You are not original. (and that’s good)
This is a story about, well, stories. If you come here to read about travel, or maybe to get some technical knowhow about drones, chances are you are doing it because you love “story”.
This week, perusing the internets, as you do, I found a surprising amount of films about story, more specifically about the structure of stories. I hardly find it odd when the collective world (internet) unconscious swells together on a subject, in many ways it is the digital version of “A hero of a thousand faces” or in this case “A meme of a thousand blog posts”. Either way, it incited me to add to that unconscious, maybe waking up the three people out there that were not fully aware that all stories, are beautifully the same.
You may hear the positivity in my voice through the post that every story is the same. That wasn’t always there. When I was just a wee lad (of 19) I decided to study film, specifically Film Theory, because I really wanted a struggle when I left school. In so, I read a lot of philosophy, critique, and one book that is basically the bible of all Theory: Hero of a Thousand Faces, by Mr. Joe Campbell. (Side note: If HOATF is Batman Begins, then The Writer’s Journey by Chris Vogler is the animated series. Equally as good, perhaps a little more digestible)
Before I ever wrote, made, or conceived of a script I was told that my idea was not original, and if it were, it surely would not work as a film.
Kinda a dick punch if you ask me.
At first I was afraid, I was petrified. Thinking I couldn’t live without originality on my side. I thought to be anything in this world you had to be original, you had to break the rules. I mean what would Tarentino, Aronofski, Dan Harmon think about that?!
They would agree with my professors apparently. Here is Dan Harmon on the Hero’s Journey:
Why this ritual of descent and return? Why does a story have to contain certain elements, in a certain order, before the audience will even recognize it as a story?
Because our society, each human mind within it and all of life itself has a rhythm, and when you play in that rhythm, it resonates.
I mean have you seen some of Dan Harmon’s work? If this guy follows the rules, then shit, I gotta recalibrate my thinking.
After I got past my teenage angst I started to watch films like a scholar instead of an audience. Once I learned about the formula that went into story, it was impossible to unsee it, much like a trained chef can’t take a bite of food without dissecting its flavor element by element, even unconsciously.
What started as resentment gave way to security over the years. Being told to follow the rules with creativity was difficult, but after seeing how it functioned in the real world, over and over, something changes inside; you begin to become comfortable trusting the rules, releasing you from “changing the game” to “playing it differently” which is ultimately easier to wrap your head around.
So, be like everyone else. There is a skill in that too. Check out these two videos, they’re very well done, and will make you look at story a whole different way.Well, the same way, but you get what I’m saying.
And if you want more, here is a whole channel of videos devoted to the subject of story. And I paid 40k for 30 hours of free youtube videos…