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Not all wisdom resides in any one school
on January 2, 2012
If you are interested in becoming a writer, it helps to read several of these books. Having already read Story, and gone to a seminar by Robert McKee, I am interested in reading others because not all wisdom resides in any one school.
Chris Vogler offers fresh and invigorating perspectives, illustrated with fascinating examples from many excellent movies from such as Wizard of Oz. He worked on the screenplay of The Lion King, and I found its derivation from the plot of Hamlet interesting to say the least.
If you're like me the you may appreciate the Metaphor of the Hero's Journey the most. George Lucas in Star Wars follows the mythical blueprint laid down by Jseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
Vogler offers a succinct inspiring explanation and I could imagine myself in the hero's shoes doing what the hero has to do, what we all have to do. Having read this, the familiar patterns of many great movies suddenly became clearer. Additionally the explantion of the common mythical archetypes merits continued reading. For example the trickster appears in both Star Wars, and The Matrix, and you may recognise Darth Vader as pure shadow.
Many movies start in the Ordinary World, and then there is the call to adventure. Often the hero is reluctant to make a change, so then we have the next stage which is refusal of the call. Eventually we move into the Special world, and in SW and The Matrix our hero joins the rebels and starts to develop special abilities. Another good example of this is Wanted with Angelina Jolie.
He uses over 100 well known movies as examples to illustrate his points, including Titanic. I truly appreciate these insights. Perhaps the most interesting insight for me personally is the idea of polarity or conflict. While every story will have an antagonist and a protagonist, the antagonist does not have to be a villain, but could just be a contrasting or competitive style of achieving the same end.
We may be the antagonist in our own life story, and it may seem paradoxical that even the antagonist sees himself as a hero. Relating this to my own life I see the antagonist as being active, in contrast to the hero who is often passive, at least early in the story.
So, this book I am happy to own, and recommend. Some people may say this book is derivative of The Hero With a Thousand Faces (Paladin Books). Well, it's a much easier read than HWTF, and offers a very neat synopsis of the information provided in that book. If you're wondering which one to read first, I recommend this one because it is easier to understand, and then you will find it easier to understand the other one, because you have read this one.
I also recommend Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting. Conflict is to story, as sound is to music.
I hope you found this helpful, and I think you will enjoy the book.