Robert McKee was a figure of fun in the movie Adaptation, and there are lots of people who don’t like his brash style and cultish seminars. Nevertheless, his book Story stands at the top, in my opinion, of the ever-increasing pile of screenwriting guides.

A website called Big Think got McKee to monologue into an interrotron for more than an hour. This is probably as close as I’ll ever come to one of his $650 master classes.

Here’s a few notes from the opening minutes…

– Novelists like inner conflict, playwrights examine personal relationships, films have characters in conflict with their social and physical world
– Indie filmmakers who are interested in inner conflict should be writing novels instead of making boring movies
– Don’t get into film or television because you are in love with yourself in that industry, but because that industry is what suits your talents
– Films like Avatar unleash imitators; young writers think they can at least do better than garbage like Transformers
– There are individual crafts within writing. Exposition is a craft – how do draw reader into story rather than burden with info. This takes years of practice, trial-and-error.
– From description you can see the visual imagination of the writer, from the dialogue you can see how well a writer understands subtext

[Thanks to reader TC]

On the Vanity Fair Robert McKee profile
Charlie Kaufman is my Robert McKee