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Wednesday, July 26, 2006
 
Film and Screenwriting Course; Hero's Journey - Polarization


The Hero's Journey is the template upon which the vast majority of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters are based upon. Understanding this template is a priority for story or screenwriters:

The Hero's Journey:

Attempts to tap into unconscious expectations the audience has regarding what a story is and how it should be told.

Gives the writer more structural elements than simply three or four acts, plot points, mid point and so on.

Interpreted metaphorically, laterally and symbolically, allows an infinite number of varied stories to be created.

The Hero's Journey is also a study of repeating patterns in successful stories and screenplays. It is compelling that screenwriters have a higher probability of producing quality work when they mirror the recurring patterns found in successful screenplays.

The Hero's Journey is also a study of conventions. Before screenwriters can decide whether to accept or reject the conventions, they must appreciate their purpose and value.

Consider this:

Titanic (1997) grossed over $600,000,000 uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

Star Wars (1977) grossed over $460,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

Shrek 2 (2004) grossed over $436,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

ET (1982) grossed over $434,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

Spiderman (2002) grossed over $432,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

Out of Africa (1985), Terms of Endearment (1983), Dances with Wolves (1990), Gladiator (2000) All Academy Award Winners Best Film are based on the Hero's Journey.

Anti-hero stories (Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990) etc) are all based on the Hero's Journey.

Heroines Journey stories (Million Dollar Baby (2004), Out of Africa (1980) etc) are all based on the Hero's Journey.

Polarization

Once the Hero has entered the World of the Transformation, there tends to be a specific sequence polarizing the hero from his antagonisms.

In Elizabethtown (2005), Drew faces his uncle et al...they want a burial and his side of the family want a cremation. He is from "California."

In Star Wars (1977), Darth Vader explicitly infers that Obi Wan has come to face him.

In The Matrix (1999), Matrix and Cypher interact - Cypher assumes that Neo would have taken the other pill if he had the chance again - inferring his desire to return and the lead up to the betrayal.

Learn more

The Complete 188 stage Heros Journey and FREE 17 stage sample and other story structure templates can be found at http://managing-creativity.com/

You can also receive a regular, free newsletter by entering your email address at this site.

Kal Bishop, MBA

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