The Fallacy of the Hero’s Journey

Certain studio execs assumed that this was the Holy Grail or money making formula for all films and proceeded to demand that future scripts follow this format. In certain cases this is exactly the way selected stories evolve. However, this is only true for two genres, Myth and Fantasy, where the hero / protagonist journeys out on an adventure and returns a changed person with an elixir for the benefit of all humankind.

Some elements of THJ can arguably be part of the action and drama genres. Other genres, Rom Coms come to mind, are force fit into THJ to both the writer’s frustration and the genre’s detriment. This rush to force fit scripts / movies into the same “pie pan” creates the formulaic story line that the movie going audience recognizes if not consciously, most definitely on a subconscious level. This also leads to the decline in truly original story telling in favor of the sequel either in name or format.

This brings us; regrettably, to the template that many first level contest readers or film judges are either instructed to use or were force fed in “film school” or guru seminar classes. Now, when these well meaning minions mark an otherwise well written script or film as a pass, they can cite the lack of a clearly delineated first to second act transition or some other formulaic faux pax for their reason(s).

It is this is unfortunate malady, in both the studio and contest environment that perpetuates the fallacy of the one formula always fits all.

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