Posts tagged ‘Robert McKee’

September 12, 2013

Quote of the Day: Robert McKee

Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world.

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July 25, 2013

Quote of the Day: Robert McKee

If the story you’re telling is the story you’re telling, you’re in deep shit.

September 19, 2011

Quote of the Day: Robert McKee

Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world.

September 7, 2011

Quote of the Day: Robert McKee

When talented people write badly, it’s generally for one of two reasons: Either they’re blinded by an idea they feel compelled to prove or they’re driven by an emotion they must express. When talented people write well, it is generally for this reason: They’re moved by a desire to touch the audience.

August 22, 2011

Because Robert McKee Said So: Notes from the Master

I recently participated in a free teleconference put on by the ISA with the legend himself, Robert McKee. Robert had a proliferation of valuable advice to dispense over the hour-long Q&A session, and I did my best to take notes on what I found to be his most interesting points. Here are some highlights:

  • Robert was repeatedly annoyed by questions about the “biggest” mistakes or the “best” way to do something because he doesn’t believe in pre-packaged writing tools. (However, he did indulge the group with some examples of “big” mistakes, “better” ways, etc.)
  • One major mistake that beginning writers tend to make is being impatient. Don’t put an explosion on the first page and then go back and explain what happened in subsequent pages. It’s sloppy storytelling and experienced readers won’t be impressed. Take the time to establish your characters and your world in a beautiful way.
  • On the topic of mixing genres, Robert said that mixing genres can help dimensionalize characters – if all they do is fall in love, they’re not going to be an interesting character. We also mix genres to try to create a film that hasn’t been seen before. Everything has been done – no one is going to invent an entirely new genre. Robert thinks that innovative films of the future will come from writers merging genres.
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August 9, 2011

Quote of the Day: Robert McKee

Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.

April 20, 2011

Using Voice-Over Effectively

This article from the Script Lab on the top ten films to utilize voice-over gives some great insight into how to approach voice-over in your own film. There are times when voice-over should be avoided like the plague and other times when it might be essential to solid storytelling, as this article will illustrate:

In Adaptation, Robert McKee (played by Brian Cox) cries, “God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends. God help you. That’s flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character.”

To a certain extent, he is correct. A lot of films use voice-over to no real effect. They tell you what you already see on the screen. Or they explain something that, with a little bit of brainpower and imagination, you could have worked out for yourself. Or they inform you about something that would have been better off left alone, for the audiences to stew on. But no. Some filmmakers just think we’re idiots and insist that every single bit of information is spoon-fed to us.

“Everything I have written is genius. I don’t want them to miss a single, clever bit of it. But they’re morons, so I’ll shove in some voice-overs to really hammer it on home.” I’m not saying that all filmmakers who use voice-over in this way are that patronizing; most of them probably don’t even realize they’re doing it. It’s just safer for them to assume that we won’t be able to figure it out.

But then there are some screenwriters and filmmakers that’ll use voice-over to compliment the work, and without it, I would argue that the film would not be as good. Their use of voice-over challenges the viewer, in some cases even upset the viewer. Either way, they will expect the viewer to do something with this narration, rather than just mindlessly breathe it in.

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April 12, 2011

An Interview with Master of Story, Robert McKee

Robert McKee, author of the widely renowned Story is set to give a session at the Great American Pitchfest in June. The Pitchfest recently interviewed him on the art of pitching, and here is what he had to say:

The Great American Screenwriter: There are a lot of pitching venues out there — and you have an exhausting schedule. What enticed you to speak at the Great American Pitchfest? There are a lot of mistaken ideas and foolishness around the whole business of pitching. A lot of people are setting themselves up as experts in this business and there’s a lot of information about that coming back to me from my students. There’s a sense of fallacy circulating about pitching and the way one goes about it and what they’re looking for. Look, if a company says they’re seeking romantic comedies but they hear a great and compelling pitch for a smart thriller, they’re not going to ignore that smart thriller. They want great material.

No matter what the genre, the key is to pitch well. But the hardest thing for a writer is to understand their own story. Don’t underestimate the essence of the story. In my session for the Great American Pitchfest we’ll discuss three important components for pitching.

1. You’ll discover the truth of your story. If you can’t find one you may be in a state of self-deception. You may not have a story.

2. How to judge whether you’re ready to pitch or not.

3. I will dissuade you from the notion that a pitch is a song and dance. You can razzle dazzle and bullshit your way through a pitch, but these development execs know how to pick a story out of all that song and dance. So just tell your story. This all goes back to knowing what your story truly is. You need to know the essence of it.

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