Introduction

The 2100+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State pattern is the template upon which the vast majority of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters are based upon. Our detailed deconstruction of hundreds of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters has revealed more than 2100 stages of the Hero's Journey that you need to know about... .

The framework is based on core, indisputable fundamentals, including:

Without exception, every successful story involves physical journey. Visual stories, expecially Hollywood and novels targeting that market, accentuate the journey element. There is distinct physical movement between locations/situations with specific functions implemented at those locations/situations.

Without exception, every successful story involves transformation. There is always a start-state and an end-state and lots of in-between change-states which incrementally lead to the target. We can call this psychological journey.

Without exception, every successful story takes characters through a New World or New State, which involves particular process and has certain functions. New Worlds are physical manifestations of emerging or established new psychological states. Sometimes a New World is literal (a new planet or a new city), but most commonly it is a change of situation, location (or a change of location within a location) with specific functional purpose. Commonly, New Worlds and States are cloaked / disguised to be seamless.

 

In SPOTLIGHT (Academy Award Nominee Best Film, 2015), old and new mentors express old and new ways of doing things.

In THE REVENANT (Academy Award Nominee Best Film, 2015), Fitzgerald running from the fort forces The Return.

In STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015), Maz Kanata is a Supernatural Aid performing a similar role to Yoda (ask, and we’ll tell you how).

In ROOM (Academy Award Nominee Best Film, 2015), both Ma and Jack transform.

 

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In SPECTRE (2015), Bond’s Call is to follow the trail that the ring leads to, but M warning him not to leave London is Refusal of the Call.

In SICARIO (2015), Matt encourages Kate into an Opposite World.

 

Additionally, a large number of meaningful messages/signals are strategically placed throughout the most successful stories, all of which are explained in the 2100+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State.

 

In THE MARTIAN (Academy Award Nominee Best Film, 2015), the crew make the democratic decision to return to the planet, which is Overcoming Refusal of the Return.

In MAD MAX FURY ROAD (Academy Award Nominee Best Film, 2015), Max persuades Furiosa and the Many Mothers to Return.

 

"...so to roll out successful stories and screenplays, superimpose your situation over this 2100+ stage structure."

"...what you're doing is using the structure to pull the hero through his (or her) journey..."

"...it is the pulling through the journey that induces the hero's transformation......a story is transformation..."

"...by pulling your hero through this journey, you cause him (or her) to detach from the Ordinary World and Ordinary Self and attach to the New World and New Self. And then to detach from the New World and New Self and become the Mature Self..."

"...this structure is the process of transformation. There is a psychological journey that is mirrored by a physical journey. That is why you often see darkness, rain, thunder and lightning during the stage of the Near Death Experience, for example. By pulling the hero through a physical experience, you are stimulating a psychological transformation. In the beginning the hero will be dressed one way, after being pushed through some stages of the journey, the psychological change will reflect in clothing, behaviour, attitudes and beliefs."

"...it is the undergoing of the journey that provides the hero with the capacity to conquer those challenges that were previously unconquerable..."

 

In THE BIG SHORT (Academy Award Nominee Best Film, 2015), Mark Baum arcs down to lose all hope.

In JURASSIC WORLD (2015), part of the Belly of the Whale is the result of the wrong choices causing Indominus Rex to escape.

 

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Monostory (EVERY story)

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In ANT-MAN (2015), our apprentice (Scott) goes through a Road of Trials when he is taught to miniaturize and become Ant-Man by his mentor archetype (Pym).

In TRAINWRECK (2015), Amy enters the First Threshold when she arrives in a world of winners and those who aren’t afraid to fail.

 

2100+ Hero's Journey Stages Not Unreasonable

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Basic Story, Screenplay Architecture

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Rigid Structure, Precise Story Arc

One of the least understood aspects of successful storytelling is the very high degree of rigid structure involved, especially in Hollywood screenwriting and bestselling fiction novels (the Harry Potter books are a perfect example). It roots to transformation, which is intricately stage-gated using physical journey and physical new worlds.

The most successful movies and bestselling novels definitely, without doubt, indisputably follow the same, precise story arc (there is really only one way to do it) - they all take their archetypes on a journey through a New World or State in a rigid, process driven manner, where transformation and capacities result in resolution of the initial imperfection (and the result is not unoriginal, as all Academy Award Winning Best Films demonstrate). If this is your field, then you must familiarise yourself with this process. More about this here.

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Situation Over Structure (Monostory, Monomyth)

There is really only one story. Every story you have ever seen or read is essentially an alternate situation superimposed, with individual style, over the same structure. Also see Monostory EVERY story.

The King's Speech (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2010)
The Hurt Locker (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2009)
Slumdog Millionaire (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2008)
No Country For Old Men (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2007)
The Departed (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2006)
Crash (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2005)
Million Dollar Baby (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2004)
The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2003)
Chicago (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2002)
A Beautiful Mind (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2001)
Gladiator (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2100)
see Academy Award Winner List

...and every other successful story you have ever seen or read are all one and the same - various situations superimposed over the same structure. Every successful story you will ever see or read will be one and the same - various situations superimposed over the same structure. The structure is what a story IS.

Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese, Coppola, Cameron all use this structure. Shakespeare used this structure. Stories in the Bible, the Vedas, the Torah and the Koran use this structure. You should use this structure. Also see The Value Of Structure and for other creativity management issues, see Creativity And Time Pressure and Improve Your Creativity.

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The following images show how detailed the mapping of situation over structure [of successful and effective stories] can be. Further, the technique does not diminish character and story quality:

Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh) and Mowgli (The Jungle Book)

Mowgli (The Jungle Book) and Arthur (The Sword in the Stone)

Elephants in The Jungle Book and Robin Hood

Maid Marion (Robin Hood) and the Duchess (Aristocrats)

Snow White and Maid Marion (Robin Hood)

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Priority

Understanding this template is a priority for screen and story writers.

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Critical Competency

Understanding this template is a critical competency for screen and story writers.

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Success Prerequisite

You cannot write a successful screenplay without understanding this template.

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Screenplays versus Novels

Every successful fiction novel follows the 2100+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State - they HAVE to follow story law. Successful bestseller examples include:

A Tale of Two Cities
The Lord of the Rings
The Hobbit
And Then There Were None
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
The Da Vinci Code
The Catcher in the Rye
The Alchemist
Lolita
Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning
Anne of Green Gables
Black Beauty
The Name of the Rose
Charlotte's Web
The Ginger Man
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Angels and Demons
War and Peace
The Adventures of Pinocchio
Kane and Abel
The Diary of Anne Frank
To Kill a Mockingbird
Valley of the Dolls
Gone with the Wind
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Thorn Birds
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Sophie's WorldThe Kite Runner
The Bookseller of Kabul -- by Asne Seierstad

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Master Extrapolation Process

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Story, Screenplay Law

From the above, you should begin to see the emergence of rules and process you MUST follow if you want to write a successful story / screenplay. In others words, they are what a story IS. You MUST apply them no matter what niche of literature your story targets (if you want to be successful).
Also see Monostory EVERY story. We expand on Story Law here.

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Basic Deconstructions

Below are a few hundred basic, first-draft, highly simplified story deconstructions.

IMPORTANT: These are very rough and general deconstructions meant to simply illustrate that the story follows the pattern described in the 2100+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State. For other basic deconstructions, you may also want to search our youtube channel .

DO NOT attempt to write a story by following these deconstructions they contain inaccuracies, critical stages have been omitted and they do not benefit from the latest insights; if you need an accurate deconstruction of this story, place an order at /CustomServices.html#deconstructions

These basic, first-draft, highly simplified story deconstructions illustrate that:

All these stories have the same structural core: there in only one story and that is the pattern of the 2100+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State

The Hero's Journey / Transformation / New World fit.

The rigid structure that all stories conform to.

The diversity and novelty that can be derived from a core template.

All Academy Award Best Films

12 Angry Men (1957)
40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
48 Hours (1982)
127 Hours (2010)
A Man For All Seasons (1966)
A Team (2010)
Adjustment Bureau (2011)
Alien 3 (1992)
Alien (1979)
Aliens (1986)
All About Eve (1950)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
All The King's Men (1949)
Amadeus (1984)
Amazing Spiderman (2012)
American (2010)
American Beauty (1999)
American In Paris (1951)
American Pie (1999)
American Reunion (2012)
Analyze This (1999)
Animal Kingdom (2010)
Anna Karenina (2012)
Annie Hall (1977)
Another Year (2010)
Apartment (1960)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Argo (2012)
Around The World In 80 Days (1956)
Artist (2011)
Avatar (2009)
Avengers Assemble (2012)
Back To The Future (1985)
Bad Teacher (2011)
Battle Los Angeles (2011)
Beautiful Mind (2001)
Ben Hur (1959)
Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Big Lebowski (1998)
Biutiful (2010)
Black Swan (2010)
Blue Valentine (2010)
Bourne Legacy (2012)
Brave (2012)
Braveheart (1995)
Breathless (1960)
Bridesmaids (2011)
Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)
Broadway Melody (1929)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Captain America First Avenger (2011)
Cars 2 (2011)
Casablanca (1942)
Casino (1995)
Cavalcade (1933)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Chicago (2002)
Chronicle (2012)
Cimarron (1931)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Cocoon (1985)
Crash (2004)
Crazy Stupid Love (2011)
Croods (2013)
Dances With Wolves (1990)
Dark Knight (2008)
Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Death of a Salesman (1985)
Deer Hunter (1978)
Departed (2006)
Descendants (2011)
Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Dirty Dozen (1967)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Django Unchained (2012)
Dororo (2007)
Dr Seuss The Lorax (2012)
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
English Patient (1996)
Erin Brockovich (2100)
ET the Extra Terrestrial (1982)
Expendables 2 (2012)
Fame (1980)
Fast & Furious 5 (2011)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Fight Club (1999)
Fighter (2010)
Finding Nemo (2003)
Forrest Gump (1994)
French Connection (1971)
From Here To Eternity (1953)
Gandhi (1982)
Gangster Squad (2013)
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Get Him To The Greek (2010)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Gigi (1958)
Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009)
Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)
Gladiator (2100)
Godfather (1972)
Godfather Part II (1974)
Going My Way (1944)
Gone With The Wind (1939)
Grand Hotel (1932)
Great Escape (1963)
Great Gatsby (1974)
Great Ziegfeld (1936)
Greatest Show On Earth (1952)
Green Hornet (2011)
Green Lantern (2011)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Halloween (1978)
Hamlet (1948)
Hangover (2009)
Hangover Part II (2011)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010)
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2
Help (2011)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Hobbit (2012)
Horrible Bosses (2011)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Hunger Games (2012)
Hurt Locker (2008)
Hustler (1961)
Ides of March (2011)
Immortals (2011)
In The Heat Of The Night (1967)
Inception (2010)
Incredibles (2004)
Ipcress File (1965)
Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Jason And The Argonauts (1963)
Jungle Book (1967)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Karate Kid 91984)
Kick Ass (2010)
King's Speech (2010)
Kramer vs Kramer (1979)
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
Larry Crowne (2011)
Last Emperor (1987)
Last King of Scotland (2006)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Legally Blonde (2001)
Liar Liar (1997)
Life of Emile Zola (1937)
Limitless (2011)
Lincoln (2013)
Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Lord of the Flies (1990)
Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Lord of the Rings Return of the King (2003)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Lost Weekend (1945)
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Major Dundee (1965)
Man of Steel (2013)
Marnie (1964)
Marty (1955)
Me Myself And Irene (2100)
Meek's Cutoff (2010)
Men In Black III (2012)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Midnight In Paris (2011)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011)
Moneyball (2011)
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Mrs Miniver (1942)
Mutiny On The Bounty (1935)
My Afternoons With Marguerite (2010)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Nacho Libre (2006)
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)
No Country For Old Men (2007)
Oblivion (2013)
Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
Oliver (1968)
On The Waterfront (1954)
One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975)
Ordinary People (1980)
Out of Africa (1985)
Pale Rider (1985)
Patton (1970)
Pineapple Express (2008)
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides (2011)
Place Beyond The Pines (2012)
Platoon (1986)
Potiche (2010)
Predator (1987)
Predators (2010)
Priest (2011)
Prince Caspian (2008)
Prometheus (2012)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Puss In Boots (2011)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Rain Man (1988)
Rango (2011)
Real Steel (2011)
Rear Window (1954)
Rebecca (1940)
Red (2010)
Rio (2011)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Rock of Ages (2012)
Rocky (1976)
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Scarface (1983)
Schindler's List (2003)
School of Rock (2003)
Scrooged (1988)
Shakespeare In Love (1998)
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Sherlock Holmes (2011)
Sideways (2004)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Skyfall (2012)
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Social Network (2010)
Sound of Music (1965)
Source Code (2011)
Spartacus (1960)
Spiderman (2002)
Splice (2009)
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek Wrath of Khan (1982)
Sting (1973)
Super 8 (2011)
Swingers (1996)
Taken 2 (2012)
Team America World Police (2004)
Ted (2012)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Them! (1954)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Thor (2011)
Titanic (1997)
Tom Jones (1963)
Top Gun (1986)
Tower Heist (2011)
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Tree Of Life (2011)
Tron Legacy (2010)
True Grit (2010)
Twilight Breaking Dawn 2 (2012)
Twilight Breaking Dawn I (2011)
Twilight I (2008)
Ugly Truth (2009)
Unforgiven (1992)
Unknown (2011)
Unstoppable (2010)
Untouchable Intouchables (2011)
Untouchables (1987)
Up In The Air (2009)
Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
Wag The Dog (1997)
Wall Street (2012)
War Horse (2011)
Water For Elephants (2011)
West Side Story (1961)
What Happens In Vegas (2008)
Wings (1927)
Withnail and I (1987)
Wizard of Oz (1939)
Wolfman (2010)
World War Z (2013)
Wrestler (2008)
X Men First Class (2011)
You Can't Take It With You (1938)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)
Zach and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

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Use The Process To Pull Your Hero/ine Through

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The Hero/ine Is A Focal Point

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Series, Episodes

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First Caveman Storyteller Scenario

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Subplots / Ensemble Cast

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Limited Locations (Sitcoms, TV Shows etc)

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Tragedy, Final States Of Imperfection

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Situational Questions (Genre, Comedy etc)

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Multiple Final Catharses

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Correcting Misconceptions

The following addresses some of the common, flawed criticisms thrown at the Hero's Journey and story structures and creative writing etc... in general. Also see the FAQs.

Criticism 1: It's formula.
The Hero's Journey is not a formula, it is a structure that guides the process of transformation, attachment or detachment, liberation etc. It is a pattern that reveals the process of unfolding a story, something that 99.9% writers do not know how to do. It shows you how to turn an idea into a story. It shows you how to appeal to an audience, which have subconscious expectations. It is the road map that the novice writer is unconsciously trying to find. This criticism is a catch-all for any creative structure. It betrays a lack of understanding of story, creativity itself and the value of structure.

Criticism 2: It discourages originality.
The word "originality" is itself inappropriate. It implies a complete break with the past, which is never the case (it only seems so). Most of which seems original is a cumulative and incremental evolution of that which has been before. And it often only seems original to those with an untrained eye.

The Hero's Journey does not discourage originality. All the greatest stories (past and present) use it as a core pattern and those stories can hardly be described as unoriginal. Not only do Spielberg, Coppola, Lucas, and Scorsese follow this pattern, but Shakespeare did too. Their stories can hardly be described as unoriginal. Every Academy Award winner / nominess has followed this pattern. Those stories can hardly be described as unoriginal.

Criticism 3: Why is one hero so special anyway?
This betrays a serious lack of understanding of the Hero's Journey.

The Hero is a focal point, representative of The Process and The Changing and many individuals or groups go through the process. For example, in The Incredibles (2004), the whole family goes through the process. In Little Miss Sunshine (2006), the whole family goes through the process. A pair is also common: Thelma and Louise (1991), When Harry met Sally (1989).

Criticism 4: The Hero is always a dude.
The Hero is not always a dude. See Heroine's Journey

Criticism 5: It's cheesy as hell.
It's not cheesy. All of the greatest stories (past and present) are based on it and these are not cheesy. It's only cheesy if you tell the story wrong and this is often the result of a lack of understanding of the Hero's Journey.

Criticism 6: A lot of myths are shoehorned into the Hero's Journey.
So what? The myths are all examples to illustrate certain points, metaphors, symbolisms etc. Even with all these examples most people don't really understand the Hero's Journey. In the 2100+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State, we use hundreds of examples from modern film and we are constantly being asked for more.

Criticism 7: It confuses personal growth with solving problems.
This criticism is itself a confusion. Smaller problems may not require personal growth. Some larger problems do require it. Personal growth is a transformation and the Hero's Journey is the process of transformation, hence you can link the Hero's Journey to personal growth.

Criticism 8: The Hero's Journey is a Hollywood construct.
It is not a Hollywood construct and applies to all the greatest stories past and present. If you analyse successful stories before the age of cinema, as we have done, you will find that they all follow the Hero's Journey pattern intricately. Shakespeare used this pattern. The stories in the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Vedas and the other great religious texts use this template. It's not about a construct, it roots to physical and psychological laws.

In conclusion, none of the criticisms we have ever come across are valid and demonstrate a frightening lack of understanding. Almost without exception, criticisms are made by individuals with a very poor understanding of screenwriting, storytelling, transformation, the Hero's Journey, creativity and creative writing.

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by Kal Bashir