Understanding this template is a priority for story or screenwriters. This is the template you must master if you are to succeed in the craft.
[The terminology is most often metaphoric and applies to all successful stories and screenplays, from The Godfather (1972) to Brokeback Mountain (2006) to Annie Hall (1977) to Lord of the Rings (2003) to Drugstore Cowboy (1989) to Thelma and Louise (1991) to Apocaplyse Now (1979)].
THERE IS ONLY ONE STORY
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) Gives you a tangible process for building and releasing dissonance (establishing and achieving catharses, of which there are usually four).
d) Gives you a universal structural template upon which you can superimpose your situational story. This is why stories such as Alien (1979), Gladiator (2000), Midnight Cowboy (1969), American Beauty (1999), The Graduate (1967) and many others (all deconstructed at the URL below) appear to be different but are all constructed, almost sequence by sequence, in the same way.
HERO'S JOURNEY TIP OF THE DAY: THE REAL ELIXIR
The Elixir is often a tangible, usually a treasure, crown (coronation) or similar. However, that tangible is only representative of the real prize, which is the ability to cross both Old and New Worlds and Selves at will.
In The Odd Couple (1968), Felix is ultimately able to come and go into Oscar's and the Pigeon sister's apartments.
In Barefoot in the Park (1967), Paul is ultimately able to be a stuffed shirt during the day and let loose at night.
In Gone with the Wind (1939), Scarlett is ultimately able to keep Tara and try and win Rhett back.
Go to http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html for more info on the 188+ stage Hero's Journey....