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Filmmaking for Newbies: Issue 003 (The Hero's Journey)

Every film has one. George Lucas set it as a compass for his Star Wars saga. George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien have used it as a guide as well. This is the pattern that every storyteller has learnt to adopt in order to tell a balanced story, which is centered around cause, effect and everything in between.

Joseph Campbell's book, titled The Hero With a Thousand Faces, has since set a causal fire to how stories are told, and the effects are rippling till today. Even the Mad Titan's (Thanos) arc is built around this concept, among actual heroes like Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder's Batman and Superman respectively.

A Hero's Journey is something that any human being has experienced, whether they conciousnessly acknowledged it or not. This journey can be related to redemption and rebirth. It's a call for adventure, action. This is where the protagonist gets that tingly feeling in their tummy about something that mighttt be their calling, but of course they're not sure. Hesitancy is the first step to this theory, in fact. The hero will from here be constantly prompted to take the leap by unexplainable signs and events, until they eventually do.

To put it simply, the Hero's Journey is a path the hero must take to be able to fulfill their purpose/calling and also discover their one true self as a result. Of course this journey will be filled with obstacles, enemies and the unknown to test the hero's ability to handle the life that awaits them when they do cross the threshold of the self they know now, and they self they will become once they uncover the mysteries of what's beyond their comfort zones.

Every other film follows this formula, which often unfolds episodically in a 3-act presentation; where in the first act we get to see the hero in their natural state before being prompted to take a leap into the dark of what awaits them. The second act consists of the struggles and burdens the hero is confronted by once they'd decided to embark on the adventure. And finally, the third act often ties in the discoveries, good or bad, that the hero had encountered before releasing the hero back into the life they had anew.

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