Wednesday, April 04, 2007

188 Stage Hero's Journey (Monomyth) - American Werewolf (1981) Basic Deconstruction


The 188 stage Hero's Journey (Monomyth) is the template upon which the vast majority of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters are based upon. In fact, ALL of the hundreds of Hollywood movies we have deconstructed (see URL below) are based on this 188+ stage template.

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)].



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) Tells you what to write. For example, at a certain stage of the story, the focus should be on the Call to Adventure and the micro elements within.


(simply go to or for full details)


FADE IN: Yorkshire Moors.

Border of the First Threshold: getting out of the truck.

Warning of the First Threshold: keep off the Moors; stick to the roads.

Meeting the Hero and the Shape Shifter: David and Jack.

Backstory: Travelling; Northern England first, England later.

Developing Characters and Relationships: an interest Debbie Klein's body….walking along the road….say knock knock…

Entering the First Threshold: walking into town.

Threshold Guardian: the Slaughtered Lamb.

New Creatures of the Cave: the people in the pub.

Authority Figure / Unwelcome in the Cave: any coffee…No; any tea…No.

Trial: the five point star on the wall.

Foreshadow of the Journey: "London…Leicester Square…."

Pulled into the Middle Cave: debating the five point star and candles.

Developing Characters and Relationships: the characters in the pub.

Middle Cave: What's the star on the wall for?

Pushed to the Inner Cave: Go!

Rules: Stay on the road.

Pushed to the Inner Cave: Go!

Rules: Stay on the road.

Developing Characters and Relationships: it's in God's hands now.

Contravening the Rules: wandering off the road.

Inner Cave: the wolf cry; can you hear it?

Pulled Back: we must go to them.

Foreboding: what was that sound?

Pulling Back: deciding to go back to the Slaughtered Lamb.

Warning of the Trial: it's a sheep dog.

Trial: attacked by the werewolf – saved by the villagers.

World of the Physical Separation: London, in the hospital.

Meeting the Romantic Challenge: Nurse Alex Price.

Meeting the Mentor: Doctor Hirsch.

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