An old Hollywood Studio …
Story Premise. A shocking election of a non-politician to President singles a shift towards new symbols in American history. A week before the inauguration of the non-politician to the Presidency of America. Much bitter feuding between the parties during Cabinet nominee hearings.
During this time, not everything is focused on Trump Tower in New York. I keep in close touch with a key headlines from Hollywood and during this time there are the worries from various leaders in Hollywood about the new type of story that this new era will usher in. Certainly it forces a rethinking by our great storytellers that perhaps they have not been telling the people the right story?
A week before the inauguration of the new president, there is this soul-searching by Hollywood. Maybe they are out of touch with their market? Maybe this is the reason so many films are bombing today. There is that possibility and it circulated efficiently in the rarified air of Hollywood studio executives. The words “new type of stories” were discussed over lunches at places all over town. I had to pour one guy into an Uber in Santa Monica one night.
I know about what I tell you here. I’m one of them. One of those curious screenwriters in town they are not sure about. Winner of a number of festivals and writer of a few films in the horror genre, I was listening to their concerns about this whole thing of “new story” that the new president might issue in. Was I thinking of new stories? About new characters? They knew of my status in the community of symbology.
There was no doubt in my part that a new symbol had emerged with this new president. Just as I had predicted in predicting the grand symbol movement of this time in writings on our site. And there was no doubt that I was going to keep this whole thing to myself.
For I knew one thing that they did not know.
They looked at what was in the stories.
I looked for the structure of the stories rather than the “what” of various genres.
At the time I was putting this into a particular plot for a story.
When this was finished, it seemed important I tackle this important topic first as perhaps a type of accompaniment to the story. Or, perhaps is the story?
The Old Beacon Studios …
The city has a particular relationship to me since I was born in Santa Monica and lived in Beverly HiIls and had parents who had famous film people as friends. On Halloween, my mother would have us ring Lucille Ball’s door while she hid in the bushes. But we moved back to Ohio when I was nine and my life has been a bouncing back and forth thing between California and Ohio. What a combination. The real heart of America’s Midwest. And the heart of liberal America.
There’s material in this real story but for now I have the idea for a new type of film structure to move in to match the symbol of this new era. Of course it will move in through internal (power of the unconsciousness) even if we do nothing.
It adds to the story to tell you that I’ve been hired as a screenwriter working on a new type of screenplay for this old Hollywood studio called Beacon. The story has taken on a particular life of its own (as all storytellers know) and often develops outside the author’s gaze.
He/She who runs this studio in Hollywood fights following and not following his/her grandfather/grandmother, the great studio that they had created and passed onto them, not in some dead will but through examples in their lives. The studio and was one of the key studios during the silent film era.
Yes it was an interesting time. The city full of this “what is a new story” mania and everyone looking in the wrong direction it seemed to me. All looking at what was inside films and their stories. I think I was one of the few looking at what was outside films. Outside these traditional storytelling methods and techniques
A town high in the Swiss Alps …
In all of this, you have to add that there was an annual meeting of the leaders of the world high up in the Swiss Alps in a little ski town. There was international worry reported in the news. The new President seemed to be the symbol of some great nationalistic movement in opposition to globalism.
Interestingly, China was taking the lead at the exclusive world conference and at the same time attempting to take over the American film industry.
My Hollywood studio friends were all worried. Did they now have to create stories for the Chinese mainly and not America? But the question of “what is a story?” continued to swirl around and envelope the Chinese story. Perhaps Hollywood was genuinely self-reflective. But reflection to Hollywood means that Greek God staring at his reflection in the pond.
I realize that grand symbols of the world might be shifting right now. The appearance of that grand symbol of China, its President, in the little ski resort means much, but symbolizes even more.
China now grabs the torch of globalism in a bug PR coup. It now holds the mantle for globalism as America and Europe appear to be forming a new world nationalism in opposition to the movement towards globalism many have been pushing us towards in recent years.
Musso & Franks
At Musso & Franks on Hollywood Boulevard one night, my good friend a top Hollywood writer asked me what I was working on right now. I was being really secretive about things. And over just the little candle on the table, things could be secretive and noir and all.
She was gorgeous. If anyone, I would tell her. I’d date her if she wasn’t involved with someone else. I was silent. She went on about a sense of fear coming over her career in the arts with the new president being inaugurated. It was as if inauguration was the official passing of one symbol to another great symbol. One opposition symbol passing power to its opposition symbol. She feared this new symbol. I could see honest fear in her eyes.
We drank too late into that night. Until it was the next day.
We drank much too late into that night. Until it was the next day. One of those red booths in Musso & Franks with two figures in conversation over a bottle of wine. Another night out in my screenwriting networking activities I hated most of the time. But with her it was different. Only she was an incredible screenwriter herself. In fact, she was the only one out here in Hollywood I have eve felt up against.
At around eight in the morning I drove her home and helped her up her stairs and into her her door and said goodnight to her.
I thought about things on my drive back to my condo down in Venice that night.
All of this is Backstory as they say in the business.
Outwardly, a story about an old studio fighting to bring back old values to stories and films in the middle of a Hollywood buyout from China that turns studios into Global story concerns rather than nationalistic stories.
But it was not really about stories in Hollywood.
It was about structure of stories.
The New Challenger for Story Structure …
As usual, the controlling forces of culture and society are like magicians using their tricks of distraction. They have everyone in this city right now, that is Los Angeles and that area called Hollywood within LA, everyone chasing after types of stories when the great revolution will be in the new structure of how stories are told.
It will be based on the psychology of Carl Jung and Jung’s master student and apprentice Eric Neumann and goes against in many ways the mythology of Joseph Campbell.
The current structure of Hollywood screenplays is in a state of rebellion. I’ve taken enough courses and seminars and read enough books to know. Various gurus fight in Hollywood for a particular number of steps within a Hollywood sequence through drama and ownership of some new screenplay writing “secret” form.
One needs to replace the structure of Campbells’ Hero With A Thousand Faces with Neumann’s The Origins and History of Consciousness. Campbell proposes the heroic journal of going to someplace new and coming back. Neumann though says that the history of the consciousness of civilization is played out in the life of an individual. There is no return in the Neumann system. Just the cycle of a life in psychic terms.
Joseph Cambell’s Dominating Symbol of Story Structure
The Neumann model is exactly what is missing in screenwriting structure. The Campbell journey of the hero is essentially different from the Neumann journey of the hero through life.
That’s why I want to write about new screenplay structure based on a Neumann model, using Jungian symbolism as the basis for creating the voyage of the Hero or Heroine through a story.
The journey proposed by Neumann’s Hero has far more dramatic power than that proposed by the traditional Campbell (or Freudian) Hero.
I start this with this new story structure in mind. The Neumann structure that is different from all the other screenwriting theories.
The story begins to grow by itself. The very growth of a story has a large correspondence to keeping the Hero.Heroine in alignment with these stages within the Neumann system. At the same time I think about a new type of story structure, I work on a story to fit into this new structure. I play with the images above and try to fit them into some new type of story.
Perhaps the real point is that the Neumann system allows in a true revolution in story dynamics. Based on the rise of a new symbol.
Those who fought this rise were fighting more a cycle of nature as a particular person.
An old cycle (and symbol) was retiring from its domination of a period of time. A new symbol was rising.
No matter what your politics are, I don’t think it’s hard to understand these massive changes are about our world.
It’s the time of a growth of new symbols in the world. As well as new ways to structure stories. A time frame and structure that makes stories about beginnings and endings and new beginnings. Unlike the stories of Campbell’s Hero book. Inside my mind, I seemed to have the idea for a new type of screenwriting book based on the Neumann/Jungian symbolism of the movement of symbols. Again, in sharp contrast to the pattern expressed in the Campbell journey cycle.
It’s a few days before the transfer of power (I like to call it) of the new president and Hollywood going absolutely crazy.
We’re going ot continue development of our story based on the understanding of Erich Neumann of these stages.
Stories are given a new and powerful dynamics and this dynamics is created from the play of opposition symbols at the start and the end of the Neumann type of story structure.
I ponder all of this back in this cottage I’m renting off a big estate up in the Hollywood Hills.
Her Interesting Old Italianate Place in the Hollywood Hills
I sit out by the pool tonight. Behind her interesting old Italianate place.
It’s owned by Betsy Armholt. Yes, the same Betsy Arnholt that’s been plastered all over the news these past few months.
Yes, the same Betsy Armholt in the photo I took (above) on that morning after we spent the night closing down Musso & Franks on Hollywood Boulevard.
Betsy is the granddaughter of the founder of Beacon Studios.
I met her while taking one of those thousand dollar a weekend screenwriting courses they give all the time out here. I never knew she was Hollywood royalty.
But we started meeting for coffee and then lunch and then dinner. Somehow the end of my lease on my condo out in Santa Monica came up and she invited me to rent the back cottage of her home.
So my cottage looked at the big main house in somewhat of the same image I saw when I envisioned Nick in The Great Gatsby.
Only this story was perhaps going to be a modern day Gatsby. Set not back East but in Los Angeles.
Tonight I looked out over another great sea of life … Los Angeles at night seen from the Hollywood Hills.
They were gone for a few days and I had the run of the place. I walked up to the pool area of the big home.
I think I felt somewhat like Nick might have felt in the Gatsby looking out over that body of water his cottage below Gatsby’s was on.
Tonight I looked out over another great sea of life … Los Angeles at night seen from the Hollywood Hills.
Erich Neumann’s masterpiece must find its way into the world of storytelling. This is a task of revival more than anything else as the book is very accessible.
It was a good time to to put Neumann’s ideas into screenplay structure.
But this didn’t mean that outside events were becoming more and more agitated as the days to the changeover day came closer and closer. The grand symbol shrinks in these few days as the new symbol gets larger and larger until it becomes like a new moon in the sky.
Off in the distance of the landscape above, with my binoculars, I could see the fires they’re talking about down in the Watts area. They appear in the upper left horizon of the photo with the orangish glow in the distance.
There is talk of riots this Friday.
People have been stocking up at the groceries around town. I could see it at the Whole Foods down the hill. There has been talk of riots out here in LA.
No one knew for sure what major groups would be in the riots. A number of groups were laying claim to the creation of the riots. Their spokespeople are on the radio and cable news all day. Talking about their particular cause and reason for the anarchy and chaos they advocate. I saw earlier on the television, reports coming from this area a few hours earlier.
What’s going to happen day after tomorrow?
Nothing is written in stone.
Particularly the path this man has trod to become president of the nation.
Perhaps the story will be about the rise of a new symbol in America.
A change of this magnitude always represents a major change in symbols. It is really a non-linear movement of culture and society because an opposition symbol replaces its opposite in power. Seldom, perhaps never, has this occurred in American politics. This is why this phenomena needs to be studied by symbologists as our times represent the change of great symbols. The change into the new symbol brings with it the possibility of the change of story structure.
(Continued in later posts … a key chart from the screenwriting book I’m working on based on The Origins and History of Consciousness. Interview about the key stages of the Neumann system.)