The Hero’s Journey is not just a story model a la McKee, Hauge etc. It is a transformational model that is present in all of our lives.
Whenever we go through profound change, this will invariably happen after completing a number of significant stages.
Because these stages are engrained in our collective unconscious, we also need to see them on the screen in order to be satisfied. Or else we will not believe that the character/hero is capable of major change.
Details about the Workshop
1. ORDINARY WORLD
You are a dilettant screenwriter, half-motivated, writing only when you have time. But you don’t really have the time to do it properly; you produce mediocrity because life just gets in the way. You would love to be respected and earn a living from your writing, but the world is just against you. If it will ever happen, it will happen by chance, like when Steven Spielberg notices you on Facebook and requests your script. You receive your seven figures pay check and next you find yourself at the Oscars.
You’re living a dream, the victim of your own delusions.
2. CALL TO ADVENTURE
You read about this ‘Hero’s Journey’ stuff. You have heard about it before, now there is an opportunity to do an intensive workshop. This is your chance to find out what it is all about and give your writing more depth. Finally you will connect with the world in stead of just your cat. (In fact, your cat is sick of hearing you recite the same dreadful lines from a script that will never see the light of day.)
Will this opportunity change your life?
3. REFUSAL OF THE CALL
Nope. You don’t believe it. Who is this Karel Segers anyway? He’s not even a writer, let alone a successful one. He’s a PRODUCER and the most expensive teacher in Sydney! He’s clearly ONLY doing it for the money. Imagine paying $165, then realising it is just one big con. You don’t fall in that trap, you don’t believe in formula anyway. It smells like another new-agey, life-improvement, recession-opportunist thing.
Definitely not for you.
4. MEETING WITH THE MENTOR
Someone tells you they’ve taken a Story Department course and it was the most insightful experience ever. It was fun, densely packed with information. It HAS changed their lives. They now understand a lot more of how movies work. You read the testimonials, they seem genuine and they are RAVING. Even people who seem to have made it in this industry, who ARE making money, say this is the way to go.
You consider it. Seriously.
5. CROSSING THE FIRST THRESHOLD
You find out you’re entitled to a 20% discount and you make a PayPal payment. Reluctantly. It makes you nervous. You are spending more than you ever have on only six hours of education. It’s friggin’ $20 per hour… It better be good. But you’ve paid, so you’re committed: you will MILK this bastard! You will bring a feisty dose of cynicism and take it all in. If it’s not the genius it proclaims to be, you’ll expose it to the world!
You have embarked on the Journey!
6. ALLIES, ENEMIES, TESTS
The Day. There are some people you have seen before at industry events. Some seem a bit arrogant, the typical smartass film industry type. But others seem nice people, you talk, you get along. During an interactive story exercise, you work with them and you start bonding. You exchange your views on this new material and you have the same questions. Hey, they could become friends… or co-writers? You exchange emails and phone numbers.
You love it. But you won’t show it … yet.
7. APPROACH TO THE INMOST CAVE
You’ve forgotten about your initial reluctance. You eagerly take in all the theory, examples, film clips, charts, even the psychological stuff. The day has become a lot more than you expected. It feels gratifying. But one thing scares you: you realise you have started to question your old beliefs about cinema. About artistic films, about the reason why you are writing and why audiences watch films.
Is this shit really eroding your old beliefs??
You are asked to apply the Hero’s Journey to a film you know and love. A film that you thought had no underlying structure, let alone a firm 12-stage template. You’re blown away. It’s all there, formulaic as anything. You never saw it. You curse yourself. All the wasted time. It doesn’t feel good. You will now have to face all these people back in the real world and tell them you’ve changed your views. You look like crap.
For a moment, you feel like crap.
9. SEIZING OF THE SWORD
The end is nigh. You prove through the Q&A and an interactive exercise that you GOT IT. You now have an understanding of the most powerful storytelling tool in the history of mankind. You understand how the Hero’s Journey works on our everyday lives. You feel great about it. You don’t care about what others might think now you’ve changed your opinion about movies. You know that you have the Knowledge and one day, they will too.
You have the tools to improve your stories. You can’t wait.
10. THE ROAD BACK
You almost don’t want to leave the seminar room, yet you want to rush back home and watch your favourite movie to see how the Hero’s Journey applies. You want to tear apart that script you were working on and make it 500% better by adding the missing stages and making the Hero a more flawed character, with a stronger transformation. You are so energised that you don’t realise you are speeding and you get a speeding ticket. Hell, you don’t care.
What you’ve learned is worth more than a thousand speeding tickets.
Back home, you apply the Hero’s Journey and you start seeing it everywhere. In your own screenwriting, in favourite movies, even TV shows. You recognise it in the stages of your relationships and your professional career. Everything you ever learned about screenwriting now makes so much more sense. It is embedded in one coherent vision. When you complete the next draft of your screenplay, people who have seen your stuff before are now blown away.
Now, for the first time, you are a true Story teller.
12. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR
You are so excited about this changed vision, you can’t help yourself telling others about it. You are passionate and you inspire. You tell them to check out the Hero’s Journey, read about it on the Story Department web site and take the workshop. You stay in contact with the friends you made and you embark on a co-writership with one of the people who took the journey with you. After four highly successful screenplays, you end up marrying the person and have 7 gorgeous daughters.
You move to Lake Como in the Swiss Alpes where you spend your old age telling stories to the world.
You have learned how to create myth.
Go here for more information on the Hero’s Journey in Sydney.
FEEDBACK FROM STUDENTS AT THE INTERNATIONAL FILM COLLEGE
David McKenna wrote:
“I have learnt so much more than I thought I knew. After reading several books on the subject, this course has clearly and precisely taught me what a book could not. With several projects on the go and in my head I now feel more positive about the whole structure of a story- and more importantly the ‘hero’ within that story and their ‘journey’. Without this course my many hours of writing may have been wasted, but the course has cemented my confidence as a writer. Karel’s course delivery is excellent”.
Richard Morton wrote:
“Before this course I didn’t think there were a terrible lot of useful tools, rules or formulas to creating and developing a screenplay. The ‘Hero’s Journey’ was a completely new thing to me. Over the course of two days, I believe I have attained a lot of knowledge which will definitely benefit me in the future as a screen writer, director, producer or even a cinematographer”.
David Merrin wrote:
“Intelligently delivers useful, practical and current technique and information, using examples across many genres. Difficult to stop thinking about the class afterwards, as the knowledge applies to every single film you’ve seen. Thoroughly engaging”.
Stuart Milton wrote:
“Structure – I now have the skeleton, I just need to add the meat to the bones. I now see my movie in a totally different light, and where it would now fail”.
Houston Chorley wrote:
“I have learnt that it is human nature to expect the ‘Hero’s Journey.’ Therefore, we need this understanding to be successful. I have also learnt that the ‘journey’ doesn’t just end at the first or second layer; it extends down so much further. This will help me in my career to tame the ideas I get for my stories so I have a clear idea of where I am going with my story”.
Wade Copson wrote:
“Laid out in a step by step structure. Easy to understand, easy to adapt to stories”.
Ian Hibberson wrote:
“I have been given a new lease of life with story telling. I have my ideas and not been able to express them in a clear and logical format, Karel has done that! Great course and would love to do more. I really enjoyed it. I also now know that people see the same interest in good films”.
EJ Crawford wrote:
“I have learnt a vast amount of brilliant and useful advice during this 2 day workshop. Karel’s great manner and knowledge, along with the slides and clips, create a learning experience that is both insightful and unique. The ‘Hero’s Journey’ will be essential in my writing endeavours. Not only was the lesson taught clearly and extensively, it was explained in simple handouts that were easy to read, and useful for later readings. I highly recommend this course for anyone with a passion for writing or film in general”.
Shenara Tessmer wrote:
“What an awakening! Karel has eliminated my misconceptions about storytelling and mainstream cinema. I’ve found myself re-evaluating what makes, not only a ‘quality’ film, but a ‘successful’ film that really engages and infects an audience. I will be applying this newly gained knowledge to everything I write and WATCH.”