April 21, 2018

Understanding Dan Harmon's Story Circle Through the Lens of 'The Dark Knight'

Even an ostensibly complex story like “The Dark Knight” follows the simple curve of the Story Circle.

Story structure can be a difficult beast to tame, namely because it’s hard to know which structure is “best.” In one ear, screenwriting gurus are telling you to follow one of a million storytelling formulas and in the other ear, naysayers are telling you to ditch formulas all together and ride your story bareback through the wilderness of unblemished narrative freedom.

The short answer: do whatever you want. Personally, I like a story structure that is easy for me to navigate so I don’t get lost when adding all of the necessary elements and one that I’ve come across that has sated my craving for simplicity is Dan Harmon’s Story Circle, which is basically a simplified version of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth.

How simple is it? Well, in this video, StudioBinder broke down Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight to reveal how a seemingly complex plot can actually adhere to the “rules” of Harmon’s uncomplicated 8-step story structure template. Check it out below:

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Source: NoFilmSchool