Posted by Daniel Whidden

A few years ago I was struggling with a major script problem. No matter how hard I wracked my brain I couldn’t find a solution. I felt helpless.

At the same time, I didn’t want to let go of a project I cared about and spent so much time on. I then came across two approaches to screenplay writing which completely blew my mind, The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and a simplified version called The Story Circle by Dan Harmon (Community, Rick & Morty). I thought, what do I have to lose?

The Story Circle/Hero’s Journey approach made me realize that I was missing a major component to my character’s journey. Now that I could see the problem, my frustration melted away and I could begin rewriting. And my story improved tremendously.

In the video below, “Home Alone and the Hero’s Journey” I break down the plot of Home Alone step by step to see how our protagonist, Kevin McCAllister, undergoes the steps of the Hero’s Journey. By going through these steps you can see how the protagonist’s journey shapes the way they perceive the world, how it changes them, and ultimately gives us (the viewer) that emotional/cathartic ending that sets apart good from great movies.

Take a look:


While the hero's journey may not be for everyone, I believe it can be a valuable tool to get your story on the right track; to create the skeletal framework for those who may struggle with structure.

I leave you now with the parting words of Kevin McCallister: "Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals."



Breaking Down Home Alone For All Ya Filthy Animals

Daniel Whidden is a writer and screenplay educator. He started his career at Meridian Artists (Canada’s top literary agency) and over the last few years has garnered a Writer’s Guild of Canada Prize and was staffed on the Disney/Family Channel show Backstage as well as started “Think Story,” a YouTube channel dedicated to film and television.

Visit his Channel at:


Like this blog post? Please share it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email etc) by using social media buttons at the top of the blog. Or post to your personal blog and anywhere else you feel appropriate. Thank you.

As always, we welcome thoughts and remarks on ANY of the content above in the Comments section below...


Counting Our Blessings
Coffee & Content - 3 Filmmaking Mistakes to Avoid & Ryan Coogler on Film School
register for stage 32 Register / Log In