12 Stages Of The Hero’s Journey – Christopher Vogler


Film Courage: Chris, can you please give us a 10 minute version of what The Hero’s Journey is?

Christopher Vogler, Hollywood development executive, screenwriter, author and educator: Yes, The Hero’s Journey, I’m going to give you the quick down and dirty version in the way I look at it. I broke it into 12 stages and it doesn’t necessarily have to be chopped up that way. You can describe it in 10 stages or as [Joseph] Campbell did, sometimes he would take 16 or 32 because he was interested in telling you every possible thing that could happen. But I cooked it down into this rough outline of 12 stages because I was trying to get something that could be useful in many cases for analyzing scripts. Basically I came up with this 12 point proposal of what the story really is down deep.

The first stage is The Ordinary World. You need to introduce the character, the main character the story is about you have to introduce the world they live in and let us know what’s been going on there up to this point this is like a stage that you create on the screen and you bring your characters out and introduce them to the audience and show the character doing something characteristic their characteristic behavior, a way of getting on in the world, but in that opening section there should be some kind of clue.

We’re going someplace else or there’s a problem here that needs to be solved or there’s a question:

-Will the hero escape from this world?

-Will the hero get what he or she wants?

-Will they learn what they need?

This is an opportunity to set those things in motion and kind of set the table for the audience of what they need to know to get involved and drawn into the story.

The second bit is the stage of Call to Adventure because you really need to announce to the audience that there’s a problem that needs to be solved or there’s a desire…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

See it on Amazon here

BUY THE BOOK – THE WRITER’S JOURNEY: Mythic Structure for Writers 


See it on Amazon here

BUY THE BOOK – MEMO FROM THE STORY DEPARTMENT: Secrets of Structure and Character 




Christopher Vogler made documentary films as an Air Force officer before studying film production at the University of Southern California, where he encountered the ideas of mythologist Joseph Campbell and observed how they influenced the story design of the first Star Wars movie. He worked as a story consultant in the development departments of 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures and Animation, and Paramount Pictures, and wrote an influential memo on Campbell’s Hero’s Journey concept that led to his involvement in Disney’s Aladdin, The Lion King and Hercules. After the publication of The Writer’s Journey, he had a hand in developing the stories of many productions, including Disney’s remake of 101 Dalmatians, Fox’s Fight Club, Courage Under Fire, Volcano, The Thin Red Line and many others. Vogler lives in Los Angeles, California. 





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