The Writers Journey – Christopher Vogler
The Story Solution – Eric Edson
Aristotle’s Poetics for Screenwriters – Michael Tierno
The Writer’s Journey
- Hero – To protect and to serve
- Mentor – a positive figure who aids or trains hero
- Threshold Guardian- not the main villians, may be a neutral figure.
- Shapeshifter- change appearances or mood, difficult for hero and audience to pin down.
- Herald- issue challenges and announce the coming of change
- Ally- companion, sparring partner, conscience, or comic relief.
- Shadow- represents energy of the dark side, the unexpressed or rejected.
- Trickster- energy of mischief and desire for change.
- Heroes should have personal qualities that are universal and likeable
- A flaw, personal frustration
- A past (not a present or future yet)
- Must haves: Courage, Unfair injury, Skill, Funny, Just plain nice, In Danger, Loved by friends/family, Hard working, Obsessed.
- Four types of heroes: Anti hero, Tragic hero, Trickster hero, Catalyst hero
4 Different Heroes
- Anti- Hero(Vogler’s Def.)- Not the opposite of hero, but a specific kind of hero. Like an outlaw or villian that the audience has sympathy for.
- Examples: As Good As It Gets, Rebel Without a Cause, Casablanca
- Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is a BLEEP! You’re first meeting with the character as he puts a dog down a garbage chute.
- He has OCD. First guy to care about the waitress. He’s a romance novelist.
- With hero sympathy the audience can identify with that character or feel for him or her.
- The Tragic Hero- These are flawed heroes that never overcome their inner demon. Think of The Departed or Scarface. A doomed cop or gangster
- The Trickster Hero- Always being playful and clowning around. Frat boys type of movie.
- The Catalyst Hero- Doesn’t have character growth but brings it about in others. Think of Superman, The Fugitive or Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop.
- Examples: Jiminy Cricket, Godmother in Cinderella, Merlin in King Arthur, Dr. Brown in Back to the Future
- Inventor, Conscience, Motivation, Teacher
- Key function is teaching or training the hero.
- Gift giving like a tool to use to help win over adversary. In Public Enemy, Cagney is given a gun buy a mobster.
- The gift should be earned by learning, sacrifice, or commitment.
- Dark Mentors- Public Enemy (Mobster flick)
- Fallen Mentors- Tom Hanks in League of the Their own
- Continuing Mentors- Alfred in Batman
- Multiple Mentors- Harry Potter
- Comic Mentors- Romantic Comedies
- Mentor as a Shaman- The Healer, Medicine Man
- A common shapeshifter is a femme fatale
- Sometimes a hero becomes a shapeshifter to escape an enemy or get past a Threshold Guardian. Think of Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act.
- A shadow might become one to lure a hero into danger.
By: Allen Palmer
- How do you create them?
- What does a character need?
- Character arc
- Emotional Journey
- Adventure Story
- Writing down his/her strengths and weaknesses
- Identify the type of character.
- Describe the character.
- Discuss the conflict in the story, particularly in regards to the character’s place in it.
- What do you normally wear? How do they normally appear?
- Is there any disconnection between how they look and sound? Speech pattern?
- Where would your character hang out?
- What future can you envision for this person?
- What crimes are they capable of?
- What’s their deepest secret? Do they hide things from others?
- What is there tolerance for risk?
- What is their highest aspiration?
- What is their level of self worth?
- Do they have any hidden wounds? Emotional or physical?
- What is their biggest fear?
- What do they remember most about their childhood?
- What were their teenage years like?
- What do they look for in a mate? In a friend?