Lesson from a Hollywood Legend Christopher Vogler
If I were you, I ‘d be wondering… who is Christopher Vogler? Well, I have good news for you.
The works of Joseph Campbell inspired Christopher Vogler. He is author of “The Writer‘s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.” As a Hollywood story consultant, he has read over 12,000 stories. He has also taught at the University of Southern California and has consulted for Disney Studios and Fox 2000.
I will have to dedicate a few post to Joseph Campbell, if you don’t know him. He is in a special category. For now, let ‘s learn our lesson from Vogler.
One Big Lesson from Vogler:
He uses Campbell‘s The Hero‘s Journey to troubleshoot and critique missing elements and ingredients in stories before they are produced in screenplays or movies. Vogler teaches that stories ought to be a reflection of our lives because reality creates a deeper connection. Stories can also be a fair reflection of reality, myths or folktales.
In his book and his workshops, Vogler offers insights on how to create a story that is deep and emotionally driven to engage at a human level. He teaches writer to use the 12 Steps a Hero’s Journey and 8 character archetypes in deepening connection with an audience.
Have you ever gotten misty eyed in a movie?
Hollywood masters know something about emotions. In crafting your stories, strive to steep them in emotions and see what happens. This is what will move your audience. In the process of crafting, ask yourself “which emotion can I bring to the foreground?” Beware of emotional connections!
Here is an example for you. During a workshop I conducted this week, Leading with Story: How Leaders Engage and Persuade in a Complex World (6 April 2015) in Singapore, I gave out white coffee mugs to 6 participants and asked them to write 27-words to sell the mugs on e-bay or any other e-commerce site. The time allowed was 3 minutes. There was nothing extraordinary about the mugs; they all looked the same.
After the allotted time, I asked each participant to read out his or her ad copy. We then voted on the winner based on how emotionally engaging and logical the copy was crafted and the asking price.
A gentle man named Jae Won, from Korea was the runaway winner. He had written a moving short story or ad copy in which he depicted the coffee mug as a “dug-out” World War II relic with his grandfather’s name on it. In less than 27 words, he got all of us excited about an ordinary mug. This demonstrates the power of a good story with latent energy and emotions.
By the time Jae Won finished reading his story; nearly everyone was clapping and cheering. It was very short, yet deeply emotional and gripping. My point here is that you don’t need to have a dramatic life to find emotional gems to tell your audience a spellbinding story.