Arts Entrepreneurship and the Hero’s Adventure

Volume 1, Number 1, 2015

JAMES D. HART
SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY


To both address the “starving artist” stereotype and develop a working curricular model  for the arts entrepreneurship classroom, conventional thinking suggests that “arts technique alone is not enough” and the “incorporation of entrepreneurial techniques is necessary.” However, these traditional training modalities alone lack a means whereby artists can mentally, emotionally and otherwise understand the experience of active arts entrepreneuring. This article examines the Hero Journey Structure in three modalities and offers a framework to connect the Structure to the act both theoretically and in the classroom.


 “Acting as the ideology of business avant-gardism, the entrepreneurial myth has become the context within which conventional wisdom about entrepreneurship has been influenced.” [1]

The hero journey is a process of departure, initiation and return. At the beginning of the tale, a void is created and it becomes the job of the hero to fill the void, which can manifest in any number of forms: emotional, communal or otherwise. For the hero, the adventure is a going into the unknown, adapting to the demands of change and facing one’s own fears and doubts.[2] The Hero Journey Structure (HJS) is a key to the vastness of myth itself, which many modern audiences associate with the popular “The Power of Myth” series on PBS featuring Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers. However, the HJS framework is not Campbell’s as he simply articulated a universal present in many mythological constructs.[3] It is a structure possessing broad application—from bettering one’s ability to communicate a story, such as a pitch, to providing an arts entrepreneur a lens (or framework) to navigate unknown market waters. Ultimately, the structure teaches how to develop self–assurance and courage as the journey is ultimately one of self-discovery. As more programs incorporate such tools into arts entrepreneurship curricula, educators can help emerging arts entrepreneurs heroically structure their lives, ventures and entrepreneurial actions.

Merits of the Hero Journey Structure

For arts entrepreneurs, the HJS provide a lens where one can view the challenges encountered when building a business: acquiring funding, creating a functioning business model, designing revenue streams and/or allying with a board of directors, etc. The HJS teaches how to “stay in the game”—a necessary skill in order to “win.” Like any entrepreneur, the arts entrepreneur builds social and economic micro-cultures and employs participants who look to the entrepreneur to “make it all work” for the sake of continued employment and venture sustainability. Such challenges partially embody the heavy responsibility of leadership.

A roadmap of sorts is offered with the hero journey, replete with its paradoxical fluidity and seemingly intangible map. Ries suggests that “…startups are designed to confront situations of extreme uncertainty” and in the HJS, we find a useful map or “tool” to address these challenges.[4] It is the hero’s duty to carve a path of their own, with their lived storylines best understood in retrospect.[5] Perhaps best articulated by Morong, “Heroes and entrepreneurs are called to and take part in the greatest and most universal adventure that life has to offer: the simultaneous journey of self-discovery, spiritual growth, and the personal creativity they make possible.”[6] Thus, heroes do not pursue profits and profits alone, for theirs is an inherent act of service though personal heroism.[7] It has been the author’s experience that in the act of service, one can become necessary. Through the act of entrepreneurial service, jobs and culture are created, cash flows, needs are fulfilled, impact is realized and economies are stimulated.

What are Heroes?

For purposes of this article, a hero is defined as one who is willing to sacrifice their own desires or interests in service of another or others: Indeed, “They believe a better world is possible and are willing to surmount incredible odds to achieve it.”[8] Hero’s may serve a meaning or passion, a desire, an audience, a customer base or donor. Critically, the key is in serving something larger than themselves in the context of their humanity. Again Morong’s work provides guidance: “The entrepreneur, however, is seen as a hero, not a saint. The adventure involves both creation and destruction. Negative aspects of the entrepreneurship such as business failure and job destruction are just as real as the positive aspects.”[9]

There are types of heroes (firefighters, for example) who purposefully and intentionally set out to adventure in heroic action. Other heroes suddenly find themselves unwittingly in a heroic act—like the stranger who pushes a child out of the way of the moving car, only to subject their own body to a speedy blow. Sometimes, heroes do not know that they play such a role and may never stop to even think about their actions. A parallel can be found in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in the character of Malvolio as he says, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” (2.5.145–46)

Almost collectively—given the seemingly universal appearance of myth and story—we recognize heroism. Further, we appear so fascinated and attracted to heroic stories that we consume them regularly through film and novels: heroes overcoming obstacles and achieving self-efficacy, becoming initiated through hardship and returning to serve another or others. We have lived with, and been fascinated by stories of heroes (both large and small) in every culture of the world, perhaps forever. [10]

Carl Jung, the renowned Swiss psychoanalyst, theorized a “collective unconscious” that may explain this fascination:

“The collective unconscious – so far as we can say anything about it at all–appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious.”[11]

For Jung, the collective unconscious unites all persons.

“The psychologist who has best dealt with these, best described and interpreted them, is Carl G. Jung, who terms them ‘archetypes of the collective unconscious,’ as pertaining to those structures of the psyche that are not the products of merely individual experience but are common to all mankind. In this view, the basal depth or layer of the psyche is an expression of the instinct system of our species, grounded in the human body, its nervous system and wonderful brain.”[12]

Hayman clarifies, stating that “He (Jung) defines archetypal images as those with an archaic or primordial character, corresponding to familiar mythological motifs.”[13]

EVOLVING STRUCTURES

The hero journey structure (as a storytelling or other literary technique) is akin to other techniques used in arts practice—it can vary and adapt. Stanislavski Technique, well known in theatrical training is an apt example.[14] Variants include Uta Hagen’s technique, Meisner technique, Stella Adler’s technique and Earle Gister’s method among others.[15] The same holds true for Campbell’s HJS. Christopher Vogler’s popular book is used by many screenplay writers to understand mythic structure in storytelling and includes a variant of Campbell’s original HJS.[16] Chart 1 compares Campbell’s original HJS with Vogler’s adaptation and is used to illustrate how the HJS (and its adaptations) are paralleled by arts entrepreneurs.[17] The reader is reminded that the Stanislavski variations possess the same underlying principles of the original technique.

 

The Hero with a Thousand Faces,
(Campbell’s original) HJS)
Vogler’s HJS variation: Arts Entrepreneurship Parallel:
World of Common Day Ordinary World Pre-vision
Call to Adventure Call to Adventure Vision
Refusal of the Call Refusal of the Call Saying “No”
Supernatural Aid Meeting the Mentor Mentorship
Crossing the first ThresholdBelly of the Whale Crossing the first Threshold Decision to Action
Road of Trials Tests, Allies & Enemies Challenges, Collaborators, Competition
Approach to the Inmost Cave Prepping to Launch
Meeting with the GoddessWoman as TemptressAtonement with the FatherApotheosis Ordeal Startup to Launch
The Ultimate Boon Reward Customers
Refusal of the ReturnThe Magic FlightRescue from WithinCrossing the Threshold The Road Back Product Adjustment
Return Resurrection Re-branding
Master of the Two WorldsFreedom to Live Return with the Elixir Need Fulfillment as an Elixir

 

Chart 1[18]

The Parallel

There are many parallels between the HJS, Vogler’s variation and how the HJS manifests and an entrepreneur’s typical experience in an arts context. Chart 1 compares the three. To further illustrate and better articulate the parallel, I provide a side-by-side narrative comparison using both an interview with an arts entrepreneur and selections from Hamlet. By using this more direct narrative presentation, the reader can better parse the individual aspects of the HJS and how they manifest entrepreneurially. The narrative is structured as follows:

  1. describes Vogler’s structure inspired by Campbell
  2. illustrates the arts entrepreneurship parallel
  3. provides the comparable storyline structure from the play Hamlet
  4. offers a brief “case study” of former student at The International Theatre Academy Norway[19]

 

Ordinary World / Pre-Vision

  1. Ordinary World

The Ordinary World for the hero is that world existing prior to the Call to Adventure. It is the world the prospective hero knows as their “everyday,” where they encounter the same stimuli and even the same people at the same time of day. This is their “ordinary world”— but then something extra-ordinary occurs. A void is created or a need becomes apparent and can appear in any number of forms. It might be a need within one’s community or could be a personal void the hero encounters, such as emotional, financial or meaning based. The duty of the hero then becomes simply, to fill the void.

  1. Pre-Vision

For the arts entrepreneur, the ordinary world represents Pre-Vision, which is the stage prior to having a creative vision for an entrepreneurial endeavor. The arts entrepreneur can identify this stage in retrospect, as they look back upon their adventures and identify their respective timelines.

iii.    Hamlet’s Ordinary World

The ordinary world for Hamlet is two-fold: Wittenberg, where he has been studying with dear friend Horatio and the castle Elsinore in Denmark. Hamlet returned to Elsinore (as Prince) due to the death of his father, followed by the marriage of his mother to his uncle—and now king—Claudius.

  1. Case Study Ordinary World

MR: My ordinary world was just being a big fish in a small pond and not really taking any risks creatively or artistically. It was very easy. I went to a small college in Nebraska, where I was born and raised. And it was very easy for talent to just be enough and not really working too terribly hard and just letting laud and praise be enough for telling you, “OK, you’ve done enough, you’ve succeeded,” and not really taking any risks, so to speak, or expanding my paradigms at all. And so it was just very much the same type of thing where, you know, if there’s auditions for another show in that small community then if want to do it, I do it, I get the part I want and I do it, and then that’s enough for me. I guess the ordinary world was never really accepting any challenges that the outside world came to offer me at all. Not taking any risks where I’d always wanted to be a published playwright, but hadn’t really written much in college or after that, really.

 

Call to Adventure / Vision

  1. Call to Adventure

At some point, the prospective hero is presented with a “call to adventure.” This call is delivered by an archetype called a “herald.” The herald’s function, mythically speaking, is to bring an underlying potential into the conscious awareness of the prospective hero. It is as though the herald’s arrival says, “Wake up! It’s time to go into the unknown.”

  1. Vision

Creative vision or opportunity serves as the prospective artist entrepreneur’s call to adventure. It may come as a result of much effort on the entrepreneur’s part in an attempt to find inspiration, or could arrive quickly and unexpectedly. Additionally, it may come in the form of “vision” or opportunity recognition. Vision might be explained as the moment that the arts entrepreneur finds inspiration, a calling, a picture in their mind’s eye of what could be; it brings into focus a picture or sense of potential for the artist entrepreneur, should they say, “Yes.”

iii.    Hamlet’s Call to Adventure

King Hamlet (Hamlet’s recently deceased father) appears to Hamlet and friend Horatio as a ghost who tells of how he was recently murdered by his brother Claudius (Hamlet’s uncle), thus usurping the throne from Hamlet. This creates the void in the play. The call to adventure comes with the ghost of King Hamlet saying:

GHOST: If thou didst ever thy dear father love–

HAMLET: O God!

Ghost: Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder. (1.5.23-25)[20]

  1. Case Study Call to Adventure

MR: My call to adventure came when I was looking at graduation from college in the face. I had no idea what I wanted to do and I didn’t know where I wanted to go. And my theatre director in college told me, “Well, you’re talented enough to pursue this more if you really wanted to work hard.” So I started researching places that I could audition for, for some further education.. I clicked on a Facebook ad, liked what I saw, I submitted an audition over YouTube. A little while later, the director called me to interview me a little bit and then he congratulated me on getting accepted into his program. And then, I guess maybe a month later, he called me back and said, “My mother’s school is in Oslo, Norway and I want to present you with a challenge and the opportunity of going out there in a couple of months and spending at least a semester studying abroad there and exploring what that experience would be like.”. I had never lived outside of the country before, only traveled internationally twice. And I certainly was not initially planning on graduation that I would move to another country for an extended period of time. That was definitely my call for adventure

 

Refusal of the Call / Saying, “No”

  1. Refusal of the Call

The prospective hero typically says “No” to the adventure; first refusing and rationalizing reasons for non-commitment, which might include not being interested in the opportunity presented or vision experienced. Any number of reasons can arise in the mind of prospective, such as not being fit for the opportunity or inexperience, yet in the end they accept.

  1. Saying, “No”

Whether through overcoming fears, training culture or personal doubts, in the end, the developing artist entrepreneur decides to accept the call to adventure. However, should the artist entrepreneur continue to refuse such a call, the door of opportunity closes and its potential is left unrealized by the would-be hero, as opportunity may not return. Campbell offers this encouragement to accept such adventure, saying, “I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”[21]

iii.    Hamlet’s Refusal of the Call

Hamlet refuses the call to adventure throughout most of the tale. This is exemplified by Hamlet not killing Claudius. He has opportunity, but does not want to send Claudius’ soul to heaven by murdering Claudius as he is absolving his sins (in the excerpt below). This is a clear example of opportunity denial and a distraction from the goal of avenging his father’s death.

Hamlet: Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;

And now I’ll do’t.

And so he goes to heaven; (3.3.73–75)

And later, when approaching his inmost cave—what Campbell describes as being in the “belly of the whale”—the crown prince asks of himself whether to live or die: “To be or not to be?” (3.4.89) The only reason for living, he concludes, is the fear of something after death.

Who would fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns, puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than to fly to others that we know not of? (3.1.76–82)

                In the bedroom scene, his initial efforts into action are blundered as he kills Polonius by accident and thus contributes towards Ophelia going mad and, thus, enraging her brother Laertes. Rather than on a continued path towards killing Claudius, Hamlet aggressively engages with his mother (Queen Gertrude) as she laments to Hamlet, “Thou hast turn’st my eyes into my very soul…” (3.4.89) This leads to the reappearance of the Ghost of King Hamlet, telling Hamlet:

Do not forget. This visitation

Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose. (3.4.112)

In aggregate, we do not have a clear picture of a hero saying, “Yes,” until the end of the tragedy. But in the end, he accepts the call.

  1. Case Study Refusal of the Call

MR: I was seriously involved with the woman that eventually became my wife and my parents also had always been very close to me and I never lived very far away from them. And I was so sure that they were going to tell me, “No, don’t do this. This is too much for you to take on,” that I just suppressed it for a little bit. I didn’t say anything to anybody. And just had kind of made up my mind, I wasn’t going to do it because there’s no way I was going to be good enough because I’m from a small town in the Midwest and culture was telling me that I’m not talented enough and I knew for sure that my loved ones were going to tell me that I was ludicrous for thinking about doing this at all. I definitely refused it [the call] for a couple of weeks.

 

Meeting with the Mentor / Mentorship

  1. Meeting with the Mentor

A mentor figure, as typically presented in folktales and movies, is often depicted as a wise old man with a beard, such as in Star Wars with Ben Kenobi, Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. But a mentor can come in any form, sex, personage or figure. Mentors represent figures who know more than the hero and can advance the cause of filling their gap or void by equipping them with knowledge, skills and special tools through a mentoring relationship. In Star Wars, Obi Won gifts Luke Skywalker a light saber, which he uses as he develops into a Jedi and enacts great good, creating significant impact for the rebel forces he comes to serve. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry is gifted an invisible cloak, which was once his father’s; it was gifted by his old bearded headmaster Dumbledore. Robert Bly opines that “In ordinary life, a mentor can guide a young man through various disciplines, helping to bring him out of boyhood into manhood.”[22]Thus, the function of this archetype is to better equip our hero, to prepare them for the rigors and challenges that lay in store in the yet unknown chapters of their adventure.

  1. Mentorship

No arts entrepreneur creates his or her entity alone.[23] Mentors can be found all around us if we are humble enough to ask and receive their guidance and wisdom. Mentors provide information and tools that enable the arts entrepreneur to better their chances of filling the void they perceive at the beginning of their process.

iii.    Hamlet’s Mentor

The Ghost of King Hamlet serves as Hamlet’s mentor figure. According to Campbell, the mentor gives the hero a psychological center.[24] King Hamlet’s ghost does so by telling Hamlet what has transpired and encouraging him to take action to kill Claudius. In multiple scenes, we see Hamlet’s father’s ghost guiding the prince, insisting that Hamlet leave his mother alone and kill Claudius. Evidence is seen of this mentor relationship when Hamlet responds to his father, telling him to listen, with Hamlet responding, “Speak, I am bound to hear.” (1.5.6) Moreover, one can assume an offstage mentorship between the previously living King Hamlet and his crown prince son, Hamlet.

  1. Case Study Meeting with the Mentor

MR: I did encounter some mentor figures. The one person I did tell was my theatre director in college and he kept pushing me to do it. He said, “… you’re not going to grow until you are in situation where you are with people that are better than you. And you are not going to grow and hone your craft until you get teachers that are better than me and teachers that are more than me.” And between that and having a very inspirational conversation with [the school’s director] over the phone about his program, that convinced me as far as the mentorship side of the hero journey. That was where I received that portion of getting—I don’t know—getting pushed off of the fence, so to speak.

 

Crossing the First Threshold / Decision to Action

  1. Crossing the First Threshold

To cross a threshold is to pass from one region to another; it is a changing of environments. In the United States, a groom sometimes carries a bride over the threshold of their home following marriage. A modern interpretation can suggest exiting one world (perhaps living apart as individuals) and entering a new world (living together as a married couple). In the hero journey, this denotes the moment the hero crosses from decision to action—from the ordinary world to a new one. One also commonly finds threshold guardians, i.e., those figures that prevent a hero from experiencing (and/or succeeding at) the adventure.

  1. Decision to Action

When an arts entrepreneur decides and says “Yes” to the adventure before them, (making a vision into a reality) equivocation is eliminated. Taking the first steps towards finding collaborators, fundraising, creating an venture plan or amassing resources is when one enters the realm of adventure (has said “Yes”). Once crossing from their ordinary world—that world prior to vision—an arts entrepreneur enters the new, special world of the market, which is much like a forest, a common symbol and setting in adventure literature. Forests (like markets) can be dangerous and even at times ferocious, but can also hold treasures.

iii.        Hamlet’s Threshold Crossing

Hamlet’s first moment of considerable action towards avenging his father’s death comes when he accidentally kills Polonius, thinking it to be King Claudius. Instantly, Hamlet crosses the threshold from merely musing about the “call” into acting on the “call.” This act is one of the two primary reasons for Ophelia crossing her own threshold towards madness: first, her love of Hamlet is forbidden, as she is not a royal, and second is the death of her father at the hands of her love. Killing Polonius thrusts Hamlet into a special world, which in the play denotes a story turn: the pre-killing of Polonius and post killing. In this new, special world, Hamlet’s life is actively sought by the shadow figure King Claudius, as he seeks to secure his usurpation of Hamlet’s place upon the throne.

  1. Case Study Crossing the First Threshold

MR: Well definitely moving to Norway. I think crossing of the threshold is moving to a different country. Diving into a different culture where everyone is speaking a different language and learning a new governmental style and new educational style. And going into the conservatory lifestyle. I had been a product of public education and then gone to a private liberal arts college in the middle of Nebraska. That’s completely different than going into a conservatory setting where you are completely focused on honing your craft in one particular area, as well as doing that in the structure and context of a completely different country.

 

Tests, Allies and Enemies / Challenges, Collaborators and Competition

  1. Tests, Allies and Enemies

The hero encounters trials and tribulations in their adventures and comes to know allies and enemies. Much like Newton’s third law, the hero experiences trials and tribulations because of the “pushback” he/she receives as a result of having entered and engaged the special world of adventure.

  1. Challenges, Collaborators and Competition

Just as heroes encounter fellow travelers on their adventures, arts entrepreneurs gather contacts through networking. Entrepreneurially speaking, “allies” can be viewed as our network and “enemies” as competition. It is important to note that “enemies” need not be thought of in a negative context. Competition can serve as a motivating factor, one that can encourage innovation and betterment for consumers and audiences.

iii.    Hamlet’s Tests, Allies and Enemies

Prince Hamlet does not have many allies. He finds his best ally and friend in Horatio. Describing enemies for Hamlet, one finds many, chief of which is his uncle, King Claudius. The usurping king embroils numerous others to conspire with him, including Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and later Laertes. Hamlet’s tests involve evading certain death in England and persevering, despite the King’s efforts to kill him. He wrestles with the passing of his love, Ophelia, and his mind struggles with whether to live or die with, “To be or not to be.”[25]

  1. Case Study Tests, Allies and Enemies

JH: Did you encounter any tests, allies or enemies in the process?

MR: Yes. So ironically at TITAN, The International Academy of Norway, when I first got there, there was an educator who I thought I was going to hate. I wasn’t really connecting with his passion at all. And I wasn’t internalizing the challenges that he was throwing my way as a challenge. I was internalizing them as, “He’s picking on me because I’m the American student.” And throughout a little bit of arguing, a little bit of public debate in class that probably wasn’t very respectful, and throughout the experience of actually completing the challenging work that he was presenting me with, I realized that not only was he challenging me to grow farther than I thought I could grow, he also became the biggest mentor to me in my experience there. So I think there’s something to be said about realizing…. You have to cognitively realize beforehand that there is going to be adversity that hits you. Some of it will be self-inflicted, some of it will be from outside. But if you’re not experiencing the adversity, then you’re not being challenged and you’re not going to grow.

JH: Did you meet any allies?

MR: Definitely met allies. It was wonderful t to build friendships with people at the school itself. If you’re not familiar with the conservatory lifestyle, especially in the performing arts realm, you’re in school eight or nine hours a day with these people and then you’re in rehearsals afterwards with these people. And so you can’t help but build relationships with people there in order to thrive and for your work to be successful.

JH: What about enemies?

MR: Oh, man. I definitely made some enemies there. I’m a very passionate individual and I’m very quick to share my opinion. So, I alienated a few students…

Approach to the Inmost Cave / Prepping to Launch

  1. Approach to the Inmost Cave

At this stage, heroes are further challenged and are figuratively “in the wilderness.” This is the stage in the HJS where the hero approaches the heart of the new world. It can be a stressful time, as one may be wrestling with their fears and doubts prior to market launch. Campbell offers a structural heading he calls, “The belly of the whale.” This stage is, symbolically or literally, a time of darkness where there appears to be no light and the hero is being devoured by their environment. But ultimately, those heroes that survive this stage re-emerge as something different—changed by the experience, transformed and more able to fill the void.

  1. Prepping to Launch

From an entrepreneur’s perspective, this moment represents the preparation prior to a venture’s launch, where there is typically a flurry of activity, planning and efforts exerted. It is time to prepare for the unknown and muse about what lies in store with the launch of one’s vision. This can be a highly stressful period as the entrepreneur comes face to face with the realities of the risks they assume in addition to their own fears.

iii.    Hamlet’s Approach to the Inmost Cave

The “mousetrap” or “player” scene, found in act III, scene II, represents the stage of the “Approach to the Inmost Cave.” Hamlet seeks to trap the mouse (his uncle) by gaining proof of his guilt through the re-enacting of the murder scene, as described by the Ghost. We see this exemplified as Hamlet says:

“I’ll have grounds.

More relative than this. The play’s the thing

Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King. (2.2.599–601)”

  1. Case Study Approach to the Inmost Cave

MR: After I had written something that I was really proud of, and I thought maybe it was going to be good enough to be published, my wife had to talk me out of throwing it away before I showed it to anybody.. So, a lot of the anxiety that came before stepping up to the challenge to slay my dragon was just from the standpoint of, “Do I really have the fortitude and the guts to have a thick skin if people tell me my work sucks? And do I have the guts to even send my work out there to have people look at it?” Because up until this point I had never really had too many people tell me that what I was doing wasn’t good enough or it wasn’t good at all. And it’s a very harsh reality when you’ve created this baby and you need, in order for it to get to the next step, you need somebody else to say, “I think it’s OK.” That’s a very vulnerable position to be in at the very first time.

 

 

Ordeal / Startup to Launch

  1. Ordeal / Startup to Launch

As the hero grows near to achieving their goal, yet another challenge presents itself, which is far greater in scale than all of the previous challenges. This requires that the hero utilize their full range of acquired abilities, skills and strengths as they will be pushed to the limits of their talents. It is at this moment, that they face their “dragon.” It is here that the hero is either overcome or they overcome. Engaging the “dragon,” one comes to face their fears and doubts. In doing so, they face an extrinsic manifestation of an intrinsic realization.

  1. Startup to Launch

For the arts entrepreneur, the entire process from startup to launch is “The Ordeal.” The arts entrepreneur is likely fighting their “dragon” as they encounter numerous obstacles throughout the process. Funding sources can dry up, collaborations can fall apart , etc., that dampen the entrepreneur’s efforts and threaten the stability and viability of the venture.

By killing one’s “dragon,” the arts entrepreneur acts through their fears and doubts. Doing so, they can act out of their own desires and interests, rather than what they think they “should do” based on social morals, which enables an artist’s potential to find their unique creative voice. In doing so, they come to know their audience, company and customers. When the “dragon” is slain, the hero has an opportunity to claim the elixir (the treasure that will fill whatever void is expressed in the story).

For the arts entrepreneur, the elixir might represent a community need addressed or met. It could mean profitability and the securing of jobs created for those assisting in the adventure. Artistically speaking, it could represent a graphic artist contracting with a large client or a visual artist having a successful gallery opening. For a self-publishing author, it could represent a milestone in sales.

In hero literature, the elixir can mean or symbolize many things, but ultimately, the treasure of one’s hero journey is a deepening self-awareness.[26] The demands that arts entrepreneurship places upon the entrepreneurs themselves are so great that they typically undergoes a transformation in the process from vision to profitability and sustainability—they change as their concept and business emerges.

iii.    Hamlet’s Ordeal

Laertes challenges Hamlet to a fencing contest. Prior to Hamlet’s arrival, King Claudius conspires with Laertes to apply poison to the weapons. (the goal is for Laertes to wound Hamlet during the match). For good measure, Claudius poisons the wine with which he intends to toast Hamlet—Hamlet presumably drinking from the cup with the toast. Laertes cuts Hamlet with the poisoned blade and Hamlet returns the favor. Shortly after having accidentally drunk from the cup that Claudius has tainted, the queen says, “The drink, the drink! I am poison’d.” (5.2.316) Hamlet is enraged, calling for the doors to be shut. Laertes, realizing that he and Hamlet are effectively dead, laments and confesses to poisoning Hamlet and tells of Claudius’ treachery. With the Queen mother, Laertes and Hamlet simultaneously dying, Hamlet takes his sword and ends King Claudius’ life. He stabs him and forces Claudius to drink from the poisoned goblet.

  1. Case Study Ordeal

MR: I guess my dragon was going to be just my own personal anxiety of feeling like I wasn’t going to be able to get past the fact if somebody told me “No.” Because I believe that the hero journey is something that does manifest itself in people’s lives, I knew that the adversity was going to come. And so the big dragon, so to speak, for me inwardly was this dragon of, “Am I going to have the balls to be able to pick myself back up after the adversity knocks me on my ass?” And then I guess the proverbial dragon that was contributing to me outwardly was just the whole industry entirely of the publishing world. It’s gruesome, it’s not working ever as fast as you want it to, and “No” is going to be an answer you hear a lot, and yadda, yadda, yadda, it’s just a whole big ordeal.

 

Reward / Customers

  1. Reward / Customers

The hero journey is a process of individuation; thereby, the elixir often comes to represent self-knowledge, which is the larger point of adventuring in the first place. The hero goes through a process of trials and tribulations that, in turn, better prepare and enable the hero to fill the void articulated at the beginning of their process.

  1. Customers

Having customers is critical for any for-profit venture’s sustainability. But more lasting, the hero entrepreneur, due to the adventure itself, gains a deeper understanding of themselves. The artist entrepreneur’s reward for overcoming many trials and tribulations are many and include the realization of their creative vision or personal meaning. Perhaps it comes in the form of profits or the impact of their non- or for-profit social entrepreneurship endeavor. For some, the reward may be the realization of a creative lifestyle or any number of other “wins” as the arts entrepreneur seeks to fill the void.

iii.    Hamlet’s Reward

Hamlet discovers his reward prior to the Ordeal. The elixir comes in the claiming of his title, where he does, as Polonius advises to Laertes in act one, scene three:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow as the night the day

Thou canst not then be false to any man.” (1.3.78)

This happens in the Ophelia burial scene, where Hamlet says to Laertes, “This is I, Hamlet the Dane.” (5.1.250–51) For the first time in the play, we see the thoughtful prince claim his rightful position and title. He has decisively claimed the elixir of self-knowledge.

  1. Case Study Reward

MR: My work has been published, which is very exciting. And it has unleashed me to write even more because the first thing I had published, I didn’t write anything after that. I don’t know if that was the right decision to make or not, but that was the choice I made— I was going to wait and see what happened with that to see if this was worth pursuing or not. And so after you get that first thing published, it was kind of unlocking the door to me just blasting through it and writing a whole lot more. And it’s become something that I find therapy in, it’s become something that I thoroughly enjoy and this is what I spend every free moment that I have doing when I can.

 

The Road Back / Product Adjustment

  1. The Road Back / Product Adjustment

A return is vital in the hero process, as the adventure’s purpose is to fill the void or gap experienced at the beginning of the story. The process is one of large-scale change: the vision changes, the entity grows and changes, peoples’ roles change and the demands of the market are in constant flux.

There is always the possibility of continuing to seek adventures, to keep going forward into new opportunities, to not return and fill the void. However, it is the duty of the hero to return with the elixir and provide it for the filling of the void that was found in the beginning, for without filling the void, there is no heroic act.

  1. Product Adjustment

The road back for the artist entrepreneur involves taking feedback and their findings from market engagement and going back to the lab or the drawing board. As a result of having gone into and through the special world of the market, the artist entrepreneur has the opportunity to develop and to bring the relevant findings back for readjustment, re-market entry and the filling the void. Thus, re-entry is a market re-entry with a refined concept, business model, product or service.

iii.    Hamlet’s Road Back

During the play, Hamlet leaves for a time, when he is shuttled off to England for assassination by his uncle Claudius. However, Hamlet turns circumstances upon Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are escorting him on the voyage, which leads to their mutual demise. Hamlet’s Road Back is his returning to his Denmark. As the hero journey structure is a flexible one, the Road Back occurs before the Reward in this example.

  1. Case Study The Road Back

MR: Totally. I was told, “No” twice before I was told, “Yes.” So that was a whole other process of picking myself back up and trying to figure out, “OK do I really want to send this to someone else now?” And then also there’s this little bit of, at least in my life, you get this thing that you’ve always said you’ve wanted to do. And from the time I was 16, I’m 26 now, I said, “I would love to be a published playwright.” I didn’t know when it was going to happen, I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do it, but I knew I wanted to be a published playwright. Well, at the age of 25, all of a sudden I achieved that—way earlier than I thought I was going to. And you get that initial excitement of, “It’s happened,” and then you get your proof in the mail and you see it and then you get your first shipment of the scripts in and everything and then you realize people are going to do your show and you get excited about that.

And then after all that dust settles, you realize, “I’m still the same person.” and this really wasn’t as much of a transformational experience as, say, getting married. You know, it wasn’t like this big spiritual epiphany came to me, it wasn’t like all of the sudden my doorbell was ringing with millions of people needing something from me because I ventured into this whole big new world. It was, “I’m a published playwright. I’ve got this accomplishment now.” But it takes even more gumption and even more creative effort and even more work to say, “That one creative endeavor isn’t enough, I want to try to stretch myself and do more.”

 

Resurrection / Rebranding

  1. Resurrection / Rebranding

For the hero, the stage of resurrection is one of being re-born. Having sometimes sacrificed so greatly, they experience a metaphorical or literal death, which transforms the hero. Examples can be found in mythic traditions around the world.

  1. Rebranding

To rebrand is to re-define the image of one’s company and how the public may come to view it. Knowing that markets provide feedback and will express its demand, arts entrepreneurs have an opportunity to reflect on their creation. At this stage of the adventure, the arts entrepreneur can further alter what their creation in service of those impacted by the entrepreneurial vision. However, if one is serving an audience, it likely serves the interests of the arts entrepreneur to alter their vision for the market, if sustainability is also a goal.

iii.    Hamlet’s Resurrection

Hamlet was usurped for the throne. By acting decisively and killing Claudius, Hamlet restores his birthright to the throne of Denmark. Hamlet’s voice continues on, we presume, through the actions of Prince Fortinbras of Norway, post play.

  1. Case Study Resurrection

MR: I have become a whole lot more comfortable in my own skin throughout this whole process. I had never had a problem interacting with people, but this whole resurrection of sorts has become a whole lot more of an empowering and liberating experience for me to unleash my creative freak flag. I grew up in a very strong evangelical nutshell and I still hold on strong to my faith, but my faith does not look like the faith that people back home expect me to have. And it was a lot easier to just try to “people please” and silence myself than it is to say, “This is my freak flag, deal with it, and I’m going to pursue it.” And so when you get that validation of, “OK, what I’m doing is worthwhile and what I’m creating is powerful and what I’m creating is something that other people see value in,” that provided me with a little bit of validation to say, “You know what? I’ve got the thick enough skin to hear no and I’ve got the thick enough skin that I can show my passion in a much bolder way now,” and not worry about people internalizing it the wrong way.

 

Parallel: Return with the Elixir / Need Fulfillment

  1. Parallel: Return with the Elixir / Need Fulfillment

At this stage, the hero enters the final stage of this particular adventure before another begins. Campbell describes the juncture thusly:

“The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It’s usually a cycle, a coming and a returning.”[27]

The goal of a hero adventure is to fill voids and to do so with the elixir obtained. To return with the elixir is to serve one’s community needs.

  1. Need Fulfillment

From an artistic entrepreneur’s perspective, this might represent the needs of a community served by a 501(c)3, for-profit or social entrepreneurship endeavor. It can represent the completion of a novel by a writer who serves an eager and loyal audience. Further, it may be found in the form of a graphic artist who completes a remarkable and effective logo for use by an emerging company or through the addressing of a community’s needs through a particularly effective dance or theatre performance. It may be represented by any number of expressions that serve to fill a void, with the “void” representing something larger than the hero alone.

 

iii.    Hamlet’s Return with the Elixir

With the avenging of his father’s death, Hamlet rights the wrongs of usurpation, and for a brief moment before his death, Hamlet is in the position of King. Some of his dying words as king are:

“But I do prophesy th’election lights

On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.” (5.2.360–61)

Throughout the play, there is a subplot involving young Fortinbras, crown prince of Norway. In the play, much of Norway’s lands were lost (offstage) to King Hamlet in a fight between the seniors. Prince Fortinbras, like Hamlet, seeks to right a perceived injustice, but Fortinbras is more able than Hamlet. Prince Fortinbras successfully amasses an army of soldiers and ably navigates them to castle doors of Elsinore by the play’s final scene. This is the ruling figure that perhaps Shakespeare intends to rule Denmark (offstage and post-play). Indeed, Fortinbras is the character Shakespeare perhaps envisions to be the antithesis of the rot of Denmark, of which Hamlet is a part. Fortinbras is all that Hamlet is not: decisive, impulsive and action-based. With the deaths in the court of Denmark, all that “…is rotten in the state of Denmark” dies with the court and there is hope for healing Denmark (and Norway) through Fortinbras. (1.4.90) With this void filled and the rot removed from Denmark, the tragedy ends.

  1. Case Study Return with the Elixir

MR: I work a lot with college students in what I do outside my writing. And so literally my world right now is just writing my creative pursuits and working with college students. And it has been… something that I’ve been able to share with people is this concept of telling them, you know, The hero’s journey has been very real in my life; it’s very real in their lives, but it’s seeing it through that paradigm. It empowers the younger people that I work with to say, “Yes,” as well. And so I guess this is more of feeling more comfortable sharing my story with other people so they can feel more comfortable sharing their own story. And so it seems to be more of that elixir I’m sharing is that concept of “Feel empowered to share anyway.”

 

THE HERO JOURNEY STRUCTURE SUMMARIZED

Once a person has a creative vision for an entrepreneurial endeavor, they may struggle with whether or not to commit to action. If the adventure is accepted and progresses from decision to action, the entrepreneur enters the realm of the market. The market can be a volatile place filled with tests, trials and tribulations. It can also present allies, enemies and opportunities. Prior to market launch, there will likely be a flurry of activity in preparation. Once launched, the market will inform. It will communicate what it does and does not like and what is and is not working. The entrepreneur typically takes such findings and returns to reconfigure and even rebrand. Doing so, the hero entrepreneur creates potential for a more viable business and comes to serve.

jaer-03-01

Figure 1

Considering the adventure-like quality of heroic exploits into arts entrepreneurship, we can look to the time-tested structure of the hero journey, as articulated by Campbell and later adapted by Vogler, to enable perspective and perseverance in the process of being an arts entrepreneur. When facing great obstacles, students can view such challenges as thresholds with their accompanying guardians. Through such a lens, we can recognize, celebrate and work with our allies/network. At the same time, we are mindful of the competition that threatens to end our adventures. The entire process of arts entrepreneurship may be viewed through the lens of the hero adventure. Morong supports this point: “Showing how the entrepreneur is like the universal hero in mythology might help to show that there is a chance for spiritual and creative fulfillment and self discovery in capitalism through entrepreneurship.”[28] One may even choose to live AND venture heroically, viewing one’s own life journey and art as a series adventures.

 

A Need for Heroes

Adventure stories are a popular literary genre, as it seems we identify with the struggles, trials and tribulations of the heroes and empathizing with the sacrifices they accept. Heroes are admired for their endurance, their will and suffering as they face fantastic odds and assume significant risks. We also admire heroes because life has no shortage of struggles to face, risks to assume and challenges to overcome. Those who serve something more than themselves become necessary and are recognizable. We have no shortage of such visionaries in contemporary society such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who impacted our world and how we communicate, listen to music and compute. One might say that they served a world-wide community through their personal adventures.

Every community needs its youth to gain experience in the larger world and return that value to the community. When an arts entrepreneur selects their audience and creates with the audience’s interests in mind, the arts entrepreneur is committing an act of service. When one is serving someone or some group, when one’s focus goes from self to another or others, that individual has the potential to become necessary to those they serve. Being necessary often leads to profitability, mutual need fulfillment and sustainability of the arts entrepreneur and their entity.

Knowing such a structure, which is ancient and yet still relevant, and having it as guidance, one gains perspective and a lens through which to navigate the adventures of arts entrepreneurship. Such knowledge can lead to an understanding of how to build meaning into one’s own career, visions and creative entities. The HJS gives the artist—who (at least stereotypically) has an intuitive understanding of meaning—a structure to maneuver through the process of realizing meaning and passion in the world. With the service-act of the artist entrepreneur, economies are stimulated, jobs are created and impact is realized. Meaning is also realized in the artistic entrepreneur’s own process and life.

 

Teaching with the Hero Journey

In my own classroom, we begin with the HJS, using the parallel found in this article. We then explore various archetypes, the “cast of characters” of the hero journey, and their relationship to stories. As a course assignment, students interview three working arts entrepreneurs, attempting to determine whether and how the stories of their processes of entrepreneurship parallel the hero adventure structure. The students then create an analysis of their three interviews. Their interviews are published on the SMU department blog under the project heading, “Heroes Among Us.”

I teach six key factors of Entrepreneurship and the Hero Adventure to inspire development of heroic artistic entrepreneurs:

  1. The HJS is addressed and understood in each stage.
  2. A working knowledge of archetypes is developed.
  3. Students develop a suitable self-awareness to recognize a heroic journey structure and archetypes that may manifest in their own adventures.
  4. They gain an understanding of service.
  5. They bring their individual talents and skills to the market (they share their “elixir”).
  6. Students develop a lens and perspective to navigate the obstacles of arts entrepreneurship.

How individual educators present these structured areas can be as diverse as hero adventures are varied in circumstance and scope. A full semester or more can be used to explore the mechanics and varied stages of the structure. Yet where the students make a lasting and valuable connection is in relating the hero journey structure and archetypes to their own lives. This is done through the analysis of original interviews with arts entrepreneurs. Students are able to draw their own conclusions as a result of their own analysis, which makes for a “discovery” of knowledge. Their discovery is made as a result of perceived patterns in the happenings of others’ lives and processes, and consequently, their own. As educators, we can aid students in identifying heroic figures that exist in their own communities and in my classroom, I find they typically identify many.

 

CONCLUSION

Both Campbell’s and Vogler’s work, especially in relation to the hero adventure, offer a myriad of uses for the artist, entrepreneur and arts entrepreneur. We can help our students to view their entrepreneurial adventures as heroic exploits and in doing so, they may become heroic arts entrepreneurs. In serving others’ needs, one becomes necessary, and being “necessary,” as an artist, can lead to profitability. Universities training arts entrepreneurs by offering the techniques offered in this article gain because of their successful and impactful graduates who make their way in the world as heroic arts entrepreneurs

 

Bibliography

Adler, Stella. The Art of Acting. New York: Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, 2000.

Alberti, Joseph. Acting: The Gister Method. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2012.

Bly, Robert. Iron John: A Book about Men. New York: Random House, Inc, 1992.

Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2008.

­­–––––––. Myths to Live By. New York: Viking Press, 1972.

Campbell, Joseph and Moyers, Bill. The Power of Myth. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Hagen, Uta. Respect for Acting. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 1973.

Hartwell, Margaret and Chen, Joshua C. Archetypes in Branding: A Toolkit for Creatives and Strategists. Cincinnati, OH: HOW Books, 2012.

Hayman, Ronald. A Life of Jung. New York, W.W. Norton, 1999.

Janda, Kathyrn. and Marina Topouzi. “Closing the Loop: Using Hero Stories and Learning Stories to Remake Energy Policy.” Proceedings of the 2013 ECEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, 229–40. Accessed February 2, 2014. http://proceedings.eceee.org/visabstrakt.php?event=3&doc=1-406-13.

Jung, Carl. The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969.

Meisner, Sanford and Denis Longwell. On Acting. New York: Random House, 1987.

Morong, Cyril. “Mythology, Joseph Campbell, and the Socioeconomic Conflict.” Journal of Socio-Economics 23, no. 4 (1995): 363–382.

­­­­_______. “The Creative-Destroyers: Are Entrepreneurs Mythological Heroes?” Paper presented at the annual meeting for the Western Economic Association, San Francisco, California, July 1992.

Noble, Kathleen “The Female Hero: A Quest for Healing and Wholeness.” Women & Therapy 9, no. 4 (1990): 3–18.

Nodoushani, Omid and Patricia Nodoushani. “Second Thoughts on the Entrepreneurial Myth.” The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation 1, no. 1 (2000): 7–13.

Noll, Richard. The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement. New York:Touchstone, 1997.

Pearson, Carol. Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help us Find Ourselves and Transform our World. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

Rank, Otto. The Myth of the Birth of the Hero. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1959.

Ries, Eric. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. New York: Crown Business, 2011.

Robbins, Ruth. A. “Harry Potter, Ruby Slippers and Merlin: Telling the Client’s Story Using the Characters and Paradigm of the Archetypal Hero’s Journey.” Seattle University Law Review 29, no. 4, (2006): 767–803.

Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Arden Edition. Edited by J.M. Lothian and T.W. Craik. London: Routledge, 1995.

_______. Hamlet. Arden Edition. Edited by Harold Jenkins. Surrey: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1997.

Stanislavski, Constantin. An Actor Prepares. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Strasberg, Lee. A Dream of Passion: The Development of the Method. New York, Penguin, 1987.

Vogler, Christopher. The Writer’s Journey. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, 1998.

Zweig, Connie and Abrams, Jeremiah. Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature. New York: Penguin, 1990.

 

ENDNOTES

[1] Omid Nodoushani and Patricia Nodoushani. “Second Thoughts on the Entrepreneurial Myth.” The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation 1, no. 1 (2000): 9.

[2] For example: a familiar “adventure” is where the hero slays his / her existential nemesis (in the guise / metaphor of a dragon) and obtains an elixir, filling a void experienced / exposed at the beginning of the tale.

[3] The terms “Hero Journey” and “monomyth” are considered interchangeable. However, this article will use the term “Hero Journey Structure” or HJS exclusively. Note that “Monomyth” is a term that Campbell borrowed from James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake.” Campbell’s use of the term refers to a singular myth where “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, The Power Of Myth (New York: Doubleday, 1988) 23. Campbell further clarifies, adding “The standard path of the mythological adventure of the hero is a magnification of the formula represented in the rites of passage: separation–initiation–return:which might be named the nuclear unit of the monomyth.” Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2008), 23.

[4] Eric Ries, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses (New York: Crown Business, 2011), 28.

[5] Note that early stages of the adventure may appear late in a storyline and is explored below through Hamlet.

[6] Cyril Morong, “Mythology, Joseph Campbell, and the Socioeconomic Conflict,” Journal of Socio-Economics 23, no. 4 (1995): 370.

[7] The act of service in an arts entrepreneurship context may typically be envisioned as working with or founding a non-profit or social entrepreneurship endeavor. However, there are many types of service acts and—ultimately—service becomes a matter of perspective. An actress may view her paid performance as an act of service to her audience or a painter can create a painting with a donor in mind.

[8] Kathyrn Janda and Marina Topouzi, “Closing the Loop: Using Hero Stories and Learning Stories to Remake Energy Policy.” Proceedings of the 2013 ECEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, (2013): 231. Accessed February 2, 2014. http://proceedings.eceee.org/visabstrakt.php?event=3&doc=1-406-13.

[9] Morong, “The Creative-Destroyers.”

[10] Rank suggests that “The prominent civilized nations–the Babylonians and Egyptians, the Hebrews and Hindus, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans, as well as the Teutons and others–all began at an early stage to glorify their national heroes…” See Otto Rank, The Myth of the Birth of the Hero, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1959), 3.

[11] Carl Jung, The Structure And Dynamics of the Psyche (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1969).

[12] Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By (New York: Viking Press, 1972), 210. Note that the concept of a collective unconscious is controversial, even in circles friendly to Campbell’s ideas. Rank writes “The problem of ‘elemental ideas’ (and their continuing influence in modern life) is one that concerned Jung and his disciples; it has led to their famous—if controversial—theories of the ‘archetype’ and the ‘collective unconscious’.” Rank, The Myth of the Birth of the Hero, 8n. See also Richard Noll, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement, (New York:Touchstone, 1997).

[13] Ronald Hayman, A Life of Jung (New York, W.W. Norton, 1999), 122-23. A working knowledge of archetypes can be found in Carol Pearson, Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help us Find Ourselves and Transform our World (New York: Harper Collins), 1991. See also: Margaret Hartwell and Joshua C. Chen, Archetypes in Branding: A Toolkit for Creatives and Strategists (Cincinnati, OH: HOW Books, 2012) and Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams, Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature (New York: Penguin, 1990). These archetypes can be thought of as the “cast of characters” one finds in tales. Some examples include the Orphan, Caregiver, Warrior, Wizard and Hero. Each of us has the potential to play or manifest archetypes within our own lives, as well as in our art and business. We may also find ourselves enacting archetypes in the lives of others, as many play the role of mentor or caregiver, if only to those within our own families. Robbins abstracts the importance of archetypes in a larger sense: “According to archetypal psychologists, we are each on different heroic quests throughout our lives as we mature and transform ourselves.” Ruth Ann Robbins, “Harry Potter, Ruby Slippers and Merlin: Telling the Client’s Story Using the Characters and Paradigm of the Archetypal Hero’s Journey,” Seattle University Law Review 29, no. 4 (2006): 779.

[14] See Constantin Stanislavski, An Actor Prepares (New York: Routledge, 2013).

[15] See Uta Hagen, Respect for Acting (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 1973); Sanford Meisner and Denis Longwell, On Acting (New York: Random House, 1987); Stella Adler, The Art of Acting (New York: Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, 2000) and Joseph Alberti, Acting: The Gister Method (Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Pearson Education, 2012).

[16] Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers (Studio City, CA.: Michael Wiese Productions, 1998).

[17] Though this article uses the term “arts entrepreneurs” specifically, the principles discussed throughout the work apply to many of those who “entrepreneur.”

[18] Vogler offers an interesting comparative chart that is similarly structured between his structure and Campbell’s. Vogler, The Writer’s Journey, 6.

[19] The interviewee is an arts entrepreneur/independent artist. By acting in bold and decisive manners, he has realized opportunity as an independent artist and published author of theatrical plays.

[20] Shakespeare, trans. 1982, 1.5.23-25.

[21] Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyers, The Power Of Myth. (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 120.

[22] Robert Bly, Iron John: A Book about Men. (New York: Random House, 1992), 233. It should be noted that Bly’s book, “Iron John” is a “Book About Men.” Heroes can, of course, be female.

[23] Many entrepreneurs need help in their process of realizing visions of scope, which may come as a result of working with collaborators through an incubator, with venture capitalists, a board of directors, someone who has more experience than the entrepreneur (a mentor) or through some other means of advising, such as a board of advisors.

[24] Campbell and Moyers, The Power Of Myth, 146.

[25] (Shakespeare, trans. 1982, 3.1.56)

[26] In classroom context, I define “self-awareness” as finding a sense of one’s personal meaning and passion through an active awareness of their environment. My students are encouraged to reflect upon their own life stories and to identify figures (possible archetypes) serving as mentors, allies and shadow elements. Furter, they are asked to identify key moments that serve as markers or transitions in their lives, noting who was there, and to become aware of those motivating urges that stimulate them to want to take action—including when they are enacting an archetype. This awareness is what can be brought back to their community to fill a need, as found in the Hamlet example.

[27] Campbell and Moyers, The Power Of Myth, 123.

[28] Morong, “The Creative-Destroyers,” 2.

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