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: SUPERNATURAL AID'S CORE COMPETENCY
Superatural Aids come in many shapes and sizes. The most common form is the wretched old man or hag, but this is not necessarily a given.
The only requirement of a Supernatural Aid is that he (or she) be able to traverse both the Old and New Worlds. It is this quality that enables the Supernatural Aid to provide Magical Gifts.
In Raging Bull (1980), Vickie is able to straddle both Jake's world and the world of the mafia.
In Gorillas in the Mist (1988), Sembagare speaks both languages.
In Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Margaret understands both Ted and Joanna.
Go to http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html for more info on the 188+ stage Hero's Journey....