of the action, the concession is the place of surprise. From the point of view of the effects of affects, the "surprise" is governed by a "concessive" scheme, due to the arrival of the unexpected. The surprise is the breaking of the expected, breaks with the implication and opens a concession to this narrative for the unexpected to happen.

The concessive scheme, in short, is the "unexpected" (as opposed to the implicative, the "expected"), where we can master the change of course of characters and their sudden stops in the face of the unexpected.

The characters constantly change course, as they are guided by the “to come”, by something that happens suddenly and surprises them in a concessive way when they are not waiting. It is the expectation of the unexpected.

Whereas in the "implicative" structures, as opposed to the "concessive" structures, is the action expected and programmed by the character, which is the expectation of the expected. The grant is based on the unexpected, while the implication is based on the expected. Just surprise, therefore, if the character is affected by the unexpected.

From the point of view of the script's structure, this theory can reveal the invisible layers of narrative and characters, with the same basic principles of narrative, left by Aristotle, that events need at least two transformations, divided into three acts, time needed to form the dramatic arc of the story and character.

A character's affective and action path is traced from events that take him out of a state of “waiting,” which has weight if surprised by the unexpected, causing a break in the character's acting world and leaving a fracture in his character. alma, whose object of his project of action will be to close this fracture, to settle this lack that impels him to act.

The journey will be the realization of an affective arc, based on its constant and necessary transformations.

The journey of a character in the narrative, through a program of fulfillment, is established from these action-promoting events, but in fact his pursuit is in a liquidation of his suffering, of a potentialization of his soul, even that is concessively. Every character is driven by his imperfection in search of a compromising perfection.

This theory, with its very explanatory modules, makes it possible to describe the invisible curve of what promotes the visible curve of action. This method has access to this character's invisible arc and its control to use it logically and correctly in the development of its stories.

Narrativity, Marketing and Passion

Greimas, one of the founders of the School of Semiotics of Paris, brought to the world the seed of Semiotics of Passions in the 1980 years, when he published the book “Do Sentido”, which changed the course of the narrative by exposing a scheme based on a governed subject. by passionate modalities.

Only in 1991, by launching, with Jacques Fontanille, the seminal book "Semiotics of Passions", applied to the signifier of the fictional character, that semiotics gained the theoretical body applied today.

Our theory also relied on Greimas's most hermetic work, "From Imperfection," published in France in 1987, considered his most complex work, for daring to create an aesthetic for the "subject." Not just one more theory for an aesthetic, but an aesthetic for the subject that is born in contrast to the aesthetics of the object. A correct interpretation that still needs to be recognized.

In this book, the author elaborates schemes of how a character feels the extraordinary event in the form of a "sensation." When it is sucked from the world of acting into the world of the sensible, through which it comes into the impact of the unexpected. And that this can be as much an aesthetic esthesia if the event is before a work of art as a fracture in the soul if the event occurs before its own existential ghosts.

Already in the 2000 years, Passion Semiotics gained another chapter, developed by Claude Zilberberg, a Greimas partner and follower, with Tensive Semiotics, which will incorporate Husserl's phenomenology, the sense of being as Heidegger's “presence” in "Being and Time."

In this study, the author will incorporate Merleau-Ponty's and Gilles Deleuze's “sensible body”, since “sensation” is corporeally felt, the body “feels”, schematising these subjective aspects in a schema of the extraordinary event, returning to the origins of Narrative Semiotics and Passions.

The Semiotics of Passion does not come from Narrativity, widespread in the 1960 years, developed by Umberto Eco, Roland Barthes and Tzvetan Todorov, among others.

Greimas was part of the group, especially when a series of essays entitled “Structural Narrative Analysis”, released in Europe, was released on 1966. In this book, Greimas's studies were based on Propp, still being revealed in France by the symbolic bias of Claude-Levy Strauss, V. Propp's translator from Russian to French.

From the narrative group, only Greimas developed a new narrative theory based on the passionalities of the characters and became a semiotic of the passions, which “incorporates”, finally, the subject to the narrative, a new field with no known references in the narrative field explored by Narrativity.

In the field of psychology, Jacques Lacan chose the study of the "signifier" of the imaginary as his theoretical basis for understanding the psychology of the subjects. And now we have a new theory also based on the 'signifier', but this time on the subject himself, through his passions. The Passion Semiotics comes to be the “subject semiotics” or the “suffering semiotics”, only possible because of the existence of a Concession Semiotic, which we will highlight more in this study.

This theory gained importance in the area of marketing and branding, after companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Channel, among others, used this knowledge to add value to their brands, following the studies of Jean-Marie Floch. After applying these theories, the brands were never the same, they began to be part of the existence of these people. Because these brands have mythical values.

For Floch, tags have a value scale; mystical, playful, technical and practical. The practical corresponds to the can-do, the technical, to a know-how; and the playful, a want-to-be. And to mythical values, "believing". Because believing empowers the soul of the subjects in a concessive way. The attractiveness of a brand is only potent because of this mythic value that is given by the consumer subject.

Now, for the first time, we have been able to put together a theoretical body capable of meeting the need for the area of character passions. That is why this theory has the freshness of news.

Course Structure

The course consists of basically “seven theoretical schemes”; Narrative Program, Existential Simulacrum, Extraordinary Event, Surprise, Damage and Fracture, Cholera, and Revenge. These schemes intersect to form narrative theory based on the actions and emotions of the characters.

The book presents, in the form of a course, a new theory of the narrative of fiction, through these "schemes", which interconnect to form a great theory from the point of view of the generative path of meaning, characters and structure of the script.

We divide the theory into two groups of schemes, which do not separate in practice: on the one hand, the schemes that help us elaborate the structural layers of narrative, such as the Narrative Program and the Existential Simulacrum; and on the other, the structural schemes of the characters, such as extraordinary events, damage and fracture, hatred and revenge.

In the structural schemes is the Narrative Program, a program for executing a character's achievement on a three-act journey based on a contract in the first act, a manipulation in the second act, and a sanction in the third act.

The program has a core, which can be displayed in a graphic, with functions that will be occupied by characters. This three-act program is operated by at least three functions, of a “subject” and an “object”, performing a one-day contract where the “assigner” has the function of interfering in this relationship by pulling the subject or object for themselves, in exchange for competences.

Like the Existential Simulacrum scheme, where we can perceive the same journey in a deeper layer of the narrative as virtualizing the contract phase, in which a character has only one "want"; updated, the manipulation phase, in which characters need to acquire “knowing” and “power”; and performed, the sanction phase, where the character becomes empowered in the belief of his competences.

While in the Narrative Program, characters develop intrigue, especially between a subject, an object, and a destination, in Existential Simulacrum, characters generate concessions, skip stages, and create another phase called empowerment.

The highlight among the character schemes is the Extraordinary Happening, the centrality of the action, the point of tenseness, the transformation of the character into his feeling, from anger to hatred, for example, and the action, promoting a turning point in the story. after the interruption of the event, obliging the existence of a passage from one act to another.

This scheme reveals how a character takes the shock of the unexpected, which will deal a Damage, which also has a scheme that relates the damage to suffering and the quest for settlement of this damage, which also occurs in the character's soul.

Another highlight is the Surprise, which is what makes the extraordinary event tense and surprising. Suppress has a scheme based on the expectation of the unexpected, when what was expected to happen does not happen. And the unexpected happens.

This scheme gives the screenwriter a sense of how to treat his characters to be astonishing, as in "Roma", or as to surprise the viewer, as in "Game of Thrones."

And finally, the schemes of the effects of passions on the characters, such as the scheme of revenge, and the scheme of anger, two great passions that have different causes and arise out of other passions, such as anger, hatred, resentment. , apathy, among others.

The proof of the effectiveness of this theory lies in how it can be applied to different types of fiction, novels and series, such as HBO's “Game of Thrones” and Alfonso Cuáron's “Roma”, produced by Netflix, one of the most popular films. acclaimed and awarded in recent years.