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: PERIOD OF DISSONANCE
During the Period of Dissonance, many of the archetypes are conflicted about the Final Decisions they have to make. This is one of the critical phases that lead to effective catharses.
In Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Moss is caught between loyalty to Clyde and his father. Similarly, Blanche is conflicted about giving away Moss' surname.
In Gladiator (2000), the soldiers watch the battle between Commodus and Maximus and are torn between loyalty to the Emperor and fairness.
In Star Wars (1977), Han decides that engaging with the Death Star is suicidal, until he relents in the last minute.
Go to http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html for more info on the 510+ stage Hero's Journey....