Why you need to understand structure first

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Lecture description

  • Outer Journey vs. Inner Journey
  • Putting the visible story first
  • The biggest mistake in developing the Inner Journey

Learn more from the full course

Screenwriting & Storytelling Blueprint: Hero's Two Journeys

Filmmaking is all about storytelling. Screenwriting experts Michael Hauge & Chris Vogler teach this game changing class.

06:43:48 of on-demand video • Updated July 2018

  • Master the essential elements of story for film, television and fiction
  • Unite the outer journey of PLOT with the inner journey of TRANSFORMATION
  • Achieve the single ESSENTIAL goal of all storytelling
  • Guarantee both commercial AND artistic success
  • Maximize the emotional involvement of your audiences and readers
  • Employ the key principles of the Hero's Journey
  • Identify the 5 essential turning points for any screenplay or novel
  • Create 3-dimensional characters using wound, belief, fear, identity and essence
  • Harness the power of the 7 mythical archetypes.
  • Recognize the Hero's Two Journeys in successful films and fiction
  • Define your own HERO'S JOURNEYS
English [Auto] We're now going to begin my favorite part of this whole journey or this process in fact the very reason that Chris and I wanted to do this because it's to get into this deeper level what we're referring to as the heroes inner journey it's to go underneath the level of plot and structure and story in a certain sense at least visible story to get to not only deeper levels of character but also the deeper levels of meaning the richness of the screenplay or the story or the movie that you're creating. Now I have to begin though by giving you a really strong whatever it is admonition and that is this stories exist first and foremost on the level of plot. Yes we're going to go deeper. Yes we were going to get into what is known as the character's arc and the theme of the story and the meaning of the story. But none of that can happen unless you have this invisible journey in place the deeper levels grow out of that visible level. This is what first and foremost is going to elicit the emotion. This is what's going to draw the audience in this is what's going to draw the reader in. And this is a very very difficult thing to internalize to accept. And the reason it's difficult is because this is not why we go to the movies. Most of the time and most of the time not the reason you want to write movies. See I know why you're here. You are here because you want to write movies that not only touch people but touch them deeply that say something about the human condition that reveal something about you that allow you to get to that universal level to get to the level that Chris will refer to or or Carl Young or Joseph Campbell is the collective unconscious. When you go see a good movie you don't come out of the theater saying Oh I loved that movie because I love that an ogre wanted to rescue a princess or I love watching them survive the Titanic or certainly in something that gets even deeper richer than that. You talk about the characters you talk about the originality you talk about the Depp and since that's what we talk about leaving the theater and that's what we strive for as writers and filmmakers. The difficulty is to avoid going there first meaning to think that you can skip over this level of plot and structure and just get into character richness. And it does not work. It does not work. I say that as an absolute certainly there would be exceptions to that. But by and large and certainly if you're pursuing Hollywood movies you've got to get them in the seats before you can change their lives. And before you can get him in a seat you've got to get your movie made and you've got to get him to read and buy and produce your script. And this is what's going to do that. Then once you've got this in place you can go deeper and get to that level of richness and meaning that is what you strive to do and that is going to increase the emotional experience and increase your connection to the audience or to the reader of your screenplay or novel. And that's what I'm going to talk about now not just some alternative way of looking at a movie but the parallel journey and show you how that intertwines with the structure that I already gave you. Now before I can do that I need to start by just defining what I mean by this inner journey again. See the outer journey or what I call for instance the plot or the outer motivation of your movie is this simple. It is a story about a hero who wants to accomplish a clearly defined visible goal to cross a clearly defined visible finish line. It is a journey of achievement. I would call it. It is a journey that is designed usually to establish some kind of hierarchy to be able to say I won. I did what nobody else could do. I'm the gladiator who killed the Emperor. I am the industrialist who saved the Jews in Schindler's List because for all its meaning and depth and resonance in the historical fulfillment you might say Schindler's List is a very simple movie. It's a story about Shindler a guy who wants to rescue the Jews that worked in his factory. That's it. That's the visible finish line and everything is built around whether he'll accomplish that goal. But the inner journey the one that's underneath that is what I call a journey of fulfillment. It is the character arc from you might say from protection to courage from fear to courage. It is from being unevolved to be evolved to being fully realized. I like the young in term to be fully individuated meaning fully defining yourself as an individual. As opposed to being defined by others. The heroes of movies are very often at the beginning defined by other people or by situation by their parents by their job by the beliefs they've always carried about themselves. In the end of the movie they stand up and say no this is who I am. It's not what you said I was it's not who I've always thought myself to be. I define myself. I am complete and unique as an individual and that's what that character arc is and it runs underneath that. Now the conflict in the visible journey the obstacles that seem impossible to overcome are visible obstacles OK there a moat of lava. It's a fire breathing dragon. It is Lord Farquaad who wants to stop him from taking the princess away and the end of the movie. It is the very essence of the journey it's at the beginning the obstacle is just those fairy tale creatures who are swarming around infesting his swamp in his opinion. There are visible things it's the veil and it's the bad guy it's the iceberg. It's the alien invasion. It's the magical powers of the lost ark itself that's going to keep them from from retrieving it. It's all visible obstacle but on the inner journey of the character the one that runs underneath that visible level the conflict and the obstacles come from within. The hero going explain all this in more detail in just a second. But one of the reasons I love this part of it is because it should become so clear and I want you to think always on these two levels as I'm discussing this that I'm also talking about real life. I will often use the word we do this or you do this because the characters in movies are mirroring what we all do in terms of the own obstacles we face or create for ourselves. And what keeps us from achieving our own destiny our own fulfillment our own individuation.