THE HEROINE'S JOURNEY: The Fundamentals of Story
You want to know about Joseph Campbell and the Hero's journey. You want to know because people will talk to you about it and assume you understand them. And you want to know because you want to understand how to tell a story.
We at WS agree with Charlie Kaufman when he said in his BAFTA Screenwriting address that people naturally know how to tell stories. Audiences similarly know what makes a story. And when you give them something that is not what a story should be, they will know and they will not like it.
But back to how you know about story naturally. You've grown up with the rhythm of stories. A person -- our heroine -- wants a thing. She goes on a journey to get the thing. She faces difficulty, and then more difficulty but she goes after her thing even still! And then it seems she will not ever get the thing. And then, because of something she did on her difficult journey - something that marked a positive change for her character -- she is gifted the thing.
But when we go into the dark woods of writing our screenplays -- with their myriad plots, their thirsty characters who want all our attention, our very particular tone -- we can often lose sight of the STORY with a capital S. We lose the forest for the trees, if you will. It takes effort to remind ourselves of the Big Truths in our story. Heroine wants a thing. She goes after the thing with increasing stakes, against increasing odds. If these elements are not in place -- if we are not dramatizing these basic steps of the Hero's Journey, it doesn't matter how vivid our world, how funny or luscious our dialogue -- we are not telling a story. And our story will most likely not become a movie.
SO WATCH THIS, AND WRITE IT:
(many thanks for Angelina Burnett for the link.)