Further to my previous post, here’s what the doyen of screenwriting teachers, Robert McKee, says in his book, Story:
“Imagine in one global day, the pages of prose turned, plays performed, films screened, the unending stream of television comedy and drama, 24-hour print and broadcast news, bedtime tales told to children, barroom bragging, back-fence internet gossip, humankind’s insatiable appetite for stories. Story is not only our most prolific art form but rivals all activities – work, play, eating, exercise – for our waking hours. We tell and take in stories as much as we sleep – and even then we dream. Why? Why is so much of our life spent inside stories? Because, as critic Kenneth Burke tells us, stories are equipment for living.”
McKee goes on to say: “Story isn’t a flight from reality but a vehicle that carries us on our search for reality, our best effort to make sense out of the anarchy of existence”.
I was fortunate enough to attend an intense three-day course with McKee a few years ago. Here’s what he wrote in my copy of his book: “To Tim, Write the truth.” I take this to be part of McKee’s crusade for stories with meaning and universal relevance – as opposed to the soulless material excreted from major film studios with an eye on revenue rather than story.