Tag Archives: Joseph Campbell

Why Stories Favor the Fish Out of Water

Another bias in fiction is what I would call the “fish out of water” bias, which simply means that a story is more likely to be told from an outsider’s perspective than an insider’s. There are a few advantages to … Continue reading

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Three Act Structure: Short-Tension VS Global Tension

Two unrelated parts of my report on three-act structure involved Andrew Stanton, the Writer/ Director of Wall-E, a massive hit, Finding Nemo, another critically acclaimed hit, and John Carter, a legendary flop. Three act structure is simply the way many … Continue reading

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Three-Act Structure: The Feedback Loop

One critique of three-act structure is that the idea is self-perpetuating. Because there’s an industry of books about the subject, aspiring writers are likely to format their work in this particular way, even if it isn’t otherwise advantageous. George Lucas … Continue reading

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Three-Act Structure 3.3: The Final Challenge

Due to the sense of acceleration, McKee argues in Story that the last act of the film should be the shortest: possibly 20 minutes or less of a two-hour film. (219) He describes the third act climax is the obligatory … Continue reading

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Three-Act Structure 3.1: The Exile’s Return

In myth, the third act would be when Jason comes home with the golden fleece. As Campbell writes in The Hero With a Thousand Faces “The first problem of the returning hero is to accept as real, after an experience of … Continue reading

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Three Act Structure 2.3: Belly of the Beast

In Three Uses of the Knife, David Mamet identifies the second act of a film or play with Joseph Campbell’s “Belly of the Beast.” (38) In Jonah’s case, it was literal. As Mamet explains, if Act One is the dream, … Continue reading

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Three Act Structure 1.2: Self-Annihilation

There are two elements to the end of the beginning for a story, according to Campbell. In addition to the crossing of the first threshold, he describes an element of self-annihilation. (91) A biblical example would be Jonah getting swallowed … Continue reading

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