Category Archives: Project 2 – The Hero’s Journey


For Exercise 1 – I’ve chosen the film ‘Top Gun’ as it’s the film I have watched the most, at least 25 times!  The Hero’s Journey is a template created by Christopher Vogler, (interview courtesy of London Screenwriter Festival website 2018), he is an author, actor, Hollywood Executive Screenwriter and a Story Consultant.

Christopher Vogler – The Writer’s Journey a book based on The Hero’s Journey template – Information provided by Wikipedia.

Llwe Interview with Christopher Vogler  friend of Christopher Vogler, describing The Hero’s Journey in length and his book The Writer’s Journey, designed for screenwriters but can be used for any life situation.

The initial memo by Christopher Vogler – This memo is from a source called  ‘Livingspirit’   and outlines a message from Vogler detailing the mythical hero’s journey, a template used in the film industry, if a film flops it is understood to be because the steps were not taken.  (authenticity of this memo/website is not guaranteed).



Act 1 – (Beginning = The hero’s decision to act)

1. Ordinary World – Maverick (Tom Cruise) is on an American navy boat as a pilot

2. Call to Adventure – Him and his friend Goose, get the news they are to be transferred to ‘Top Gun – Navy Fighter Weapons School’ Where the ‘best of the best’ get sent for training

3. Refusal of the Call – Maverick’s dad was a Top Gun pilot who disappeared was ‘shot down’ and no one really new what happened as it was ‘classified’, he’s very arrogant and sure of himself but has this dark fear of not living up to his father’s memory.

4. Meeting with the mentor – This is the head of the Top Gun school, he is the one who knows what happened to his father.  He is the one they all look up to.

5. Crossing the First Threshold – Maverick and Goose go to a bar and Maverick is attracted to a woman and he and Goose sing a song to her, she decline his advances.  In Class the next day, it turns out she is one of his instructors.

Act II – (Middle = the action)

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies – He makes enemies with ‘Iceman’ (Val Kilmer), who thinks Maverick is dangerous, he starts to go out with Charolotte (Kelly McGillis), the instructor, Goose brings his wife and son to Top Gun for a visit, they all get on great.  He starts to do flight tests with Goose as his co pilot, they have ‘wingmen’ that they musn’t leave when flying on missions.  Maverick insists on doing ‘flypasts’ that are not allowed.  He also leaves his wingman in a flying exercise and is ‘shot down’ by ‘the mentor’.

7. Approach to the inmost Cave – Goose is not impressed with Maverick’s behaviour and tells him he needs to be serious as he has a wife and child to support.  Maverick becomes serious and on their next flying exercise the jet goes in to a ‘flat spin’, both men eject into the sea.  Goose dies.

8. Ordeal  – Maverick is unable to cope with the death of his friend, the court tells him he is not to blame, it was something no one could have predicted would happen.  He ignores everyone, including Charlotte. Goose’s wife tell’s him it wasnt his fault.  He throws Maverick’s navy identity tags into the sea and returns to duty.

9. Reward – Maverick visits the house of ‘The Mentor’ who tells him the classified information about his father.  Maverick returns to action with a new team mate.  He visits Charlotte’s house but she has left.

Act III – (End = the consequences of action)

10. The road back – Maverick goes to a bar and Charlotte is there and tells him that he isnt the man she met who was full of fire and energy, she gives him the courage to not quit.

11. Resurrection – he doesn’t win the Top Gun price of first place but goes to the award ceremony, he has passed, during the awards ‘the mentor’ receives information they are all called to an emergency and have to fly in combat.  With his new team mate they become the wingmen to ‘Iceman’, they end up as team players that defeat the enemy, at the end of the fight ‘Iceman’ says ‘you can be my wingman anytime’, Maverick receives a heros welcome.

12. Return with the Elixir – Maverick goes to a cafe and a song comes on the dukebox reminding him of Charlotte, he looks around and she is there, he receives notice he has a place as a flight instructor at Top Gun.

EXERCISE 1 part 2

I used a story I wrote to see if it worked with The Hero’s Journey.  It does seem to fit with the template.

BROTHERLY LOVE by Jean Taylor (2010)

Act 1 – (Beginning = The hero’s decision to act)

1. Ordinary World – Adam, Army Soldier in love with Flory

2. Call to Adventure – Joins the army boyhood ambition

3. Refusal of the Call – Doesn’t want to leave Flory

4. Meeting with the mentor – His father, who he respects and helps him through his trama

5. Crossing the First Threshold – His younger brother returns from abroad, Flory falls in love with him

Act II – (Middle = the action)

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies – He returns from conflict in Iraq and founds out his brother is having affair with Flory and beats him up

7. Approach to the inmost Cave – He spirals into depression and becomes an alcoholic

8. Ordeal  – He is unable to deal with his brother’s betrayal and tries to commit suicide.

9. Reward – His father finds him and brings him back from the brink

Act III – (End = the consequences of action)

10. The road back – He leaves the army and moves abroad working for a security company, gets his life in order, doesn’t drink anymore

11. Resurrection – His brother and Flory invite him to their wedding, but it’s their adoptive daughter than win’s him over.  On stag night he drives the car and Flory’s brother and father are killed along with his brother.

12. Return with the Elixir – After five years, Adam is to marry Flory, being father to his brother’s adoptive daughter and twins born after the accident.


When I first read this part to the lead up of Exercise 1, I didn’t quite get it, The Hero’s Journey.  However, after researching the writer of the template I understood it a lot better.  There are several interviews with Christopher Vogler and also a copy of his original memo used to promote the template, although this can’t be verified, however it helped me to understand the logic behind The Hero’s Journey.