(No Need To) Know Thyself

Some teachers make screenwriters feel like they need psycho-analysis before they can write anything worthwhile. I used to agree. Now I’m confused. In any case, claiming that no quality writing can happen without deep introspection seems wrong. It was Joss Whedon who got me thinking about this. During his talk at the Sydney Opera House … Read more

23 Reasons For Close-Ups

To conclude our series on Cinematic Storytelling, last week Mystery Man examined the origins of and opinions about close-ups. Today, in the 10th and final episode, we look at 23 visual examples and their dramatic reason. To examine beauty / ugliness: To illuminate a glance we would not have seen (as in Lady Snowblood): To … Read more

Best o/t Web 5 Dec

:: The Disney fairytale has an unhappy ending :: Feeling and revealing your characters :: The essential nature of setting :: The dream of making a movie :: Chris Nolan thinks all of your Inception theories are stupid :: Should Pixar should win a best picture Oscar? :: Goals define the plot :: ‘Star Trek’ writers have broken the story for sequel :: Screenwriter’s … Read more

Video: Robert McKee On Formulaic Writing

When McKee speaks, many listen because he likes to be blunt. Here he seems to go against the likes of Michael Hauge, who place certain turning points at certain pages or percentages of the script. But the Queen Bee Guru gets it wrong, too…

At some point during this video, McKee says

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” was in seven acts.
It could be seven, eight, nine acts structures,
in “Speed,” if you counted the major reversals
in a chase film like “Speed” it’s probably nine.”

Thereby he ignores the difference between a sequence and an act. This is not helpful. As a matter of fact, the more I hear McKee, the more I wonder whether he actually has much practical advice to offer for screenwriters.

What do you think?

With thanks to Louise Lee Mei and Niels Abercrombie.

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