Who Are You? Principle

The Who Are You? Principle is one of the most important in screenwriting and storytelling. It is one of the fundamental messages you are trying to communicate and one of the fundamental underlining processes you are trying to execute. This is a 50 sequence / 30 page advanced worksheet (a pdf file).

Andrew Stanton's TED presentation:


Bourne Identity (2002):


Memento (2100):


Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002):


From one POV, the State of Imperfection begins when the hero is disconnected from who s/he is. The journey back to the State of Perfection is fundamentally the journey back to rediscovery of who s/he is:

  • One function of the journey is to force the hero to rediscover who s/he is (this is important - it is not discovery, but rediscovery).
  • Story construction centres around creating a set of circumstances which push the hero to rediscover who s/he is.
  • The hero must rediscover who s/he is before s/he can solve the greater problem, represented by the antagonist.

From one POV, Parent Separation is fundamentally the disconnection from the source of Who You Are. Parent Separation is clearly visible in all the obvious hero's journeys:

  • Clarke Kent is separated from his parents.
  • Luke Skywalker is separated from his parents.
  • Harry Potter is separated from his parents.

Rediscovering the parent / becoming like the parent / substituting the parent / surpassing the parent is fundamentally a reconnection with Who You Are.

Commonly, the hero becomes that which He Is Not (look for dialogue such as, "this is not you"). And must find the path back to Who He Is [this can apply to other archetypes too].

The physical return is a tangible parallel to the underlying psychological parallel of the rediscovery of Who You Are.

The rediscovery of Who You Are is benchmarked and stage-gated in numberous ways, including:

  • Name changes.
  • Goodbyes - the goodbye to who you were (or thought you were) and the incremental becoming of who you are.

Death is significant. What's happening is that the Old Self is dying and the New Self if being born. Who You Were is being dissolved away and Who You Are is being reawakened. The structural benchmark is telling you what the dialogue should relate to, who should be in the scene and the general nature of that scene.

The rediscovery of Who You Are fits perfectly with concepts such as "destiny." The lost self must rediscover the whole self.


  • The Who Are You? Princple is a 50 sequence / 30 page advanced worksheet (a pdf file). Superimpose your own characters and situation over this framework and outline.
  • You are advised to first buy, thoroughly read and accept the principles contained within the 2100+ stage Hero's Journey / Transformation / New World template, which is a separate and distinct purchase.
  • If you have questions, please contact us before you make a purchase. We will reply within 72 hours, usually much sooner.


$250 US dollars:

[Once you make a successful credit card payment, the download location and the password to open the file will automatically appear on your screen].