The André with a Thousand Faces

Episode 3:
The André with a Thousand Faces


Andre's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" recap

Jan 10, 2022

Have you ever read Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces? No? Neither have I. But good news for you is that, friend of the program, Mr. Andre Fernandes, did it. And he is very good at delivering a high level view of his key takeaways, so that we can decide if it's one to put on our storytelling level-up reading list.

My favorite line from Andre, during our conversation:

"We're not so different from one another and be that, you know, the stories which drive us, you know, it's the book is called The Hero with A Thousand Faces, right? He I think he's making a point that, as many cultures that are completely disconnected geographically, as there are in the world, there are commonalities in the stories we tell ourselves, which speaks to a greater common humanity, I suppose whether he thinks that common humanity is the collective unconscious of Jung, or whether he just thinks it's about you know, what it means to be human." 

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Michael Mioduski  0:21  
All right. All right, welcome back pitch people. As Michael Mioduski of go strange communications and the host of presentation thinking, thank you so much for being here. Again, you know, we're on this mission to become better, more well rounded presentation, people, whether you're making them for yourself or you know, writing them for others, or building them and designing them for others. I think there's so many different avenues and disciplines that we can pull from to become far better communicators than we are today. So we have an exciting friend of the show, recurring guests, Mr. Andre Fernandez, Director of Strategy and new business for Ghost ranch communications. And Andre is one of the smartest people I know and is also on this, this lifelong journey to become a better storyteller. So Andre, so stoked to have you here. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself to kick off?

Andre Fernandes  1:11  
Hey, Mikey. Yeah, thanks for buttering me up. I appreciate it. So yeah, Andre Fernandez, I'm a writer, a strategist, as you say, here at the ranch, you know, love to read love to find out new things, explore new industries, as you know, we work with a lot of different verticals here. So getting to work with all these different founders and sales leaders and marketers across, you know, everything from I guess AI and software and hardware and on real estate. You know, we've we've touched just about every industry I can think of. So it's been a journey and continues to be true

Michael Mioduski  1:51  
from from cannabis tech to urinary tract infection technology.

Michael Mioduski  1:58  
We've done it. So you've been devouring books, I know you have a stack of books. If you seriously if you go on Amazon, anybody, and just look up storytelling. In the book department. There's like 1000 tabs. It is a hot topic. Absurd it it is always been a hot topic. Right. And Andre, like going back to the night 1949. Joseph Campbell had something to say. And it seems to have stuck around for a long time. And a lot of marketers reference it. But I shared how I haven't had my head into it. And but you took that you took the challenge? And what was the book that you finally broke open?

Andre Fernandes  2:38  
It's it's the granddaddy of storytelling, you hear it reference, like you said, across lots of, you know, different industries, marketers speak about it a lot. You hear it? Obviously, you know, and master of fine art courses as well, the hero with 1000 faces from Joseph Campbell, as you said, 1949 seminal piece that I have successfully avoided reading up until very recently,

Michael Mioduski  3:00  
I think you're gonna give us like a little bit of a highlight overview. I don't know if we'll get into the details of it all today. But like very curious if you can, if you can give us the big picture view and maybe some of the takeaways and why. Why we might want to dive into a bit deeper on on our own or, you know, in a future episode. Yeah.

Andre Fernandes  3:18  
So it was interesting to go into it. I guess first and foremost, what hit me immediately was just how much Freud and Jung was in there. It was as much of a book about psychology and human nature as it was about storytelling. One of the things that was very modern about it, I would say was it was very anecdotal. So it would tell these stories, and it would flash back and forth between different cultures and different myths and legends. But it would also have these instances where somebody was relaying a dream, which he would then connect to this this larger human fable. You know, I think, if there's one big theory that seems to be coming out of this book is that you know, we share, if not a collective unconscious, there is there is a collective story that we're all drawn to across all cultures. So big undertaking, definitely interesting to finally get to read it and connect it to a lot of the you know, just other pieces that I know that have been influenced by it.

Michael Mioduski  4:19  
Yeah. And do you know why he wrote this book?

Andre Fernandes  4:22  
I would say he was out without knowing exactly why he wrote it. I would say he was making a case that he thought would be a game changer. And clearly, it was I think we we still reference it. I think there's a few pieces in there that we would certainly think of as controversial today. He's very embedded in, you know, Oedipal and electric complexes. So there's, you know, for anybody who doesn't know whether or not they want to dive into it, just know there's going to be some mom and dad stuff. Oh, you've been warned. But I think I think he was trying to To make an argument that a We're not so different from one another and be that, you know, the stories which drive us, you know, it's the book is called The Hero with 1000 faces, right? He I think he's making a point that as many cultures that are completely disconnected geographically, as there are in the world, there are commonalities in the stories we tell ourselves, which which speaks to a greater common humanity, I suppose whether he thinks that common humanity is the collective unconscious of young or whether he just thinks it's about you know, what it means to be human. That piece? I don't know. That's a that's a deeper philosophical ask than I thought we'd be talking about Mike.

Michael Mioduski  5:40  
Alright, man, let's, I think you nailed it. Yeah. So how do we see how do we see the hero with 1000 faces? Like, in our day to day, maybe we don't even realize we're, we're seeing it?

Andre Fernandes  5:50  
I would say so. I think I think one of the things that probably scares off a lot of people from thinking about it, um, for me, personally, you know, it's 16 steps. And I'm used to thinking and in three acts, right, I mean, I think most of us are used to things that are maybe a little bit simpler on the surface to kind of wrap our minds around it, it's a little harder to get around 16 steps, but we see it in so many of our stories that you know, what we love, I you know, reading through these, these steps, I couldn't help but think of some of the most popular pieces of pop culture, you know, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, they're, they're almost step by step recreations of these these 16 steps, which, you know, as we were thinking about, like, well, how does this apply to startups? I was trying to figure out, okay, well, nobody wants to follow a 16 step process. But this is still a play in three acts when you when it comes right down to it. No, there's the first act which you know, pick your poison, let's, whether it's Luke, or whether it's Frodo in the Shire, you know, the first act of just normalcy to the status quo, and that call to adventure, whether or not you take it and usually the hero has some hesitancy for reasons related to family or just feelings of inadequacy, and eventually accepting the challenge diving into what Joseph calls the belly of the whale, that transformation, right that that makes somebody the hero, not just embrace the challenge, but come out into the challenge transformed. You know, for Frodo, I think it's when he gets stabbed, right? When he gets stabbed, you know, he comes back to the world of the living. It's almost as though he he's resurrected. And then there's the initiation process, the second act of the play, where you're actually going through the trials and tribulations when you're you know, receiving magic gifts from Supernatural stores. That's what Joseph calls the meeting with the goddess you know, there's a toning with the Father. There's, there's obviously notes of religion, most of these myths and legends are highly religious, and the eventual apotheosis you know, where you gain enlightenment. Andy Raskin, our good, our good friend, Andy Raskin wouldn't would call, you know, magic gifts, finding the magic gifts, which you're ultimately trying to bring back into the ordinary world. So that first world, you're in the ordinary world, when you do that initiation process, and you're going to the supernatural world, for the startup, that's the story that they're often trying to tell, you know, that's the story of fighting through the status quo, figuring out what what is it that we have to offer that changes the game? What is our magic gift, and, of course, you know, finding that promethium fire bringing it back to the ordinary world. Um, that's when you go into the third act, you know, where you actually are trying to show everybody you know, this is the magical gift that I've brought, for many people, we think of it as the Daniel Mont, which I probably mispronounced, but, you know, the ending of the story, the after the action and the excitement. For the startup, it's often the stage that they're in when they're doing fundraising, you know, they've, they found that magic gift. So in a lot of ways, figuring out your story is part of your story, when you're trying to tell it in a compelling way. And whether it's your customer journey story, whether it's your founders personal story, or whether it's your industry story. Well, you know, whether it's your adventure story to what we call traction, right? I mean, figuring out a way to tell the right story is part of the story. So that's, that's what I would say is the third act, and I feel like I've been monologuing now for about 15 minutes. So you got any you got anything, anything that kind of rose up to you is something that maybe piqued your interest?

Michael Mioduski  9:39  
Besides all of it? No, I mean, it's like, I can get my head around three acts. You know what I mean? And just as you're talking about them, I think I was at a Raskin workshop where, you know, I think a lot of people talk about Star Wars as the example. But I think he had this hit me when I was there because I had a young daughter and my Spotify song of the year was a Madonna song. And yet, yeah, I mean, like, she's, she's on this island, they have her life planned out for her. She's not happy. She feels this calling out to the ocean for some reason and her grandma's like, hey, take this thing. You know, this is like the heart of the sea, you got to go do this thing. And she accepts the mission kind of rejects that status quo, because she knows she has to do some greater calling gets into some trouble meet some some magical creatures along the way. And then eventually she she's on this cusp of like, damn, I think I failed. You know, like, she gets blown back by this volcano monster. But then grandma tala comes to visit her again, you know, is the spirit. And then of course, you know, the great return, I can get my head around some Molana. But you also like, can it be as simple as 3x Three steps when to keep someone's honest engagement. I think you were telling me earlier to about coming to the back and forth that they really need to happen for for a character to develop or for us to really like, tie ourselves into this story. Can you talk about that a little bit too?

Andre Fernandes  10:55  
Oh, well, first, I'm going to have to address the molana piece because I still can't believe we don't have a Mulana to. It's by far. My favorite of the Pixar movies. My kids can watch it and rewatch it as many times as they want. I'm never going to complain about that and can't say it's the same for for all of them. But uh, you know, I mean, on that note, there's only two things left in this world that make me just sob like a baby. And it's commercials with dogs and Pixar movies. I'm right there with you. Mulana is a great example. I hadn't really thought of it. But one thing that makes me think of is, so the Stanford School of Design, yeah, we do called the d school, one of their methods to help you think through pitches is is called, oh boy, I think it's called the Pixar pitch. There's a famous story border. looking her up right now, Mr. Koh coats. So Emma coats created a storyboard that supposedly fits every Pixar pitch ever made. And it goes very simply, you know, we're thinking about ways to, to make the 16 step, the hero's journey fit for startups, this is so much more concise. And I think it works just as well. Once upon a time, there was the blank every day blank, one day blank, because of that blank, because of that blank, until finally blank, you've got six blanks to fill in, that you can tell a super compelling story, because every single Pixar story fits that mold. And if your startup can be fit into that mold, that's a powerful story. And one of the things that I love about this is that even though it's a very simple little framework, there's embedded into that framework, that refusal of the call the back and forth the difficulty, right? There's two because of that's in a row, you know, it's interesting that that that's part of the framework, right? Because you can't just very simply say, question, answer, I think when you build a little story at you know, whether your startup whether you're an animator at Pixar, you've got to have that back and forth, whether it's because of external actors, whether it's because of internal conflict, that back and forth is what makes you compelling. I think it's what makes you human. And it's what I think calls attention to a VC that I mean, at the end of the day, from everything that I know about raising money and and going out and asking for you know, somebody to trust you and to trust your model. You're asking them to trust you way more than you're asking them to trust the data slide, you're forming relationships, you're building trust, you're getting somebody to look at you and say this person is the right person to lead this charge and their team is the right team. And as much as many founders are aren't gonna like to hear it, you don't get there with a data slide, you get there, probably by you know, having a pitch meeting it become a brunch, where you talk about your family instead for a while and then you have a follow up meeting later. It's not just like with the story that you're telling about your startup, it's probably not going to be linear to build out that investment that you're that you're hoping to get. And embracing that non linearity, I think is part of what what this call to adventure, refusal of the call supernatural a crossing the first threshold belly of the whale, wrote of trials meeting with the goddess woman as the temptress don't get me started there atonement with the Father apotheosis, you know, this, the 16 step process that 1000 faces goes through, it's about the ways in which our stories build in that nonlinearity the ways in which the hero isn't perfect. The hero is human, the hero is even in the stories where the human ascends to godhood which a lot of these myths you know, that's that's how it ends, that human always does. So through an imperfect process, embracing that imperfection, leaning into that imperfection. It's the kind of thing that tells great stories is the kind of thing that builds trust as well. You know, I think one of the things we've talked about in the past is that slide of weaknesses right? I think you asked me once slot Right is SWOT still the things Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, traction, and

Michael Mioduski  15:04  
threats. Threats, excuse me, like two of them are bad things. Right? Yeah, pretty vulnerable.

Andre Fernandes  15:09  
Yeah, absolutely. And I think we've moved away from that. And in a lot of a lot of the ways in which we talk about business, I think there's a lot of fear to show insecurity, a lot of fear in showing you recognize your own weaknesses, it's like you want it, you want to show that hockey stick and say, everything's hunky dory. But VCs, you know, their job is to find your weaknesses, to hear what you're not saying. And to spot that lack of admittance and hone in on it. And if you're keeping it behind a veil, like the you know, like the Wizard of Oz, you're going to probably get a little bit less trust right out the gate. I'm a big proponent of you know, leading with the weakness leading with your insecurities. Having a slide that says, These are the people that we're learning from admitting your work and probably process. It also lets the investor know, you know, this person might be willing to learn from me, this person is obsessed with learning. I think there's a lot of upside to acknowledging your faults, generally in life, but also in your pitch deck.

Michael Mioduski  16:05  
Yeah, if some of these if Neo or whatever, just like something so simple as has a problem solves it. It's awesome. We're done. isn't going to grip you in as much as the, as you said, like, what is what could be what is what could be that back forth, back forth, until you're actually seeing and buying into this real person, like you said, and if someone appears to have just be perfect, flawless in every way, the questions that come up, were like, Alright, what's the catch? You know, and like you said, that's what the VCs are gonna look for. And love, that idea of leading, and getting in front of those questions or exposing this is a thing that could be a threat to us. But we've thought about it, and we're continuing to learn from this person or our customer base or whoever, because then you're showing you're not blind to it. In fact, you're several steps ahead. And you acknowledge problems. And that is very much trust building.

Andre Fernandes  16:56  
Absolutely. I also like what you said there about the, you know, the back and forth. That's the way so many great stories get told. And yeah, coming from a place where you where you're able to admit to your weaknesses, like you said, That's just it can be something that's incredibly powerful. I think you you've told a story about the the founder of Canva. Like that.

Michael Mioduski  17:17  
Yeah, I think it was on either her how I built this episode, or there's a Masters of scale podcast episode with Melissa Perkins, who co founded Canva. And she talks a lot about her days pitching and what she learned doing it, she's from Australia, but flew out to San Francisco, slept on her brother's in his apartment, and just met with hundreds of VCs and investors. And this is one of our favorite things. Here's like, she changed her pitch. She kept iterating. She stuck to her story and her guns, but she noticed that an investor would tune out if she got through the pitch. And she had those back pocket slides like, oh, you know, in case they asked a really tough question, which at the time was like, Hey, cool, you built this online design tool? Why would Microsoft just do that and knock you out completely. And she's like, Ah, she had a great response was like that would cannibalize the products they're selling, why would they do that? And so she was trying to create this basically revolution in desktop publishing. And we now know that she did. So on her next pitch. She said, Screw I'm putting that that's give me my first freakin slide. Because I'm sick of this question. They don't if they have this question burning in their, in their mind for the first 20 minutes, they might have already tuned me out or written me off. So she tried that. Put that, hey, you're probably wondering why Microsoft would just do this is their first slide. And it totally changed the game from there. They were all yours. Right? And she got in front of it. And that's something that I don't know. Are we afraid to do that at times to expose a weakness? And what can be learned from that?

Andre Fernandes  18:43  
Yeah. Mike. Mike, drop the wow. I mean, that's, that's a that's exactly what I'm talking about. And yeah, well, we'll cut that response, because it was a terrible response. We're keeping it oh, gosh, yeah. I mean, it's, it's, it's amazing to hear, right. I mean, that's, that's the kind of thing that it doesn't work for everybody. It's not everybody's situation, not everybody's going to be in a position where they need to start where their first slide is like, this is a way in which you're probably thinking where the most vulnerable, but when when you notice a pattern in the ways that people are responding to your pitch, the last thing you should ever do is the same thing over again. Right. So iterating that's obviously a big part of everything that we do being there to continue to, to develop that pitch to develop that story. I think that's more than anything. What's helped me grow as a storyteller. Yeah.

Michael Mioduski  19:33  
Well, damn, I mean, I know the three acts is something I can get into. I know there's six those detailed 16 steps might be fun for a future episode is to really like, have you walk us through some of those. And I think we might even have a little illustration brewing to help visualize that as a reference as well for those of us who who want to dive a little deeper into the hero with 1000 faces. So Andre, I think this was a for me a nice entry point.

Andre Fernandes  19:57  
So now I really actually I want to rake, rake that book open 16 chapters we're going to have 16 podcast episodes. Yeah, one of these or maybe 15. Like I said, I'm not I'm not sure how we would talk about the woman as a temptress. That's going to be a challenging one in today.

Michael Mioduski  20:12  
Yeah, let's not do that. Um, what about? Actually, I am sorry, I buried this question. So the most important question to our listeners, Andre, what's your walkout music?

Andre Fernandes  20:24  
So my walkout music has been the same since high school. I probably should update it because my music tastes have changed dramatically, but a wake up by the Walkman. I think it's we're talking about the matrix. It's featured prominently in the matrix.

Michael Mioduski  20:38  
Oh, me. Yeah. Was that a was that a cut? I know like did rage against machine cover that? Yes, they did. Okay. Yeah. I love that. I can get fully into that. Andre, I can't wait to see you speak on a big stage and wake people up my brother about storytelling, just in case

Andre Fernandes  20:53  
I miss attributed it. Well, we'll just also have a recording of me saying now wake up. I Rage Against the Machine.

Michael Mioduski  21:01  
It's the only one I knew. But I'm sure it goes way back.

Andre Fernandes  21:04  
Yeah, I think I think that one was a cover, but I don't I don't remember who the original is. But yeah, Rage Against the Machine is the one on the matrix for sure.

Michael Mioduski  21:11  
Love it. Hey, Andre. This is fun. We're gonna do this more and more. And I'm so stoked. And I hope everyone else got a little bit excited to dig that much further into storytelling heads around the three acts. Don't just spoon feed it, tease it back and forth, back and forth. Because that's that's more human. Andre. Any parting shots before we go?

Andre Fernandes  21:29  
It's been fun. Can't wait to dive into the next one. Maybe we can just do a special ones just on Pixar and Milan. Let's let's have a wanna talk.

Michael Mioduski  21:38  
Oh my gosh, let's do it all day. Let's bring our daughters too

Andre Fernandes  21:41  
Oh, yeah, I think I think it might devolve into frozen with mine.

Michael Mioduski  21:45  
Alright, well, thank you all for tuning in. Join us next time for another adventure and storytelling on presentation thinking. I'll take care

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