Should you use "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" to write your first screenplay ?
In 1949, Joseph Campbell published a study of myths called The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Since the 80’s, this book is very famous because it was used by George Lucas to write the Star Wars saga. Today, a lot of young screenwriters are using it to try to learn and understand how the structures of a story work. However, it’s not an easy book to study and to use, even more for a first screenplay.
You should never forget about the content of your story
Joseph Campbell’s book is a great book that has had a big impact on Hollywood, but has also received some criticism. The shortest answer to the question of whether or not to use it to write your screenplays is obviously: yes, but that will not be enough to write a good screenplay. You will… or you won't...
Understanding the structures that rule the organization of almost every story in the world is obviously an important first step in becoming a great screenwriter, but it is only the first one. A story always depends on its structure, but it is its content that will make the difference and make it a great story.
What makes the content of a story good ?
It’s good to remember the major role of a story content, especially when the last Star Wars is coming out to close the Skywalkers saga. Without the incredible characters from Lucas' early movies, Star Wars would have been just another story. At Triality, we are looking for authors who know how to handle structures skillfully, but above all we like good characters.
However, if there is something frustrating for screenwriters, it is to find that there is no absolute truth about how to write a story with good quality content. So, how to achieve such a thing? It is by writing that you become a writer and you must dare to start and not be afraid to go to the next screenwriter even if your first did not end up to be the movie you dreamed of.
How to learn to write a good screenplay ?
It is therefore extremely important for a screenwriter to learn to find the right balance between the stable and established structures that he should use and the fact that you have to be constantly experimenting with new things to create interesting stories.
Nevertheless, reading the greatest classics of screenwriting can't hurt. One of the most recognized work in this area is probably the work of Chris Vogler, one of Triality’s specialists. He was particularly inspired by the work of Joseph Campbell and adapted it to the needs of screenwriters.