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Sunday, July 09, 2006
 
Romance in Stories and Film: Structure and Patterns


The Heros 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 Heros 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.

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.

The Romantic Challenge

The Hero's Romantic Challenge follows a pattern in most stories and films:

a) The challenge is a challenge because it is not easily gained. Initially, therefore, it is not unusual to see a degree of conflict between the hero and the romantic challenge. In Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000), Jen fights and resists her desert lover. In Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Marion punches Indy in Nepal.

b) The Romantic Challenge is most often conquered as a Reward for having Seized the Sword and undergone the Rebirth. In Star Wars (1977), Luke gets to kiss Leia after he has rescued her from termination and been reborn after the Trash Compactor sequence. In Dances with Wolves (1990), John Dunbar marries Stands with a Fist after he has helped the remainder of the Sioux tribe defeat the Pawnee.

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