Story Shamans Podcast – Episode 4 – Mad Men


Mad Men


Related Shamans Videos to Check out:

Identity vs. Essence

Season 3: Point of No Return

Season 4: Change of Circumstances

Season 7

Season Variations

Season 4: Promotion/Slump

Season 7 (part 5) – Synthesis & End of 3rd Era/Entire Story

Season 7

This is it Animals! Time to wrap up season 7, the third era, and your entire story as a whole.

Dramatic Evolution

Has two main elements:

  • Synthesis
  • End of Third Era/Your Entire Story

Most shows, most stories, are going to end completely at the end of season 7. It’s a natural end point. The 7 seasons have run their course, and now it’s all coming to an end. The story is over.

You can go beyond season 7 if you like. But if you do, the seasons moving forward will just be a new cycle of the same 7 season structure. We’ll get into what this means a little later. But for now, for simplicity’s sake – let’s assume that you’re ending your story at the end of season 7.


Season 7 is this third era’s “synthesis.”

You’re taking the dramatic evolution themes from seasons 5 and 6, then combining and transcending them into something that really nails your point home. This isn’t just the synthesis for the third era, it’s the synthesis for the whole series. The whole story.

Let’s finish up our Spider-Man show:

Season 5’s thesis:

“With great power, comes great humility.”

Season 6’s antithesis:

“With great power, comes great hubris.”

For season 7’s synthesis, how about:

“With great power, comes great wisdom.”

In season 5, he was humble about his power. In season 6, he got a little power-inflated. Here in season 7, Spider-Man comes to a place of hard-won wisdom with regards to his power.

How’s that work? There’s a natural progression. It comes from being super humble, then superior, and after having experienced both of those extremes, Spider-Man’s able to find the true middle path. He knows what it means to have this gift, and he also understands where his limits are.

But this “wisdom” comes not just from the humility and hubris of the past two seasons. It also comes from the lessons of every previous season.

  • The responsibility he learned in season 1.
  • The unique freedom he enjoyed in season 2.
  • The honor he felt in season 3.
  • The corruption he suffered in season 4.

Then the lessons of this particular era:

  • Both the humility he gained in season 5, and the hubris he succumbed to in season 6.

It all culminates, combines and synthesizes in season 7, into “wisdom.” It’s both the synthesis for your third era, and the synthesis for your entire story. You’ve gotta keep that in mind.

End of Third Era/Your Entire Story

This is the last season of your grand, seven season story.

You’ve got to keep an eye on ending not just this third era chunk of story, but also look to end the entire series.


The West Wing.

The third era was all about the general question: “Who’s the next president going to be?”

That question, and era, completely comes to a close when President Santos is sworn into office, at the end of the season.

But, this being the end of the show, they’ve also got to close out the entire story. This is done by closing out the Bartlet Administration’s second term. They’re all done. The presidency and administration we’ve been watching this whole time, is now, definitively, at an end.

The West Wing is a good example of a show that has exactly 7 seasons. How about one that went past season 7 but still had all of this dramatic evolution stuff to satisfy?

Let’s look again at Supernatural.

As previously discussed, their third era was all about “purgatory.” And they close out this era by having Dean sent to purgatory, after taking out the Leviathan King – Dick Roman.

That’s a solid end to the era, a good end to that purgatory chunk. But since the show is still going, they don’t close out the story as a whole. They’re saving that for when they actually do end the story of Sam and Dean Winchester. Whenever that might be.

That’s it Animals! All seven seasons laid at your feet.

There are more details that we could get into, but these are the large pieces. The stuff that’ll definitely get you off and running.

Get to know ’em. Let ’em sink into your bones.

Then go tell your own stories. Do it.

Right now.

Season 7 (part 1) – Legacy

Season 7

Dramatic Structure:

Season 7 has 3 areas of concern:

Let’s take a look at its…


In season 1, the connection theme was expressed as “identity.”
In season 3, the connection theme was expressed as “power.”
In season 5, the connection theme was expressed as “family.”

Season 7’s connection theme:


We usually see two types of legacy:

  • Descending Legacy
  • Ancestral Legacy

That’s basically legacy, going in both directions.


This refers to the legacy a character leaves for their descendants.

The 7th and final season of The West Wing.

The Bartlet Administration is coming to an end, and in their final year the staff is consumed by what their legacy will be. How much more can they accomplish before they run out of time? How can they best leave their mark before it’s all over? What shape will they leave the county in for the next administration?

This is a big theme for the season and some definite “descending legacy.”


This refers to the legacy a character inherited.

The 7th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

“The Slayer” is a mantel that Buffy has inherited. It’s a legacy. The Slayer memories and strength are passed down from generation to generation. This legacy, and its roots, are the main focus of the season. Particularly, how The First Evil is trying to destroy it.

Legacy moves in both directions. When crafting your story for season 7, you want to incorporate at least one. Or do both, why not? Buffy did.

At the end of season 7, Buffy shares her inherited power with every potential Slayer in the world. She passes the power on to the next generation all at once. It was her ancestral legacy, and now she is sharing it with her descendants.