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4.6 out of 5 stars
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2001
Having taken Mr. McKee's course, and read the book, I give him only three stars here primarily because he writes in a way that will frustrate most beginners (I've seen this) and convince the gullible that he is the master of the story universe.
In fact, what he has here is fine, workable material. But it is presented more clearly elsewhere. I suspect he writes in such a prolix style to foster the impression that he sees what other do not. This, of course, is good marketing.
With regard to the oft mentioned Syd Field, he was there first, and with Chris Vogler you have stuff that is of equal or greater value, especially for the beginner.
I sold screenplays before I took McKee's course, and have written fiction bestsellers afterward. Of all the books I've read on the craft, his was the least accessible. I think I really only learned one thing from his course that I use (it is a good thing, don't get me wrong, but stands alone).
If you're an experienced writer, you might find something of value. If you're just getting started, I'd be very wary. Hollywood is filled with McKee acolytes. Be an original instead.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 1999
I'm a professional writer and thought I had found a gold mine with this book. I should say that I'm a playwright, not a screenwriter, and that may affect my opinion. But it's hard for me to imagine a more formulaic approach than that given by Robert McKee here. Though McKee acknowledges that cinematic masterpieces often break with convention, he spends hundreds of pages laying out rules for exactly how a film should be structured, exactly where various plot points should occur, exactly where they should be resolved. He even tells you how to construct sentences! At times he also gives advice I question; for instance, he says to avoid such directions as WE HEAR, WE SEE, and SMASH CUT, all of which I've seen in professionally produced teleplays. As the book went on I found myself thinking of exceptions to the rules put forward by McKee. I can't think of a more smothering experience than trying to create a screenplay using these mountains of rules.
In my view, McKee focuses on structure at the expense of content and substance. *What* the writer is saying seems less important to him than *how* he or she is saying it. If I wanted an exhaustive reference on how to structure a screenplay so that it will be exactly what Hollywood is used to seeing, this might be a book I'd turn to. But I was hoping for something more inspired.
I'm not including my name because I've seen how a couple of other reviewers were pounced on when they criticized this book. I *will* try some of the other books they mention.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2003
Robert McKee's resume as a screenwriting guru is impeccable. Personally I find his style to be far too rigid for my tastes. Still, I keep this book as a resource because McKee provides hundreds of examples to of how to write a scene and create a screenplay sequence. Overall, this book is good for the left brained folk, not so great for the right brained folks
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2004
Aside from learning the mechanics of writing, read this book to appreciate the great purism and passion that Robert Mckee holds for the craft. McKee pulls out all the stops here, especially with regards to genre and characterization. Good Stuff.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2014
He's good, but he's got nothing on John Truby and his Anatomy of story book.
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