Pitch a Screenplay: Know Your Hero's Journey

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 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.

Consider this:

o Titanic (1997) grossed over $600,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

o Star Wars (1977) grossed over $460,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

o Shrek 2 (2004) grossed over $436,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

o ET (1982) grossed over $434,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

o Spiderman (2002) grossed over $432,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

o 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.

o Anti-hero stories (Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990) etc) are all based on the Hero's Journey.

o Heroine's Journey stories (Million Dollar Baby (2004), Out of Africa (1980) etc) are all based on the Hero's Journey.

Pitch a Screenplay: Know your Hero's Journey

Knowing your story according to the Hero's Journey Template increases the quality of the pitch. You will be talking about the Hero's Journey, whether you reference it directly or not.

For example:

How is the hero a "fish out of water?" This is a reference to the hero's Ordinary World and the New World s/he will enter.

Where is the romantic interest? The romantic challenge is initially just that (a challenge) which is then overcome, normally (but not always) as a Reward for Seizing the Sword and being Reborn after Death.

What's the B-story? A reference to the Ideal, Seizing the Sword and Rebirth.

If you can tell it according to the Hero's Journey Template, then it's probably a better developed story. That's because a) you are probably closer to meeting the audience's expectations than you may believe and b) many of the important elements are inherent in the template.

Learn more...

The Complete 188 stage Hero's 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

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

Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. His specialities include Knowledge Management and Creativity and Innovation Management. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached at http://managing-creativity.com/

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Pitch a Screenplay: Know Your Hero's Journey

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This article was published on 2011/01/02