Screenwriting Seminar: Hero's Journey and The Role of Allies
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.
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 role of Allies
The hero's allies play an integral part of most stories. Three dimensional allies make for a richer stories.
Three dimensional allies - like the hero - have their own challenges, mentors and limitations. In Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000), both Li and Shu Lien (mentors) have an inner challenge and a mentor (Sir Te).
It is not unusual for the allies, at around the time of the atonement, to confront their own limitations. In Star Wars (1977), this is when Han and Chewy debate "leaving this party." In Elizabethtown (2005), this is when Hollie states that she will learn Tap, Comedy and Organic Cooking.
The Complete 188 stage Heros Journey and FREE 17 stage sample and other story structure templates can be found at http://managing-creativity.com/
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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