Don’t throw away the baby with the bath-water. As with any screenwriting book, there are some good things to be discovered in Robert McKee’s “Story”. But there’s also a lot that can be misleading, confusing or even just plain wrong. And for young writers who take his words as gospel, McKee can pose a real danger to finding your voice, truly understanding your character, and discovering the organic structure of your screenplay.
I believe that a big part of that is because McKee teaches screenwriting from a critic’s perspective, rather than that of a writer. He teaches rules (he’d call them “principles”) extrapolated from finished screenplays, rather than the process that the writer uses to get there. In McKee’s bluster, it’s easy to forget that screenwriting is a complex art, not a simple A-Z process to which he holds the lock and key.
Here’s a Vanity Fair article that points out some of his flaws, particularly related to his discussion of the horror genre:
Read the Vanity Fair article.
Thanks to Joshua Dysart for sending this article my way!
Photo Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times