Dan Harmon, the creator of the popular television show “Community” and co-creator of “Rick and Morty,” developed a story circle model for storytelling, which he calls the “Story Circle.” It is a simple and effective tool for outlining the structure of a story. The Story Circle is based on the idea that all stories, regardless of genre or medium, can be broken down into eight steps.

The eight steps of the Story Circle are:

  1. The Ordinary World: This is where the story begins, introducing the main character and their normal everyday life.
  2. The Call to Adventure: This is the point at which the character is presented with a challenge or opportunity that will change their life.
  3. Refusal of the Call: The character may initially refuse the call to adventure, either out of fear or reluctance.
  4. Meeting with the Mentor: The character meets a mentor figure who provides guidance and advice on how to face the challenge.
  5. Crossing the Threshold: The character makes the decision to accept the call to adventure and embarks on the journey.
  6. Tests, Allies, Enemies: The character faces a series of tests and encounters allies and enemies along the way.
  7. Approach to the Inmost Cave: The character reaches the climax of the story and the most difficult part of the journey.
  8. The Ordeal: The character faces the ultimate challenge, and the outcome of the story is determined.
  9. The Reward (Seizing the Sword): The character receives a reward for their efforts, whether it be a tangible object

The story circle, also known as the “Hero’s Journey” or the “Monomyth,” is a narrative structure that has been widely used in storytelling, particularly in film. It was first identified and described by the mythologist Joseph Campbell in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

The story circle is a universal narrative structure that outlines the basic pattern of a hero’s journey, from the ordinary world, to the call to adventure, to the trials and challenges faced by the hero, and ultimately to the hero’s return to the ordinary world, transformed by the experiences they have undergone.

The story circle is important to film because it provides a framework for creating a compelling and satisfying story that resonates with audiences. The structure of the story circle gives a clear sense of direction and purpose to the narrative, making it easier for the audience to follow and understand the events of the story. Additionally, the story circle provides a sense of familiarity and comfort for the audience, as it is a structure that has been used in many successful films throughout the history of cinema.

Moreover, the story circle is not only helpful for the audience but also for the filmmakers, it gives them a guide to follow as they write and develop their story, ensuring that all the necessary elements are included and that the story flows in a logical and coherent way. Additionally, filmmakers can use the story circle as a tool for character development, as the hero’s journey is often used to explore the internal struggles and growth of the main character.

In conclusion, The story circle is important to film because it provides a framework for creating a compelling and satisfying story, that resonates with audiences by giving a sense of direction and familiarity, and it’s helpful for filmmakers as a guide to write, develop and create their stories.

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