Broadcast 3/2/2015 at 10:24 AM EST (14 Listens, 19 Downloads, 3160 Itunes)
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast
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James Bonnet, author Stealing Fire from the Gods: The Complete Guide to Story for Writers and Filmmakers
James was a very young actor in the movie that gave me nightmares as a kid-- The original movie, the Blob.
Rob:What is your basic idea about stories-- your elevator speech version of your model of stories?
Aristotle said that Genius is seeing the connection in things.
if you strung stories together based on maturity levels they represent passages of life we go through.
I discovered that the creative unconscious was really involved in the great stories.
Great stories come from the conscious mind of the artist and the creative unconscious mind. We have the author of the Oddessey and how to get in touch with that.
Rob: What is The golden Paradigm
The great stories reveal that there is a communication between the creative unconscious mind and the conscious mind.
Characters reveal the evolution we went through revealing our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves.
The passage is to transform the original energy of dog-eat dog-- I see you and I eat you-- into an energy that is going to benefit the society.
Rob:What is the story wheel?
That's our progress from birth to zenith, which is a mirror of the stages we went through in the evolutionary journey.
Rob: What is our zenith?
Rob: how does the story wheel work, within your model?
Rob: so how does the story wheel help a writer
These are the things that make great stories live for hundreds or thousands of years.
Rob: what comes after the zenith, or prime?
that's what happens with the decline?
Rob: you've written about The relationship between the shadow and fear. This is what you're talking about here? Tell us more about the connection between the shadow and fear and how that ties into story?
Two of the oldest stories that exist-- Gilgamesh and Osiris-- are stories of tyrants, then there's domination of the people and repression and there are certain things that are going to prevent you from flourishing in society-- so there are things that repress you.
Antihero acting selfishly and competitively-- for own self
Rob: Like Narcissists and psychopaths and sociopaths?
You can look at these stories and how the problems are set up and pretty much shows us the h history of the decline which is getting more chaotic--
The upsides, the promise, shows what could be-- how we could transform those problems, those tyrannies-- what you mean by bottom-up-- a society that is run by collective wisdom. In the case of a tyrant you have one person dictating, but in a democracy you have all of the collective wisdom of everybody.
Rob: how does that fit in your story model?
You need Hunger Games to tell the story of a very small elite controlling the rest of us.
Rob:Tell us your Captain Marvel story
When I was seven years old I was at the annual thanksgiving giving gathering of my aunt Marie"
For 3 hours I was praying to God to make me Captain Marvel, making promises of all these things I was willing to sacrifice and give up to become the greatest power for good on the planet. I said , expecting it to happen, "Shazam!." It seriously damaged my relations with the supreme being.
30 years later I realized that the story wheel was SHAZAM-- the way crippled newsboys are transformed into people who do great things in the world.
Each story contributes a little bit-- may have five parts that have different places on the wheel.
Rob: you say Stories guide us to a higher state of being. Sounds like that's what you are saying there.
Rob: you mentioned Aristotle's tie between genius and seeing connections-- you say "And it's all about connection and disconnection -- a connection to ourselves, a connection to our communities, a connection to the world, a connection to the cosmos or spiritual dimension. Or the reverse -- a disconnection from these same dimensions of ourselves. How does this tie in with story?
Stories created that model. In the spiritual dimension-- the Adam and Eve story-- God was dwelling with us in the Garden, which indicates at one point in our history we had a good relationship with that spiritual dimension---
Rob: so that's a story of disconnection-- from the spiritual
there's disconnection from others, from our selves, -- Wolf Man, Psycho, There Will be Blood, Citizen Kane
Rob: you say "And it's all about connection and disconnection -- a connection to ourselves, a connection to our communities, a connection to the world, a connection to the cosmos or spiritual dimension. Or the reverse -- a disconnection from these same dimensions of ourselves.
Rob: what are some examples of stories of connection
A Christmas Carol-- bah humbug-- a story about being reconnected to society-- the Ghosts of christmas--
Groundhog Day is an even more profound story, very much like Beauty and the Beast-- the enchantment on Bill Murray-- he's reliving the worst day of his life-- he figures the only way to get out of it is to transform himself. Make yourself worthy and capable of love.
Rob: those are both very heartwarming stories.
When you get that chill up your spine that means something-- that's the level we should be living at every day. You give them, I call it, "a taste of paradise". That will change the direction of their lives.
Rob: heartwarming feeling I also get when I see a tragic story" which represents empathy--
The story of Anne Frank-- she died tragically-- it awakens our humanity--
On the downside, the disconnection is happening with the central characters who are creating the problem
It's the same for the downside as the upside. The anti-hero is creating the problem-- Macbeth-- we have a short upside where he defeats the thane". from here he becomes the Thane, and then the story is about his decline.
The hero on the upside goes through a psychological ordeal to reach a transformation. Most of the resistance comes from the problem
Four key elements.
you have a problem change of fortune, complication, climaxes and resolutions.
The anti hero performs an abominable act to win
the hero performs an act of sacrifice to benefit society.
MOst stories are more focused on the upside, in which yu are really focusing on the solution to the problem and you summarize the problem-- like Jaws-- a shark eating tourists-- and then you get into the upside of the story.
A Beautiful Mind-- half the story is about showing us what the problem is the other half shows how the problem is resolved.
Rob: What about Life is Beautiful
death in story and dreams doesn't mean what it does in story and real life-- can be a metaphor for repression-- people in limbo can mean they are dead but not dead.
Rob: how do stories factor into the work of people who are writing to change the world? My last interview was with a whistleblower who took his case to the supreme court and won"
examine the structures of story as they really are. Then find those patterns in yourself and that helps to inform those decisions.
You can use the model to orient to the world,
Documentaries about Edward Snowden will inspire people.
One of the most popular things in story-- in the crisis-- the thing that story is hosted interested in his how to manage crisis- everything is at stake, the odds are overwhelming, the chances of success are almost nil-- this is the metaphor of our time. This is what we're living. Time is running out. Everything is at stake, the odds are overwhelming that we're going to fix this problem.
Rob: the story doesn't end there. The hero gets through the crisis.
It's not easy to transform one's negative energy to positive energy. You have to go through the ringer to do it.
The story of Odysseus is the reconciliation with his wife Penelope.
Rob: you say "patterns hidden in great stories are incredible artifacts that have carried critical information concerning our evolutionary path through the ages. That's like ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny-- and you're saying the same thing about story?
The higher self is all about teaching us how to live together in society.
Rob: you say "The larger entity being transformed, the subject, the problem (the central event that is holding the story together,) the threat (the cause of the problem,) the central character, the complications, crisis, climax and resolution of the classical structure -- are just a few of these hidden structures.
Rob: tell us about your take on Prometheus' theft of fire and tie it to Worry. What's your take on that?
this story is revealing the nature of forethought and the nature of worry.
The eagle is a perfect metaphor of worry gnawing on your liver.
hercules goes on to rescue Prometheus for 30,000 years-- after we become smart enough-- so we have to go through the ordeal--
Rob: so Hercules comes along and rescues Prometheus-=- how is that the climax and resolution--
The thing is, whatever the journey that Hercules is on, with his twelve labors, and he does become immortal-- it's a metaphor that you go through these stages and come out as an entirely transformed human being
Rob: Or you come out as a god
and a a god is a metaphor with a very high level of consciousness.
Rob: so, with Prometheus, Hercules kills the eagle, smashes the chains that bond him. What's the story structure-- Hercules is the miraculous element.
Rob: in a sense, the story of Prometheus is the story of Groundhog's day.
epimetheus is afterthought-- prometheus is fore-thought-- To get revenge, Zeus arranges for Pandora to seduce Epimetheus into marriage. She brings along her jar of evils.
There are other similar metaphors-- a time machine lets us look into the future and the past.
Metheus is thought.
Hercules, the hydra, violence and anger
Wizard of Oz has a lot to tell us about the relationship of our conscious and creative unconscious minds
Rob: In Eros and Psyche one of the tasks Psyche has to perform for Aphrodite to recover her relationship with her estranged husband, the god Eros, is to sort a huge mound of seven different grains into separate piles.
Rob; to wrap the interview, I'll read from a quote from you "No one story contains the whole truth. The process is accumulative. Each story contributes a little bit of the vital information hidden in these great stories and bit by bit each step of the passage is revealed. The more hidden truth the story contains, the more powerful and appealing it will be, the more relevant it will be to our lives and the more likely we are to remember it. "
Storymaking is kind of the ultimate communication. Real life is a serious and deadly game. Story helps us to study life and understand what i s going on by creating make-believe. The key to really getting into it is to find the 100 stories that really mean something for you, that have really move you through your life-- to study the patterns nd then to look for those patterns in the real world-- and you will realize that we all have the built in person inside us who wrote the iliad and the great stories we can use to create great stories that have universal appeal.
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