Today we got handed our first assignment which is to make a presentation on a given chapter form Christopher Vogler’s book ‘The Writer’s Journey’. My group is comprised of Dermott, Lauren, Siobhan and myself. We were given chapter 1 ‘A Practical Guide’.

Chapter 1 is basically a summary of what’s to come in the book. So tonight I summarised what chapter 1 covered:

A Practical Guide:

  • Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’
  • Look at George Lucas, George Millar, Steven Spielberg, John Boorman, Francis Coppola, etc.
  • Heroes, old and new
  • They are all the same story, retold endlessly
  • The Hero’s Journey: The ”Monomyth”
  • Carl G. Jung, Archetypes
  •  Different characters represent different aspects of our personality
  • Stories may be unrealistic but are psychologically valid and emotionally realistic
  • Research myths
  • You can retell the hero myth in your own way which is why the ‘hero has a thousand faces’.

The Hero’s Journey:

  • The stages of the Hero’s Journey
  • The Hero’s Journey Model

1) The Ordinary World:

  • To show a fish out of water you first have to show him in his ordinary world to create a vivid contrast (Witness, Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, An Officer and a Gentleman)

2) The Call to Adventure

  • The hero can no longer stay within the ordinary world
  • Establishes the stakes of the game, and makes clear the hero’s goal

3) Refusal of the call

  • Fear
  • Some other influence is required to get them past this turning point of fear

4) Mentor

  • The relationship between hero and mentor is one of the most common themes in mythology, and one of the richest in its symbolic value. It stands for the bond between parent and child, teacher and student, doctor and patient, God and man, etc.
  • Mentors are to prepare the hero to face the call
  • However, the mentor can only go so far

5) Crossing the First Threshold

  • the hero finally commits and enters the special world agreeing to face the problem from the Call to Adventure
  • Movies are often built in three acts; Hero’s decision to ask, action itself and the consequences

6) Tests, Allies and Enemies

  • Once across the first threshold, the hero naturally encounters new challenges and learns the rules of the special world.
  • Bars/Saloons are often used
  • Scenes like these allow for character development as we watch the hero and his companions react under stress

7) Approach to the Inmost Cave

  • The hero comes to the last edge of a dangerous place, where the object of the quest is hidden
  • When the hero enters the fearful place he will cross the second major threshold.Heroes often pause at the gate to prepare, plan and outwit the villain’s guards. This is the phase of Approach
  • Arthurian

8) The Ordeal

  • Here the fortunes of the hero hit bottom in a direct confrontation with his greatest fear
  • The Ordeal is a ‘black moment’ for the audience, as we are held in suspense and tension
  • We identify with the hero during the ordeal

9) Reward

  • The hero now takes possession of the treasure she has been seeking
  • Shape shifters

10) The Road Back

  • the hero now has to deal with the consequences of confronting the ordeal. Some of the best chase scenes happen here
  • This stage marks the decision to return to the Ordinary World

11) Resurrection

  • Darkness gets in one final shot before being defeated
  • The hero is transformed by these moments of death and rebirth, and  is able to return to the ordinary world reborn as a new being with new insights

12) Return with the Elixir

  • The hero returns to the ordinary world, but the journey is meaningless unless she brings something back

The patterns of myth can be used to tell the simplest comic or the most sophisticated drama. The Hero’s journey is infinitely flexible, capable of endless variation, without sacrificing any of it’s magic, and it will outlive us all

I also made note of a few library books I should check out:

  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell
  • The Greek Myths Vol 1
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