Monthly Archives: January 2014

Imaging & Data Visualisation

3 projects

1. Photographic (15% ish)

2. Illustrative (15% ish)

3. Data visualisation (15% ish)

Photographic – Macro/Micro

Takes lots of photos

Only submitting 6 photos

Assessing the pictures though flickr.

Good to have deviantart and instagram app/account as well.

Research, research, research!!

Research different photographers/photos

Go beyond lecture content

Be creative

I want to see how you got to the photos you picked, tell a story

Lawrence of Arabia: Cast (Character Arc)


1. Peter O’Toole…… T.E.Lawrence (hero, anti-hero, shadow)

2. Alec Guinness…… Prince Feisal (?)

3. Anthony Quinn……Auda Abu Tayi (?)

4. Jack Hawkins……General Allenby (Herald, Mentor [?])

5. Omar Sharif……Sherif Ali (Threshold Guardian, Shape-shifter)

6. Jose Ferrer…..Turkish Bey (Threshold Guaridan, Villain)

7.Anthony Quayle…….Colonel Brighton (?)

8. Claud Rains……..Mr. Dryden (Mentor)

9. Arthur Kennedy……..Jackson Bentley (?)

10. Donald Wolfit……….General Murray (?)

11. I.S. Johar……….Gasim (Herald)

12. Gramil Ratib……… Majd (?)

13. Michel Rey……… Farraj (Trickster)

14. John Dimech………..Daud (Trickster, Herald[?])

15. Zia Mohyeddin………….Tafas (Mentor)

16. Howard Marion-Crawford……… Medical Officer (?)

17. Jack Gwillim…………..Club Secretary (?)

18. Hugh Miller…………..R.A.M.C. Colonel (?)

Stage Twelve: Return with the Elixir (Pg. 215 – 228)

C. Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers,

No, Aunt Em, this was a real truly live place. And I remember some of it wasn’t very nice. But most of it was beautiful. But just the same all i kept saying to everybody was ‘I want to got home.’ – from Wizard of Oz

Having Survived all the ordeals, having lived through death, heroes return to their starting place, and go home, or continue the journey. But they always proceed with a sense that they are commencing a new life, one that will be forever different because of the road just travelled. If they are true heroes, they Return with the Elixir from the Special World; bringing something to share with others, or something with the power to heal a wounded land.

We Seekers came home last, prayed, purified, and bearing the fruits of our journey. We share out the nourishment and treasure among the Home Tribe, with many a good story about how they were won. a circle has been closed, you can feel it. you can see that our struggles on the Road of Heroes have brought new life to our land. There will be other adventure, but this one is complete, and as it ends it brings deep healing, wellness, and wholeness to our world. The seekers have come Home.


Quest for fire has a wonderful Return sequence that shows how storytelling probably began, with hunter/gatherer struggling to relate their adventure in the Outer World.

Returning with the Elixir means implementing change  in your daily life and using the lessons of adventure to heal your wounds.

A declaration of healing powers of stories.


Another name for the Return is denouement, a french word meaning “untying” or “unknowing”, (noue means knot). A story is like a weaving in which lives of the characters are interwoven into a incoherent design. We also talk about “tying up the loose ends”, of a story in a denouement. These phrases point to the idea that a story is a weaving and that it must be finished properly or it will seem tangled or ragged.

Two Story Forms

The more conventional way of ending a story, greatly preferred in Western Culture and American movies in particular, is the circular from in which there is a sense of closure and completion.

The other way, more popular in Asia and in Australian and European movies, is the open-ended approach in which there is a sense of unanswered questions, ambiguities, and unresolved conflicts.

Heroes may have grown in awareness in both forms, but in the open-ended form their problems may not be tied up so neatly.

The Circular Story Form

The most popular story design seems to be the circular or closed form, in which the narrative returns to its starting point. Having your Hero Return to her starting point or remember how she started allows you to draw a comparison for the audience.

  • How far your Heroes has come
  • How she’s changed
  • how her old world looks different now

Achievement of Perfection

The “Happy Ending” of Hollywood films link them with the world of fairy tales, which are often about the achievement of perfection.

  • “And they lived happily ever after”
  • “louie, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship

The Open-Ended Story Form

storytellers have thought of many was to create a circular feeling of completion or closure, basically by addressing the dramatic question raised in Act One. Some storytellers prefer and open-ended Return. In the open-ended point of view, the storytelling goes on after the story is over; it continues in the mind and hear of the audience, in the conversations and even arguments people have in coffee shops after seeing a movie or reading a book.

Functioning of the Return

Return with the Elixir can perform many functions, but there is something Special about being the last element of the journey. It must finish your story so that it satisfies or provokes your audience as you intended. It must bear a special weight because of its unique position at the end of the work, and it’s also a place of pitfalls for writers and their heroes.


A Return can fall flat if everything is resolved too nearly or just as expected. Return should untie the plots thread but with a certain amount of surprise. The Greeks often built a “recognition” scene into the ending of their plays and novels.

The Return may have a twist to it. This another case of misdirection: you lead the audience to believe one thing, and then reveal at the last moment a quite different reality.

There is usually an ironic or cynical tone to such Returns, as if they mean to say ” Ha, fooled ya!”

Reward and Punishment

A specialized job of Return is to hand out final rewards and punishments. It’s part of restoring balance to the world of the story, giving sense of completion.

  • The villain dies or gets his just comeuppence should directly relate to his sins.
  • Heroes should get what coming to them as well, ( too many movie heroes get rewards they haven’t really earned).

The Elixir

What does the hero bring with her from the Special World to share upon her Return? Whatever it’s shared within the community or with the audience, bringing back the Elixir is the hero’s final test.

  • It serves as an example for the others
  • shows above all that death can be overcome.
  • the Elixir may even have the power to restore life in the ordinary world.

Returning with the Elixir can be literal or metaphoric. More figuratively, it may be any of the things that drive people to undertake adventure: money, fame, power, love, peace, happiness, success,  or having a good story to tell.

The Elixir of Love

Love is, of course, one of the most  powerful and popular Elixirs. It can be a reward the hero does not win until the final sacrifice.

The World is Changed.

Another aspect of the Elixir is that wisdom which heroes bring with them may be so powerful that it forces change not only in them, but also those around them.

The Elixir of Responsibility

A common and powerful Elixir is for heroes to take wider responsibilities at the Return, giving up their Loner  status for place of leadership or service within a group.

The Elixir of Tragedy

In tragedy mode heroes die or are defeated, brought by their own flaws.

Sadder But Wiser

A feeling of closure by a hero acknowledges that he is Sadder But Wiser for having gone through the experience.

Sadder But No Wiser

A “Sadder But Wiser” hero is acknowledging that  he’s been a fool, in which is the  first step to recovery. The worse kind of fool is the one who deoesn’t get it. Either he never sees the error or he goes through the motions but has not really learned his lesson. He is Sadder But No Wiser. This is another kind of Circular Closure.

For this penalty of failing to return with the Elixir: The Hero, or someone else, is doomed to repeat the Ordeals until the lesson is learned or the Elixir is brought home to share.


An Epilogue or postscript on a rare occasion can serve to complete the story, by protecting a head to some future time to show how the character turned out.

Pitfalls of the Return

Many stories fall apart in the final moments. The Return is too abrupt, prolonged, unfocused, unsurprising, or unsatisfying. The Return may also be to ambiguous.

Subplots should have at least three “beats” or scenes distributed throughout the story, one in each act.

Too Many Endings

The Return should not seem laboured or repetitive.  Another good rule of thumb for the Return phase is to operate on the KISS system, that is: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Many stories fail because they have too many endings. People want to know the story’s definitively over so they can quickly get up and leave the theatre or finish the book with a powerful change of emotions. An overly ambitious film like Lord Jim, trying to take on a dense novel, can exhaust an audience with climaxes and endings that seem to go on forever.

Abrupt Ending

A Return can seem too abrupt, giving the sense the writer has quit it too soon after the climax. A story tends to feel in complete unless a certain emotional space tends is devoted to bidding farewell to the characters and drawing some conclusions. an abrupt Return is like hanging up the phone without saying goodbye.


Writers may have failed to pose the right questions in the first place. Without realizing it, a writer might shift the theme. The writer has lost the thread.


The story should end with the emotional equivalent of a punctuation mark. A story, like a sentence, can end in four ways: with a period, and exclamation point, a question mark, or an ellipsis, (example: Do you want to go now, or)

Dialogue flatly makes a declarative statement: “Life goes on.” “Good triumphs over evil.” “That’s the way life is.” “There’s no place like home.”

Science fiction and horror films may end on a note of “We are not alone!” or “Repent or perish!”

Stories of social awareness may end with a passionate tone of ” Never again!” or “Rise up and throw off the chains of oppression!” or “Something must be done!”

In more open-ended approaches structures, you may want to end with the effect of and ellipsis.

One way or another, the very end of the story should announce that it’s all over – like Warner Bros.’ cartoon signature “That’s all folks!”

And so the Hero’s Journey ends, or at least for a while, for the journey of life and the adventure of story never really end. The Hero and the audience bring back the Elixir from the current adventure, but the quest to integrate the lessons goes on. It is for each of us to say what the Elixir is – wisdom, experience, money, love, fame or the thrill of a lifetime. But good story, like a good journey, leaves us with an Elixir that changes more a part of everything that is : The Circle of the Hero’s Journey.

1. What is the Elixir of Basic Instinct) Big) City Slickers) Fatal Attraction) Dances with Wolves)
2. What is the Elixir your hero brings back from the experience? Is it kept to herself or is it shared?
3. Does your story go on too long after the main event or climax is over? What would be the effect of simply cutting it off after the climax? How much denouement do you need to satisfy the audience?
4. In what ways has the hero gradually taken more responsibility in the course of the story? Is the Return a point of taking greatest responsibility?
5. Who is the hero of the story now? Has your story changed heroes,or have char­acters risen to be heroes? Who turned out to be a disappointment? Are there any surprises in the final outcome?
6. Is your story worth telling? Has enough been learned to make the effort worth­ while?
7. Where are you in your own Hero’s Journey? What is the Elixir you hope to bring back?

Stage 11: Resurrection (Pg. 197 – 212)

C. Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writer’s,

What can I do, old man? I’m dead, aren’t I? -from The Third Man by Graham Greene

Now comes one of the trickiest and most challenging passages for the hero and the writer, a story to feel complete, the audience needs to experience an additional moment of death and rebirth, similar to the Supreme Ordeal but subtly different. This is the climax (not the crisis), the last and most dangerous meeting with death. Heroes have to undergo a find purging and purification before reentering the Ordinary World. Once more they must changed. the trick for writer’s is to show the change in their characters, by behaviour or appearance rather than by just talking about it. writers must find ways to demonstrate that their heroes have been through a Resurrection.

We wary Seekers shuffle back towards the village. Look! The smoke of the Home Tribe fires! Pick up the place! but wait – the shaman appears to stop us from charging back in. you have been to the land of death, he says, and you look like death itself, covered in blood, carrying the torn flesh and hide of your game. If you march back into the village without purifying and cleansing yourself, you may bring death back with you. You must undergo one final sacrifice before rejoining the tribe. Your warrior self must die so that you can be reborn as an innocent into the group. The trick  is to keep the wisdom of the Ordeal, while getting rid of its bad effects. after all we’ve been through, fellow Seekers, we must face one more trial, maybe the hardest one yet.

A New Personality

A new self must be created for a new world. just as heroes had to shed their old selves to enter the Special World, they must shed the personality of the journey and build a new one that is suitable for return to Ordinary World. It should reflect the best of the old selves and the lessons learned along the way.


One function of Resurrection is to cleanse Heroes of the smell of death, yet help them retain the lessons of the Ordeal. The lack of public ceremonies and counselling for returning Vietnam War veterans may have had in reintegrating with society. So-called primitive societies seem better prepared to handle the return of Heroes.

Sacred architecture aims to create this feeling of Resurrection, by confining worshippers in a narrow dark hall or tunnel, like a birth canal, before bringing them out into an open well-lit area, with a corresponding lift of relief.

Two great Ordeals

Why so many stories have two climaxes or death-and-rebirth Ordeals, one near the middle and another just before the end of the story?

The Central Crisis or Supreme Ordeal is like a midterm exam; the Resurrection is the final exam. Heroes must be tested one last time to see if they retained the learning from the Supreme Ordeal Act Two.

Physical Ordeal

At the simplest level, the Resurrection may just be a Hero facing death on last time in an ordeal, battle, or showdown. It’s often the final, decisive confrontation with the villain or Shadow. But the difference between this and previous meetings with death is that the danger is usually on the broadest scale of the entire story.

The James Bond movies often climax with 007 battling the villains and then racing against time and impossible odds to disarm some Doomsday device, such as the atomic bomb at the climax of Goldfinger. Millions of lives are at stake. Hero, audience, and world are taken to the brink of death one more time before Band manages to yank the right wire and save us all from destruction.

The Active Hero

Heroes can get surprise assistance, but it’s best the Hero to be the one to perform the decisive action; to deliver blow to fear or the Shadow; to be active rather than passive, at this of all times.


The Showdown is a distinct dramatic form with its own rules and conversations. The operatic climax of the Sergio Leone “spaghetti westerns” exaggerate the elements of conventional Showdowns: the dramatic music; the opposing forces marching towards each other in some kind of arena (the town street, a corral, a cemetery, the villain’s hideout); the closeups of guns, hands and eyes poised for the decisive moment; the sense that time stands still.

Duels to the death form the climaxes of swashbucklers such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Seahawk, Scaramouche and the Flame and the Arrow; knights battle to the death in Ivanhoe, Excalibur, and Knights of the Round Table. Duels or shootouts are not fully satisfying unless the Hero is taken right to the edge of death.


A difficult choice tests the Hero’s value: will he choose in accordance with his old, flawed ways or will the choice reflect the new person he’s become?

Climax is a Greek word meaning “a ladder”. For us storytellers it has come to mean an explosive moment, the highest peak in energy, or the last big event in a work.

Quiet Climax

There is such a thing as a quiet climax; a gentle cresting of a wave of emotion. A quiet climax can give a sense that the conflicts have been harmoniously resolved, and all the tensions converted into feelings of pleasure and peace.


This Greek word actually means “vomiting up” or “purging”, but in English has come to mean a purifying emotional release, or an emotional break through. Greek drama was constructed with the intent of relieving anxiety or depression by bringing unconscious materials to the surface. The climax you are trying to trigger in your Hero and audience is the moment when they are most conscious, when they have reached the highest point of a ladder of awareness. You are trying to raise  the consciousness of both the Hero and the participating audience. Catharsis works best through physical expression of emotions such as laughter and crying.

Laughter is one of the strongest channels of Catharsis. A comedy should crest with a gag or a series of gags that create a virtual explosion of laughter, Jokes that relieve tension, purge sour emotions, and allow us a shared experience. The classic Warner Bros. and Disney short cartoons are constructed to reach a climax of laughter, crescendo of absurdity, in six minutes.

Character Arc

A catharsis is the logical climax of a Hero’s Character Arc. This is a term used to describe the gradual stages of change in a character: the phases and turning point of growth. A common flaw in stories is that writers make Heroes grow or change, but do so abruptly, in a single leap because of a single incident.  Someone criticizes them or they realize a flaw, and they immediately correct it; or they have an overnight conversation because of some shock and are totally changed one stroke.

Here is a typical character arc compared with the Hero’s Journey model.

Character Arc                                                                              Hero’s Journey

  1. limited awareness of a problem                               Ordinary World
  2. increased awareness                                                     Call of Adventure
  3. reluctance to change                                                                Refusal
  4. overcoming reluctance                                                Meeting with Mentor
  5. committing to change                                               Crossing the Threshold
  6. experimenting with first change                           Tests, Allies, Enemies
  7. preparing for big chance                                     Approach to Inmost Cave
  8. attempting big chance                                                             Ordeal
  9. consequences of the attempt                                             Reward (improvements and setbacks)
  10. rededication to change                                                         Road Back
  11. final attempt at big chance                                               Resurrection
  12. final mastery of the problem                                   Returning with Elixir

The Stages of the Hero’s Journey are a good guide to the steps needed to create a realistic character arc.

Last Chance

The Resurrection is the Hero’s final attempt to make major change in attitude or behaviour.

Watch Your Step

Sometimes great drama comes from Heroes dropping the ball at the last moment, just before reaching their goal. The Heroes of Quest of Fire came back to their people with elixir flame, but at the threshold of their world, the fire goes out, dropped into the water by accident. This apparent death of all hope is the final test for the Hero, the leader of the quest. He reassures the people, for he knows the secret of fire; he has seen the more advanced tribe using it a special stick to make fire at his Ordeal. However, when he tries to copy their techniques he finds he has forgotten the trick. Again hope seems dead. But just then his “wife”, a woman he met on the adventure and a member of the more advanced tribe, steps in and gives it a try. She succeeds, fire blossoms, and the possibility of life returns to the tribe.


A common fairy tale motif is that proof brought back from Magic World tends to evaporate.

Kids like to bring back souvenirs from summer vacations, partly to remind them of the trips, visited these exotic locales. Not being believed is a perennial problem of travellers to other worlds.

Sacrifice comes from the Latin word meaning “making holy”. Heroes are often required to sanctify a story by making a sacrifice, perhaps by giving up or giving back to something of themselves.

The classic sacrifice in literature is found in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, where a man gives his life on the guillotine to save another man’s life.


The Trick for the writer is to make change visible in appearance or action. It’s not enough to have people around a Hero notice that she’s changed; it’s not enough to have her talk about change.

The audience must be able to see it in her dress, behaviour, attitude and actions.

Resurrection is the Hero’s final exam, her change to show what she has learned. Heroes are totally purged by final sacrifice or deeper experience of the mysteries of life and death.

1. What is the Resurrection in King Kong) Gone with the Wind) The Silence of the Lambs) Death Becomes Her)
2. What negative characteristics has your hero picked up along the way? What flaws were there from the beginning that still need to be corrected? What flaws do you want to preserve, uncorrected? Which are necessary parts of your hero’s nature?
3. What final ordeal of death and rebirth does your hero go through? What aspect of your hero is Resurrected?
4. Is there a need for a physical showdown in your story? Is your hero active at the critical moment?
5. Examine the character arc of your hero. Is it a realistic growth of gradual changes? Is the final change in your character visible in her actions or appearance?
6. Who learns anything in a tragedy where the hero dies, where the hero didn’t learn his lessons?

Stage Ten: The Road Back (Pg. 187 – 194)

C. Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writer’s,

Easy is the descent to the Lower World; but, to retrace your steps and to escape to the upper air – this is the task, this the toil. – The Sibyl to Aeneas in The Aeneid

Once the lesson and Reward of the great Ordeal have been celebrated and absorbed, heroes face a choice: whether to remain in the Special World or begin the journey home to the Ordinary World. Although the world may have its charms, few heroes elect to stay. most take The Road Back, returning to the starting point or continuing on the journey to a totally new locale or ultimate destination.

this is a time when the stories energy, which may have ebbed a little in the quiet moments of Seizing the Sword, is is now revved up again. If we look at the hero’s journey as a circle with the beginning at the top, we are still down in the basement and it will take some push to get us back up into the light.

Wake up Seekers! Shake off the effects of our feast and celebration and remember why we came out in the first place! People back home are starving and it’s urgent, now that we’ve cover from the Ordeal, to load up our backpacks with food and treasure and head for home. Besides, there is not telling what dangers still lurk on the edge of the hunting grounds. you pass at the edge of camp to look back. they’ll never believe this back home. How to tell them? something bright on the ground catches your eye. You bend  to pick it up – a beautiful smooth stone with an inner glow. Suddenly a dark shape darts out at you, all fangs. run!Run for your life!


The Road Back marks a time when heroes rededicate themselves to the adventure.

Inner Resolve might be by a scene of a tired commander rallying dispirited troops after battle, or a parent pulling a family together after a death or tragedy.

The Road Back is a turning point, another threshold crossing which marks the passage from Act two to Act Three. Like crossing the First Threshold it may cause change in the aim of the story.


An important lesson of Martial Arts is finish your opponent. Heroes often learn that villains or Shadows who are not completely defeated in this crisis can rise up stronger than before. The ogre or the villain the Hero confronted in the Ordeal may pull himself together and strike a counterblow. A parent who has been challenged for dominance in the family may get over the initial shock and unleash a devastating retaliation.

A Martial Arts opponent knocked off balance may recover his centre rand deliver a surprise attack. Tianamen Square incident, the Chinese government rallied after days of confusion to launch a crushing response that drove the students and their Goddess of Liberty from the square.

The psychological meaning of such counterattacks is the neuroses, flaws, habits, desires, or addictions we have challenged may retreat for at time, but  can rebound in a last-ditch defence or desperate  attack before  being vanquished for-ever.

Chase Scenes

In many cases heroes leave the Special World only because they are running for their lives. Chases may occur in any part of the story, but the end of Act Two is one of the most popular places.

Magic Flight – Joseph Campbell gives several illustrations of magical flights, and suggests the motif stands for a hero’s attempts to stall the avenging forces in anyway possible, by throwing down “interpretations, principles, symbols, rationalisations, anything [to] delay and absorbs” their power.

Villain Escapes – Another chase scene variant is the pursuit of escaped villain. A shadow captured and controlled in the Ordeal escapes at this stage and becomes more dangerous than before.


Another twist of The Road Back may be a sudden Catastrophic reversal of the Hero’s good fortune. Things were going well after surveying the Ordeal, but now reality sets in again.

The Road Back may be a brief moment or an elaborate sequence of events. Almost every story needs a moment to acknowledge the Hero’s resolve to finish, and provide her with necessary motivation to return home with the elixir despite the temptations of the Special World and the trails that remain ahead.

Heroes gather up what they have learned, gained, stolen, or been granted in the Special World. They set themselves a new goal, to escape, find further adventure, or return home.

Questioning the Journey

  1. What is The Road Back in a League of Their Own? Awakening? Unforgiven? Terminator 2? From the writer’s point of view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of heroes being rejected or chased from the Special World? Of leaving voluntarily?
  2. What have you learned or gained from confronting death, defeat, or danger? Did you feel heroic? How can you apply your feelings to you writing, to the reactions of you characters?
  3. How do your heroes rededicate themselves to the quest?
  4. What is The Road Back in your story? Is it returning to your starting place? Setting a new destination? Adjusting to a new life in the Special World?
  5.  Find the Act Two/Act Three turning points in three current feature films. Are these single moments or extended sequences?
  6.  Is there an element of pursuit or acceleration in these sections? In The Road Back section of your own story?