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: DRAGON BATTLE
The value of the Hero's Journey is best appreciated by understanding and applying the symbolism and metaphors. One example is "Dragon Battle."
As in the fairytales you are familiar with, before the Hero is able to rescue the Princess, he (or she) must battle her Guardian (a literal or metaphoric Dragon).
Thus (bearing in mind that the Princess can also be literal or a metaphor for a tangible):
In When Harry met Sally (1989), before Harry beds Sally, he must help her overcome her disappointment regarding her ex-lover.
In The Godfather (1972), before Michael is able to marry Apollonia, he must go through the traditional ritual.
In Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Cheyenne must kill Morton's men before he can rescue Harmonica.
In The Matrix (1999), Neo and Trinity must overcome the Agents before they can rescue Morpheus.
Go to http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html for more info on the 188+ stage Hero's Journey....