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Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting Hardcover – November 25, 1997
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"...the best guide on writing you can find." -- Laurence Chollet, The Record, Northern New Jersey
"In difficult periods of writing, I often turn to Robert McKee's wonderful book for guidance" -- -- Dominick Dunne, Novelist
"McKee is the Stanislavski of writing." -- -- Dennis Dugan, Writer, NYPD Blue
"[Story is]an excellent instruction manual on the craft of storytelling." -- Austin American-Statesman
"to the people who write, direct and produce for Hollywood - or desperately wish they did - Bob McKee is a cross between E. F. Hutton and Sun Myung Moon. The man speaks, and people start to take furious notes - he is now the undisputed screenwriting king... for the legendary screenwriting boot camp that he runs. Thirty-thousand aspiring screenwriters have already taken McKee's 30-hour, three-day course..." -- Newsday
Top Customer Reviews
I was so impressed with the book, I signed up for the seminar. McKee is entertaining, sure. But as I sat there with my well-marked copy of the book in hand (shocked, by the way, at how few others had bothered to read the [$$$] book before forking over at least ten times more for the seminar...I mean these are writers, right...and writers supposedly read?), it became painfully clear that McKee was simply marching through the text, page by page, using exactly the same examples, usually verbatim. If you are intelligent enough and sufficiently committed to your craft to read Story closely (and I mean closely, with a pen and highlighter), the seminar is a waste of time and money. Other than a scene-by-scene analysis of Casablanca and McKee's personal thoughts on politics and religion, it simply does not go beyond the book in any meaningful way.
Michael Ende's novel first came to my attention after I had seen the wonderful Warner Bros film in 1984. Just a teenager at the time, I sought out the book and read it. It was fantastic, a book I intended to keep for the rest of my life. But it was a yellowing, cheap paperback re-released off the back of the movie. So one day trawling through the catalogues at Amazon, it occurred to me to check out if the book was still in print. It was. And how.
When my copy arrived, I hadn't realised the effort that had been put into its print. The cover art is crisply reproduced with firm hardbacking, but the real surprise was to be found inside; the text is printed in alternating purple (for Bastian's story) and green (for the events within the storybook itself). It's one of those books you want to stick on the shelf and never touch again because you want to preserve its beauty, although well-thumbed books take on an appreciated beauty of their own. I love this book, I would've paid twice the price for it.
Hope you enjoy it as much.
NOTE: Michael Ende's novel is longer than the film, which was based only on the first half of the book. The translation is the original one by Ralph Manheim. For trivialists, Ende died in 1995, Manheim in 1992.
That said, Story by Robert McKee is the cream of the crop. The book is beautifully written, tremendously insightful. I have gleaned more from this book than any of the others. Anyone with a pen and paper or typewriter can write a screenplay. For those who wish to create a masterwork with feeling characters in compelling situations, this book is a must read. It explains the why and the how, and reveals what we as screenwriters struggle toward: a good story, well told. My only gripe was that I didn't want it to end. So I have started reading it again. My work is decidedly better thanks to Robert McKee's book. Now I fear that any books I read from this point will pale in comparison. I hope that I find another gem, and am proven wrong, but to save others from this fate, I urge you to read this book last!
McKee, however, is not a member of the Syd Field school. Field gives writers rules; McKee offers principles. This is a critical difference. McKee believes in the craft and art of screenwriting above all else. Consequently, Story has a different tone to Field's Screenplay . If you look beneath the surface of Story, you'll find that McKee's principles and views are far more flexible than anything Vogler or Field has offered the screenwriter.
While primarily focusing on what he calls Arch-Plot (Classical Hollywood Narrative) he also accepts the existence of other, alternative, forms. He also hails the greatness of those alternative narrative films throughout the book. These alternative narratives are not, however, the focus in Story. McKee believes that an aspiring writing needs to master the classical story form before adventuring elsewhere. His goal in the sheer bulk of Story is to educate, not indoctrinate, the reader about all aspects of Classical Narrative.
For many readers this will come across as a conventional approach to screenwriting. That it is. Unlike many other (traditional) screenwriting books, though, this is underpinned by McKee's belief in the craft above all else. He doesn't want you to just absorb, but rather think. about what he is saying. If you don't understand how a traditional story works, and how to tell one well, what chance in hell do you have of telling your multi-passive-protoganist, anti-plot, 2-act, time-jumping magnum work?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Overcomplicates the storytelling process. I know a lot of people who swear by McKee. And this tome is interesting. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by Rob Cornell
I am just exploring writing in this context and this book provides the spectrum of necessary knowledge from broad concepts to details of 'how to'. Read morePublished 20 hours ago by IHM Illinois
I'm a fiction writer and found this to be an excellent resource. There's very little in here that doesn't apply to ALL writing. Read morePublished 4 days ago by T. Threadgill
This was my favorite book growing up and it is still my favorite book today. And this cover is quite honestly the best cover available. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Sarah
This book is very complete. It tells what to do and why to do it. I'm glad I read it.Published 11 days ago by Carlos Allende
This is one of my favorite stories and I was so excited to see that Amazon had this novel at such a low price. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Xiomara L Iglesias
If there is one book to get for needing that push into writing or screenplays, THIS IS THE BOOK.
He has mastered the bottom line of what to do, and what not to do.
One of my favorite stories as a kid, and I was happy to finally get a hardback of it to read for the 6th time. I highly recommend it.Published 21 days ago by Virginia Hutchings