"Not many people may know that The Writer’s Journey is strongly based on the Joseph’s work. I think every Esalen path has a Hero’s Journey.” " —Corinne Bordeau
“Esalen is a mecca for mythic transformation,” says Corinne Bordeau, co-founder of the Esalen Inspirational Film Festival, “and that is the heartbeat of the upcoming 25th anniversary celebration Chris Vogler’s book, The Writer’s Journey.”
The online event on Oct. 22 is free to the Esalen community. It includes a panel discussion led by Corinne that features Chris, Esalen Board Chair/author Jeff Kripal, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and mythology expert Will Linn.
“Our hope is that the community will experience a sense of participatory engagement with myth, film and the transformative power of myth,” Corinne says. “Esalen connections are magical and there are so many ‘Esalen’ connections with this celebration.”
One of the main connections is revered mythologist Joseph Campbell who was integral to Esalen’s core teaching more than five decades. “Not many people may know that The Writer’s Journey is strongly based on the Joseph’s work,” Corinne shares. “I think every Esalen path has a Hero’s Journey.”
In The Writer’s Journey, which is considered a "bible" for storytellers, Chris (pictured left) was able to translate Joseph’s work on the Hero’s Journey into cinematic terms. Where Joseph’s examples came primarily from myth and dream, Chris extended it into movies—from Star Wars to The Wizard of Oz. A consistently sought-after tome throughout its 25-year lifespan, The Writer’s Journey remains as timeless as the myths it evokes. The book’s anniversary edition features new examples from recent films such as The Shape of Water.
Chris, who worked at Disney as a story analyst during the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s, contributed to classic animations The Lion King. “He is steeped in story analysis and film combined with a deep understanding of Joseph's work,” Corinne adds.
So much so that Chris once wrote a memo for Disney employees about myth. That memo went "viral" at the time and Chris went on to expand his original book into a 400-page offering titled, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, which became a classic must-read in the entertainment industry. It sold more than 400,000 copies worldwide.
All of the panelists share a common bond to storytelling and Esalen.
Both Chris and William were slated to be special guests at the Esalen Inspiration Film Festival in June of 2020 and plan to lead a 2021 workshop called Psyches & Journeys.
Jeff will discuss his work on superheroes, myth and authorship, which is grounded in his work with the Center for Theory & Research workshops at Esalen.
Darren, the third panelist who directed Mother, Requiem for a Dream, Pi and Black Swan, is also no stranger to the worlds of Esalen.
“On one side, we expect a lot of storytellers at the event,” Corinne says. “And on another, we expect a very Esalen vibe.”
Learn more and sign up for the event here.