NEW: whenever you see the T) symbol it means it’s a simple task for you to consider doing. I believe if you carry out these simple tasks it can make you a better creative. If you are a writer, an actor, a filmmaker or just someone who wants to learn how to apply these story elements into your business life or just to you life, they are yours to use. All we ask is that you use them wisely, for good.
So this has been a particularly challenging post to write and publish. It has really made me think about my own life, why people are here, how they are affecting me what their purpose is. Why things happen, or why people do what they do is a wonderful mystery, how we react is entirely up to our inner screenwriter.
Do you remember when we were kids and we all wanted to understand why things are the way they are? For example… We all wanted to know why the is sky was blue, or where we come from. The questions may continue, the wonderful search for answers is what drives many us to learn as much as we can while we are here. The answers to this lead the thinker towards truth.
Why are WE here?
You can pose this question in a room and you might get twenty different answers. We all want to understand this, our core purpose of existence yet many of us come so many unique conclusions. Some of our beliefs lead us to a better realistic understanding of the world around us as we seem to flow with the changes of life. Other beliefs tend to lead people towards more and more stress, friction in life.
In films and in life it’s wise to understand the why of things. Answering this question for each archetype can lead the writer envisioning an entire movie play out right in their internal screening room of the mind. As an audience we like to understand why a character is living out their given circumstances, how did they get there, how are they coping with these elements in their life, what qualities seem to help them or seem to hurt them. In our life we like to know why or understand why story plots carry out its patterns. If we understand this we can then, perhaps, learn something new about ourselves, we can learn how we made our own circumstances.
Really well made, well constructed films are wonderful blueprints of the hero’s journey. And every hero’s journey begins with a questions and ends with answers. It’s the questions that drive us to the theaters. We are forever learning new things, therefore the journey may never end. Every phase is so well put together that we can all really benefit by applying the outline to our work. This is our incredible relationship to films, to the art of films.
T) Think about your favorite movie. If you have read all these blog articles then you may start getting a sense of the monomythic structure. See if you can recall the movie and let it play out in your imagination the monomythic structure. What did you learn from doing this, or from the message of the film?
If the screenwriter sets out to share a story that has a real message, demonstrates real life principles then the film has the potential to REALLY inspire us. But why? Why do we even need films to be inspired? I believe it’s what art is meant to do. Inspire. Spark us to look at our own life, see where we can overcome a defect, work out an issue.
Really good writers help us understand the human experience because they understand theirs. They have learned.
Really successful creators are typically wonderful philosophers. They have gained an insight and want to share it. They want more people to learn through their art. They have converted disaster in their personal lives into lessons and these make the best kinds of films. First hand knowledge of how to take patterns that lead to negative effects into new patterns of successful effects.
T) What have you been through in your life? What experiences have you endured, survived, overcame and have first hand knowledge of how you did it?
When crafting a movie through this lens you are setting yourself up for a real journey of the mind. This adventure of figuring out how to show your audience why your characters do what they do then showing them why can be a great feat. Characters in your movie searching for deeper meaning will challenge you to dig deep and learn new things about yourself.
Why your villain does what he does is often the most intriguing of storylines. Your audience appreciates learning why your villain became so villainous. Keep in mind that the villain usually constructs much of what the audience actually sees. As much as audiences see themselves as the hero, if written well they can also see themselves as the villain. If you really show the audience why they are hurting others then your audience can then invest in another plot line, it penetrates another layer of understanding. I don’t believe anyone of us want bad things to happen to us and its through the demise of the villain we learn the most. The villain is doing things that will hurt others but in the end they get the big veto. They deplete their natural resources.
Answering why your hero finds himself living out their circumstances can lead to jotting down specific scenes that illustrate the consequences. It’s wise to make your hero exist on several levels. One level is positive outcomes, and another is negative. We want to see and understand why your hero is hurting in the beginning of your film. This pain creates universal sympathy. If you can really find this you will be able to relate to all of us. If you can take hold of this pain, own it then you have the opportunity to inspire many with your art. The hero creates the villain in order to serve them through the bringing to light the core issues the hero is ignoring. In fact what feel like a terrifying villain the hero who learns becomes grateful for each lesson and all the roles people performed in the theater of life.
The Ally: Understanding the motivation of the ally is no different then looking at why knowledge itself is loyal to us. Life’s lessons are guiding the hero to a life full of love, life, integrity. The hero’s journey is an adventure towards what is right and the ally understands the rewards of a life of disciplined service. Here there is a quest of knowledge, a getting to the root of things. Working hard for the hero to get things right. Knowing how to solve the thinking of the hero, correcting core mental errors is the adventure of the ally. Quiet, calm loyalty is the promise of the ally archetype for it’s the promise of learning, once and for all, how to do things. Why this is, why the ally behaves this way is because the ally wants the hero to make it home, and home is where the heart is.
The mentor guides the hero towards divinity because they love the hero. Love is the adventure of the mentor. The heart, the mystery of the heart and how it brings peace, a sense of harmony is the will of the mentor. It’s the will of the parents to love their child, to show them nothing but so that no matter what happens they know they are loved. This security in living helps the overall true expression of love identity itself. The more expressed the more likely tomorrow will be kinder, warmer. In fact its true the villain helps reveal the heroes stubborn weaknesses that are in operation preventing the hero from truly expressing this love. It’s a wonderful loop all here to work to serve the hero.
The Prince/ Princess:
The princess archetype exists because they represent love to the hero. Why the hero seeks to save the prince/ princess needs to burn. This fire will inspire the storytelling and this archetype is full of inspiration. The hero NEEDS motivation, the prince/ princess arcetype IS that motivation. We need to be reminded of this need in the film, we need to see the prince/ princess in peril. This creates wonderful energy in your film and will drive the performance.
Why the ally exists is to fuse into your film incredible knowledge. Ally energy is full of useful, practical knowledge that never ceases to aid the hero. The information is free for the hero, coming with no strings attached. Allies protect the interests of the hero because they share the path of the jero, they “feel” the journey. They trust the hero, they know the hero has a pure heart and will lead to safe harbors.
The minions served the will of the villain because the minion is a villain in training. The world has hurt them and they become susceptible to empty promises of fame and fortune the villain preys upon. The minion wants to feel love but will cross their own integrity in order for a fleeting moment of recognition. Minions want a quick fix to a deep wound.
The shapeshifter archetype exists to challenge the hero’s belief system. The truth does not shift from one belief to the next, it stays on course. The truth is an immutable force that we can observe unfolding in reality. If beliefs tend to shift back and forth its cause for the hero to examine why and take all accounts in the work to shed any beliefs that lead to negative results.
The archetypes all exist to serve you.
They each want to use their unique qualities to teach you how to adapt here because it’s their job. They all work together because they want to speak to your heart, draw it towards love.
This has been a hard post to write. I don’t know if I got to it all. Really understanding why your characters do things, or they they take action can be the start if a wonderful journey into your story but hard to discover. You have to really think about it. These feelings that stem from each one can speak, and tell you how to best construct them. As an actor you must also work to discover these places, you should feel an adventure within.
The very best with your journeys in the creative. I am grateful to be connecting with many of you and love seeing how this is benefiting your path. It’s a hard discipline.