Luke Skywalker's story is one of the most successful of all time. If any movie ever had the It Factor, Star Wars was It! With just a story about a boy from a little planet of sand, George Lucas built an empire (no pun intended!).
The Star Wars story captured imaginations so well, Lucasfilm sold countless spin-off products. And it kept growing until Lucas was able to sell it for several Billion dollars. Imagine paying Billions just for a story!
Lucas's story wasn't created in a fit of inspiration. He carefully crafted it. He followed a secret formula.
Ironically, he's made no secret of the secret formula. He's several times credited a book called "The Hero with a Thousand Faces' by Joseph Campbell as the source of his wisdom.
Campbell's book outlines a string of common elements running thru the world's most famous stories. From Homer's Odyssey to Prometheus, the Vedic Hindu texts to Noah's Arc, even Cinderella and Gone with the Wind all follow this same formula.
Pick your favorite character of all time. Whether its Odysseus, Cinderella, Harry Potter, or Jerry Maguire, we can see these elements in their tale. What Campbell discovered has, with Lucas's help, become Hollywood Gospel. You might even now call it the Hollywood Formula.
ACT I: The hero begins their story flawed and somehow stuck in an inadequate life. Suddenly, an unexpected turn of events tosses the character into a new adventure, with experiences they're not sure how to handle.
ACT II: A mentor or spiritual guide helps the hero find deeper meaning in these new challenges. A series of trials test the hero's ability. We see them grow as they're forced to learn new skills.
ACT III: The hero makes great progress, but as the challenges stack up, they can't keep up. All appears lost. Just as things seem hopeless and ready to crash upon them, somehow they manage to beat the odds in a way that liberates them from the problems forever.
Hollywood's Formula has generated trillions in ticket sales. A Disney consultant has even re-written the formula in a less academic book called "The Writer's Journey".
What's this got to do with us? We don't write screenplays - at least most of us don't! ;).
But we do have our own story, and we'd like it to be big! Is there a way we can give our story the same It Factor that helped Star Wars blow up the box office?
Keep in mind, we're going to need a slightly different formula. Hollywood is in the business of selling stories. We need to sell our companies and our selves. Hollywood sells the story itself. We have to actually sell something more.
And we don't have the same freedom found in fiction. Your business lives in a real world, with facts, figures and real events in history. But this reality, and the power to put reality on your side is exactly why you have the power to become even bigger than Hollywood. A fiction can never compete with the walking, thinking, flesh and blood miracle that is the real you.