Interview with Screenwriting Guru Robert McKee (2012)

Robert McKee’s book Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting has become a Bible of sorts for aspiring screenwriters. In this hour-long, wide-ranging interview from Big Think, McKee talks about the writing craft and the difference between writing novels, plays, and screenwriting. McKee speaks with candor and acknowledges that most of what is made is crap, and most writers need to write 10 bad screenplays before they can write a good one. He doesn’t have nice things to say about M. Night Shyamalan and his ilk who he thinks are good writing craftsman but have nothing to say. McKee believes film storytelling is at a dead end and that Hollywood movies are becoming more and more expensive and conservative, as most contemporary screenwriters are regurgitating ideas from the past and are not doing anything new. McKee jumps on the television renaissance bandwagon giving high praise for shows like The Sopranos and Damages, and he suggests that good writers should go into T.V. because that’s the future of storytelling. At the end of the talk he briefly addresses his representation by actor Brian Cox in the 2002 film Adaptation which was written by Charlie Kaufman.

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