Gerald Hanks Filmography

Monday, October 4, 2021

Baseball, Screenwriting, and “The Writer's Journey”: Introduction

I recently received an e-mail from Ken Lee at Michael Wiese Productions, the publisher of such indispensable screenwriting books as Michael Hauge's Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds, Penny Penniston's Talk The Talk, and Blake Snyder's “Save The Cat” series.

The e-mail regarded the 25th Anniversary of Christopher Vogler's seminal work, The Writer's Journey. Later this week, I look forward to the opportunity to interview Mr. Vogler and get his thoughts on how his approach to story development has changed in the last quarter-century.

In the meantime, I'm re-reading my copy of the Second Edition of The Writer's Journey. One of the more timely aspects that I noticed involved how he illustrated the standard “hero's journey” character arc as a baseball diamond. 

With the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs on the horizon, I thought I'd look at how to extend his illustration into a full-blown analysis of how the struggle that a screenwriter endures can parallel that of a batter rounding the bases.

As a lifelong baseball fan, seeing both my childhood team (St. Louis Cardinals) and my hometown team (Houston Astros) headed into the post-season reminds me of the incredible skill levels that baseball players possess. 

For instance, if a hitter gets a base hit three times out of every ten at-bats, the media and the fans consider that player as a star. These players spend hours in batting practice, working on their stance, and studying video of both their swing and the pitchers that they'll face.

This aspect should serve as a lesson for those aspiring writers who think that their scripts will guarantee them success. Even the best hitters analyze every aspect of their swing, so every writer should scrutinize every facet of their writing skills. If a writer develops their skills enough (or gets lucky enough) to take a swing with their script and makes contact, then the real fun begins

In The Writer's Journey, Mr. Vogler discusses the concept of "Threshold Guardians". In baseball, the pitcher, catcher, and fielders serve as the "guardians" who prevent the runner from reaching each base. In writing, the various gatekeepers guard each threshold of the process to prevent newbie writers from "scoring" a deal. 

For this week, we'll break down the process of going from a newbie writer to a produced professional by touching each “base” until we look at how to “score” in the industry with a finished feature film or TV pilot.

Visit us tomorrow, when we'll look at how to use your "batter's eye" to find a "pitch" that can help you write a "hit" script.

During this week, Story Into Screenplay is offering a professional analysis of the first ten pages of any screenplay (TV pilot, short film, or feature film) for only $10.

For more information about this offer, email storyintoscreenplayblog(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject “10 Pages for $10” or fill in the form on this page.

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