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Screenwriting, Screenplays, Monomyth, Hero's Journey

   By: Kal Bishop

The Monomyth is another term for the Hero's Journey. The concept derives from the idea that there is, in fact, only one story and that it is retold universally and cross culturally. There are at least 188 stages to this story.

The Hero's Journey (or Monomyth) originates with the dawn of Man in Mesopotamia. The first story told of a King who underwent a journey and encountered and overcame various obstacles until he attained his goal. Various forms include the Shahnama.

In essence, the Hero's Journey (or Monomyth) is a spiritual journey – the journey can have a physical and tangible element (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Jason and the Argonauts etc) but it really involves the Hero's movement to another state of consciousness – learning, trials and evolution (or in the case of the anti-hero, regression) result in an apotheosis, an enlightenment, an illumination, an insight.

The universal nature of the story is evident – all humans are aware of challenge, survival, good versus evil, need etc.

Before this model is dismissed it is worth noting:

a) Titanic (1997) grossed over $600,000,000 – uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

b) Star Wars (1977) grossed over $460,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

c) Shrek 2 (2004) grossed over $436,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

d) ET (1982) grossed over $434,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

e) Spiderman (2002) grossed over $432,000,000 - uses the Hero's Journey as a template.

The Complete 188 stage Hero's Journey and FREE 17 stage sample and other story structure templates can be found at

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Kal Bishop, MBA


You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.

Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. His specialities include Knowledge Management and Creativity and Innovation Management. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached at

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