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Sunday, July 30, 2006
 
Screenwriting International: Hero's Journey and the Inner Cave


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.

Hero's Journey and the Inner Cave

The Inner Cave appears in at least two separate and distinct phases. The first is as part of the First Threshold and the second as part of the Seizing of the Sword - normally the location of the Sword.

There are distinct commonalities between both.

There is a Threshold Guardian that blocks entry to the Inner Cave.

There is an authoritarian figure that explains the new rules of the Inner Cave.

The Inner Cave is part of a New World that the hero enters into.

Both often involve near death experiences and a rebirth.

Both are located "in the depths," which can be translated literarily, metaphorically or symbolically.

For example, In Gladiator (2000), during each Inner Cave sequence, Maximus is imprisoned and held underground. In Star Wars (1977), Luke "descends" into a "cave" when he meets Han Solo and when he rescues Leia.

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

You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.
 
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