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: APPRECIATING THE UNIVERSAL TERMINOLOGY
Many writers do not appreciate the universal nature of the terminology that is part of the Hero's Journey / Transformation. They hear phrases like "Final Conflict," "Hand-to-Hand Battle," "Ultimate Antagonism" and fail to see how it can apply to their real world, gritty, modern day story or screenplay.
This is missing the point, for the terminology applies (sometimes literally, usually symbolically and metaphorically) to the vast majority (if not every) successful story or screenplay you may have come across.
In The Godfather (1972), when Sonny is gunned down, what is that if not an Unbearable Antagonism?
In Annie Hall (1977), when Alvie finally goes to meet Annie in Los Angeles, that is a Hand-to-Hand Battle and is the same one-on-one confrontation as Luke and Vader battling it out at the end of every Star Wars movie; the same mano-a-mano confrontation between Riggs and Joshua in Lethal Weapon (1987), the same confrontation as the one between John McClane and Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988) and the same as the confrontation between Harry and Sally at the end of When Harry met Sally (1989).
There are hundreds of these terms and they all exist for a purpose. The thing to do is not dismiss the terminology as irrelevant, but try and see how it is applicable.
Go to http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html for more info on the 188+ stage Hero's Journey....