Hero’s Journey

Dead Poets Society Midpoint Mr Keating (Robin Williams) confronts Todd (Ethan Hawke) and the timid student finally reveals what lurks beneath his timid shell

An emotionally powerful ending depends on 2 key moments before the climax itself. And neither of them is the Inciting Incident or a Turning Point.

Anne Hathway as Fantine in Les Miserables

If you want to write a Transcendent Story, don’t think happy or sad ending. Think “Ecstatic Agony”. Here I explore what that means and why it’s so powerful.

The Godfather movie poster - Marlon Brando as Don Corleone

Here I identify five characteristics of the Transcendent Story that can touch both broad audiences and tough critics.

Post image for How to win audiences and Oscars – introducing the Transcendent Story

Here I introduce the very special sort of story that can reunite the disparate Hollywood and Indie audiences and achieve the filmmaking Holy Grail: critical and commercial success.

Old-fashioned typewriter

Here I illustrate the Hero’s Emotional Journey with examples from my own torturous but ultimately rewarding life as a screenwriter.

The Kings Speech Bertie Colin Firth Empire Games Humiliation Wembley Big Microphone

In my last post, I revealed where I diverge from Vogler on Character Arc. Here I outline a new Hero’s Journey that focuses on the protagonist’s emotional journey.

Miles (Paul Giamatti) drinking from the spitoon in Sideways

The Hero’s Journey transformed my storytelling but I fundamentally disagree with Chris Vogler on character arc.

Brokeback Mountain Heath Ledger Jake Gyllenhall Fight

If all you do at the midpoint is raise the stakes your script has little chance of packing much emotional punch at the climax. Here are the 2 things you should be focussed on delivering around the middle of Act 2.

Post image for 10 screenwriting insights I wish I’d had 25 years ago

Over the last 25 years, I’ve stumbled and lurched my way to some understanding of the screenwriter’s craft. Here I share the 10 screenwriting insights I wish I’d had when I started out.

Todd (Ethan Hawke) in Dead Poets Society

One of my students just asked me how his hero could gain courage. This question goes to heart of character arcs so I thought I’d share my response.