I am getting my book Reel Transformation: Your Life Now Playing ready for publication and I am over the moon excited!
I had the idea for this book over a decade ago. I started noticing a pattern in many movies. It seemed many of the protagonists would leave home…either physically or metaphorically and then go through lots of challenges that I call wilderness experiences. At some point they go through an awakening and return home transformed. It is the quintessential Hero’s Journey.
Inspired by Moody and Carroll’s book The Five Stages of the Soul, I condensed the stages of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to the Five Stages of Transformation: 1) Home in the Ordinary World, 2) The Call, 3) The Wilderness, 4) The Awakening and the 5) Return Home.
We see this Hero’s Journey in films of all genres. Films like The Wizard of Oz, The Lion King, Harry Potter and Star Wars. George Lucas wrote Star Wars deliberately using the template of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, but many other film makers simply set out to create a good story and end up using this template unwittingly. It is easy to see this journey in adventure films, yet it can be found in comedies, animated films, romance and science fiction as well.
The story that came to my mind as a minister was of the Prodigal Son. Compare this parable to the classic film The Wizard of Oz.
The Prodigal Son felt dissatisfied with his life at home and demanded his inheritance. His loving and generous father gave it to him and the son left home. Dorothy was dissatisfied with her life on the farm in Kansas. She longed for a life over the rainbow and a tornado swept her to Oz. Both Dorothy and the Prodigal son felt a sense of dissatisfaction with their life and longed to be somewhere else. Dissatisfaction or ‘Divine Discontent’ is often what calls us out of our Ordinary World.
The Prodigal Son ends up squandering his inheritance and finds himself cleaning the pig pens, homeless and without friends or a home. For a Jew who believed pigs to be the ultimate symbol of loathing this was truly a wilderness experience. While Dorothy had friends who helped her in Oz, she had numerous wilderness experiences. She was attacked by flying monkeys and had a wicked witch out to kill her.
The Prodigal Son had an awakening when we ‘came to himself’ and realized that he was the son of a loving Father. He made the decision to go back and ask his father if he could be a servant in his home. Dorothy wanted to return home almost as soon as she arrived in Oz, and she needed to go through some life lessons so she could figure out that she’d always had the power to go home.
Both the Prodigal Son and Dorothy return home transformed people.
All of us go through these stages of transformation at some point in our life and usually we go through them over and over again. My book, using examples from movies, talks about these stages and shows you how to use something you love to do—watching movies—to assist you in your own growth and transformation.
So keep an eye out on Amazon for Reel Transformation: Your Life Now Playing.