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: FINAL CONFLICT
The Final Conflict is so important that it is astounding that it is rarely given mention, let alone explanation. Between the Crossing of the Return Threshold and the Mastery of the Two Worlds and Selves, a hell of a lot happens, including:
a) Dangerous Place: the battle takes place somewhere fearful from the Hero's perspective. In Annie Hall (1977), Alvie has to go to Los Angeles to convince Annie to come back.
b) Polarization: a sequence that establishes the Antagonism's potency. In Little Miss Sunshine (2006), all the girls at the pageant are far more likely to win than Olive.
c) Hand-to-hand battle. The Hero and Antagonist always battle face each other - In Alien (1979), Ripley and the Alien do battle in her little escape pod.
Go to http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html for more info on the 188+ stage Hero's Journey....