Friday, 17 March 2017

How one of my Footy Pups episodes exactly followed Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth by accident

The idea of the “monomyth” or "The Hero’s Journey", was introduced in the 1949 book The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.

I was writing on Footy Pups when I got stuck on an episode with my then-writing partner.

It was painful because they’re only short stories, but the hero still has to go through a properly hard journey for the story to feel good enough to keep watching - and I reckon it's harder to keep kids’ attentions than adults.

Also, you can’t rely on some of the lazy shorthand that adult stories sometimes use to keep their attention.

It was even more painful because the previous story had gone through so easily.

I don’t know why, but I think I was reading a book that broke down Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (or... “The Hero’s Journey”).

Then I realised that previous episode had matched his concept of storytelling beat for beat.

And it made me smile, so here now is how Geraldine playing basketball in a 6 minute cartoon about a football team of puppies follows in the same narrative footsteps as Buddha, Moses and Christ.

The Call To Adventure
Pickles tells the pups they’re playing basketball today

Refusal Of The Call
Tiny Geraldine thinks she’s too small to play basketball.

Supernatural Aid
Crossing The Threshold

(“the hero ventures into an unknown and dangerous real where the rules and limits are unknown.”)
Belly Of The Whale
(“the hero shows willingness to undergo a metamorphosis.”)
Geraldine wears stilts to make herself taller to play basketball.

The Road Of Trials
Geraldine plays basketball on stilts with her teammates, and nearly hurts them.

The Meeting With The Goddess
Geraldine trips up on coach Freddie’s washing line, and is catapulted into a tree.
(the tree represents Nature which can also represent The Goddess).

Woman As Temptress
(“Woman is a metaphor for physical or material temptations of life”)
Atonement With The Father
Geraldine offers to rescue coach Freddie’s washing from the tree branches.

(“The point of realisation in which a greater understanding is achieved.”)
Geraldine can’t reach some of the washing. She realises she can jump from branch to branch to rescue the washing.

The Ultimate Boon
(“The achievement of the goal of the quest.”)
Geraldine realises she doesn’t need to be tall to play basketball - she can jump.

Refusal Of The Return
Geraldine wants to rescue all the washing before getting back to playing basketball.

The Magic Flight
She comes down from the tree.

Rescue From Without
(“Bring hero back to everyday life”)
Geraldine returns to playing basketball with her teammates.

The Crossing Of The Return Threshold
(“retain the wisdom gained in the quest”)
Geraldine goes to shoot a hoop and jumps...

Master Of Two Worlds
She can play basketball with just a jump.

Freedom To Live
(“Freedom from the fear of death.”)
Geraldine scores more baskets.

The episodes are on Iplayer here.

Hero With A Thousand Faces, is here

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