Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hero's Journey, Monomyth (188 stages)- Screenwriting Tools, Structural Integrity


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)

*****Final Conflict: Developing the Antagonism*****

Post the Crossing of the Return Threshold and before the Master of Two Worlds and Selves, a hell of a lot happens that is rarely given mention. The Final Conflict (a metaphor for this stage) follows a distinct process. One aspect of this process is the buildup of the antagonism's threat. In Straw Dogs (1971), the Major arrives (a mentor and supernatural aid) and is quickly defeated by the Demon King (Tom) [the Major confronts Tom; Tom shoots the Major].

*****Antagonist's True Nature*****

The Antagonist, who ultimately is not unlike the Hero, reveals himself. In the Bond Franchise, this is often where the villain reflects on his motivations.

Mirror Image. It often turns out that the Antagonist is known to the Hero; is a shadow or mirror of him or similar. In Spiderman (2002), the Green Goblin reveals himself to Peter Parker - he is Harry's father. In Return of the Jedi (1983), Vader takes off his mask to reveal his true self to Luke. In Scooby Doo, we always knew the Antagonist was amongst us.

Deceit. But the Antagonist (normally) is naturally evil and intends on certainly vanquishing the Hero. He (or she) commits a deceit that will result in the Hero's death (or wrestle control from him). In Spiderman (2002), the Green Goblin deceives Peter and plans the final kill.

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