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The narrator is a character who conveys verbal commentary over a movie, television show, or audiobook. There are numerous forms of narration, such as first person narration by a character or set of characters, and third person narration, with a detached, objective narration of the story and the events. Narrator characters generally speak clearly about events, though some first person narrator characters are biased, pushing their own narrative, or have limited knowledge.
Objective third person narrator characters are without bias, recounting the story or information being shared, or providing extra insight in films such as in documentaries. These narrator characters are generally factual, though they may have limited or full knowledge of the story and either narrate as a third party observer with limited knowledge, or with full knowledge and access to the thoughts of all characters. If the narrator character speaks in the latter form of third person narration, the narrator will be more sure of what he or she is narrating, and opens room for extra commentary on the attitudes of all characters. If the narrator character is limited in knowledge, there will be more room for speculation and only facts, not feelings, will be shared.
First person narration typically occurs in fictional settings; or autobiographical and memoir works, in which a character narrates his or her inner thoughts, or his or her previous experiences. These forms of narration are generally both limited in knowledge, and have a personal bias in favour of the narrator. This type of narration has the potential to convey more emotion, with characters speaking about how they feel regarding a specific person, event or thing, and what he or she plans to do. The narrator character may be confused or dishonest at times, leading to an untrustworthy narrator. In this setting, the narrator character is less an observer and more an active participant, with many other roles he or she fulfills, narration being a passive role in fictional settings and a recounting of memories with potential bias or misremembering in the non-fictional settings.
The narrator character’s role can vary depending on the genre of work, the perspective of the narrator, and the reliability of the narrator. Narration as a full time job is most common in the audiobook industry, with all books needing narrations of various characters. Narrator characters can be seen in many films and television shows, such as in non-fiction media, and fictional works. One example of a non-fiction narrator character would be David Attenborough’s work in the Planet Earth documentary series. A fictional piece of media with a third person narrator character would be the original Grinch television special, which features an omniscient view of both the Grinch’s and the Whos’ emotions. By determining which type of narrator you are voicing, and observing the conventions other narrators in that branch follow, you can hone your narration skills to perfection!