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Discussion Preparation 3 (Actors/Archetypes)



Actors (characters) are essential to many interactive environments, often playing parts in a story, representing you in the world, or simply guiding you through the experience. These actors come in many shapes and sizes, and they fulfil a variety of roles. When designing these actors, we can take inspiration from cinema. Christopher Vogler, a Hollywood veteran and teacher at the USC School of Cinema-Television, has written about successful cinematic storytelling and how a certain story structure and related character archetypes seem to stand out in classic films. He bases his analysis on research on comparative mythology, such as that of Joseph Campbell. Your goal is to gain understanding of what Vogler's archetypes are and how they might contribute to an engaging experience.

Your task

  • Read the explanation of the different Vogler Archetypes, while also relating them to the stages of a hero's journey.
  • Bring to class your analysis of a single movie (a fiction), where you map the different archetypes onto characters in the movie. For example, for the original Star Wars trilogy, you could list Luke as the “Hero”, Obi-Wan as the “Mentor”, Darth Vader as a “Threshold Guardian”, Emperor as the “Shadow”, Han Solo as the “Trickster” and Lando as the “Shapeshifter”. Don't worry if you can't possibly match all the types. Do as many as you can.
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