From our deconstruction of hundreds of Hollywood blockbusters at http://www.clickok.co.uk/
The Hero’s Journey is the template upon which the vast majority of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters are based upon. In fact, ALL of the Hollywood movies we have deconstructed are based on this template.
Understanding this template is a priority for story or screenwriters.
The Hero’s Journey:
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) Interpreted metaphorically, laterally and symbolically, allows an infinite number of varied stories to be created.
In the Heat of the Night (Academy Award Winner Best Film, 1967) – Hero’s Journey [basic deconstruction]
FADE IN: on a journey; the train arriving.
New World: Sparta, Mississipi.
Foreshadow of the Hero: Virgil steps off the train.
Creatures of this World/ Meeting the Herald and Antagonist: Sam Wood and the waiter.
This World: Sam driving around.
Creatures of this World / Loop: Sam looks at the naked lady.
This World: Sam driving around.
Inciting Incident: Sam finds a dead body.
Meeting the Mentor / Antagonism: Police Chief Bill Gillespie and the photographers etc.
Dead Man’s Backstory: came here to make this a better town and look where it got him.
Developing Antagonism: ignorant; no idea when he died.
Meeting the Hero: Sam finds Virgil Tibbs in the railway station.
Forced to the meeting with the Mentor: driven to the police station.
Meeting the Mentor: Virgil meets Bill.
Sacred Meeting: you can go now Sam.
Fish out of Water: what’s a Northern boy like you doing here?
Hero’s Status: why don’t you tell me how you killed Colbert? Refusal: I was visiting my mother; I’m a police officer.
Antagonism: did you question this man before you brought him in.
Polarization: we do not want to ruffle a man that makes $162 a month.
Foreshadow of the Journey: may I see the photographs.
Call to Adventure: Virgil told to help the locals out by his boss.
Refusal: you can’t be serious.
Hero’s Back story: he’s your number one homicide guy.
Resistance: we can handle it fine ourselves.
Pushed Forward: will you look at the body.
Resisting: why don’t you look at it yourself.
Pushed Forward: because I’m not an expert, officer.
Outer Cave: Virgil looks at the body; he needs a few things.
Conscious Decision: right, chief? Yes. Which one of you gentlemen will want to assist me?
Push to the Middle Cave: Gillespie call out to pursue a criminal.
Mentor’s Capabilities: Gillespie catches the criminal.
Meeting the Transformation Mentor / Middle Cave / Allies and Enemies: Virgil meets Mrs Colbert.
Resisting the Journey: we don’t need you now, Virgil.
Allies and Enemies: Virgil examines Harvey’s hands.
Allies and Enemies: Did he confess; well I believe he will; he’s left handed isn’t he; if he’s left handed, then he’s innocent.
Resisting the Transformation: Gillespie confronts Virgil; they call me Mr. Tibbs.
Push to the Transformation: what kind of people are you; somebody killed him and I want you to find out who.
Inner Cave: lock him up for withholding evidence; in the cells, with Harvey.
Resisting the Journey: Virgil sent back to the station.
Transformation: I’m asking you to sign the waiver for false arrest, please; Harvey didn’t commit the murder; the body was moved etc; Gillespie changes the charge to theft.
Pushed to the Trials and Transformation: Mayor’s on the line chief; Mrs Colbert doesn’t want Virgil taken off the case.
Foreshadow of the Inner Challenge: even if we have to step on Endicott’s toes.
Resisting the Trials and Transformation: Gillespie asks Virgil to stay.
Refusal: Virgil declines.
Persuaded; you got such a big head…I don’t think you can let an opportunity like that pass by.
Magical Gift: Virgil gets a car and a roof.
Warning: the white men think he’s gonna get killed….I think this nigger won’t live past Saturday.
Trial 1: visiting Mrs Colbert at home; do your husband have any enemies? Endicott.
Finding blood and a twig in the car.
World of the Red Herring: driving to Endicott’s place.
Meeting the Red Herring: Endicott is a racist.
Inner Challenge: I’ll bring him down.; you’re just like the rest of us ain’t you.
Time Pressure: you got until Mrs Colbert gets back.
Transformation: the last chief would have shot Tibbs and claimed self-defence.
Virgil being chased by the southern boys.
The four boys attack Virgil; saved by Gillespie.
Virgil asks Sam to take the same route as the night he found the dead body.
Warning: Gillespie wants Virgil out of town for his own sake.
Push: I want to know where Sam Wood was at all times during the night of the murder.
Transformation: Gillespie takes the back seat if he police car.
Sam Wood changes his route; Virgil walks away.
Gillespie visits the bank.
Gillespie accuses Sam; a $600 deposit in his bank account.
She is going to have Sam Wood’s baby; explaining about the cemetery.
Transformation: you’re wrong.
Meeting the Oracle: Harvey tells Virgil where a girl goes if she’s knocked up.
Foreshadow of the Atonement: The boys get ready to kill Virgil.
Inner Challenge Conquered: I was hung up trying to get at Endicott for personal reasons; Sam couldn’t have driver two cars; Gillespie give shim until morning.
Foreshadow of the Atonement : the boys looking for Virgil in the car.
Seizing the Sword: Gillespie invites Virgil to his place; you’re one of the chosen few, nobody comes here, never.
Reward: Packer arrives; where you going? Where Whitey ain’t allowed.
Foreshadow of the Atonement: the white boys search for Virgil.
Atonement with the Father: Virgil meets Mrs Bellamy; the waiter appears from behind the tree.
Apotheosis: looking in the purse.
Ultimate Boon: the confession.
Greater Antagonism Conquered: Gillespie sees Virgil off at the train station; Virgil, you take care, you hear.
FADE OUT: transformed; on the train.
The Complete 188 stage Hero’s Journey and other story structure templates can be found at http://www.clickok.co.uk/
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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