Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hero's Journey, Monomyth (188 Stages) Writing for Film


The 188 stage Hero's Journey (Monomyth) is the template upon which the vast majority of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters are based upon. In fact, ALL of the hundreds of Hollywood movies we have deconstructed (see URL below) are based on this 188+ stage template.

Understanding this template is a priority for story or screenwriters. This is the template you must master if you are to succeed in the craft.

[The terminology is most often metaphoric and applies to all successful stories and screenplays, from The Godfather (1972) to Brokeback Mountain (2006) to Annie Hall (1977) to Lord of the Rings (2003) to Drugstore Cowboy (1989) to Thelma and Louise (1991) to Apocaplyse Now (1979)].



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

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

c) Gives you a tangible process for building and releasing dissonance (establishing and achieving catharses, of which there are usually four).

d) Tells you what to write. For example, at a certain stage of the story, the focus should be on the Call to Adventure and the micro elements within.


(simply go to for full details)

*****No Mans Land and New Self*****

It is in No Mans Land that the Hero's New Self becomes apparent. In Brokeback Mountain (2005), Jack tells Pop, the ignorant son of a bitch, to sit down. Ennis finds out that Alma knows he is gay.

*****Push to the Crossing of the Return Threshold*****

The Rescue from Without pushes the Hero to the Return Crossing. In Brokeback Mountain (2005), " your Daddy the marrying kind?"

*****Pulled into the Belly of the Whale*****

Pushes and Pulls are an underrated aspect of storytelling. Pushes and Pulls force the Hero et al from one stage of the journey to the next.

Inevitably, the Hero is forced (pulled or pushed) into the Belly of the Whale. In Dances with Wolves (1990), there is an Indian meeting to encourage familiarisation with the strange White Man. In Superman (1978), Clark Kent must leave the farm. In Thelma and Louise (1991), both are forced to flee from the bar after shooting Harlan.

Supernatural Aid Encouragement. If there is a Mentor involved, he (or she) will encourage the journey. In The Matrix (1999), Morpheus ensures things progress along.

Time Pressure in some form will push things along. In Star Wars (1977), storm troopers hunt the 'droids. In Titanic (1997), there is an iceberg warning.

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