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Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles

At a Glance

  • Legendary book on the principles of storytelling for the screen
  • Provides a clear vision of form, not formula, as the key to dynamic screenwriting
  • McKee’s character vs. characterization and problem/solution insights will change the way you write

For more than 15 years, Robert McKee's students have been taking Hollywood's top honors. His “Story Seminar” is the world's ultimate seminar for screenwriters, filmmakers, and novelists.


Now, Robert McKee's Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting reveals the award-winning methods of the man universally regarded as the world's premier teacher on screenwriting and story. With Hollywood and publishing companies paying record sums for great stories, and audiences clamoring for originality, McKee's Story gives you the strategies you need to win the war on clichés.


Story is about form, not formula. McKee's insights cut to the hidden sources of storytelling, the decisive differences between mediocrity and excellence.


It goes well beyond the essential mechanics of screenwriting and is packed with examples from such film classics as “Casablanca” and “Chinatown.” Then, scene by sequence by act, he illuminates the principles of story design that take a writer's vision to brilliant realization. Storyelevates the craft of screenwriting to an art form.


Take it from the pros; if you're serious about your writing, this is the thing that will help you get your story from page to screen.


Product Details
  • Publisher: ReganBooks
  • Date available: 01/01/2010
  • Publication date: 12/16/1997
  • Return policy: 30 days

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Robert McKee


Robert McKee, a Fulbright Scholar, is among the most widely known screenwriting lecturers. He teaches an entertaining, inspiring and information packed 4-day, 32-hour intensive class to sold-out audiences around the world. McKee’s former students include 36 Academy Award winners, 164 Academy Award Nominations, 164 Emmy Award winners, 500 Emmy Award Nominations, 29 WGA Award winners, 77 WGA Award Nominations, and 16 DGA Award winners, Pulitzer prizes, and Whitbread prizes.


McKee continues to be a project consultant to major film and television production companies such as 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, MTV, as well as to major software firms (Microsoft, etc.), NASA, and television news departments. In addition, several companies such as ABC, Disney, Miramax, BBC, PBS, Nickelodeon, Valve, Ubisoft and Paramount regularly send their entire creative and writing staffs to his lectures.


He was profiled by Bob Simon of 60 Minutes for CBS news, and CNN recently did a profile and review of McKee and the Story Seminar. Since 1984, more than 50,000 students have taken McKee’s course, at various cities around the world: Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Sydney, Toronto, Boston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Helsinki, Oslo, Munich, Tel Aviv, Auckland, Singapore, Barcelona, Stockholm, São Paulo, Colombia, and many more. The notable writers and actors such as Geoffrey Rush, Paul Haggis, Akiva Goldsman, William Goldman, Joan Rivers, Rob Row, David Bowie, Kirk Douglas, John Cleese, Steve Pressfield, among many others have taken his seminar.


Famed New Zealand movie director, Peter Jackson is a graduate of the McKee seminar. In 1990, Robert McKee was brought to New Zealand by the NZ Film Commission, and delivered his famous STORY Seminar in Auckland and Wellington. In the audience were Peter Jackson & Jane Campion. The seminar had a major influence on Jackson, who went on to make Heavenly Creatures, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and King Kong.


In the box office hit and the critically acclaimed film ADAPTATION by Charlie Kaufman released on January 10, 2003, Robert McKee’s character was portrayed by the Emmy Award-winning actor Brian Cox, who was McKee’s personal choice for the role.


In 2000, McKee won the International Moving Image Book Award for his book Story (Regan Books/HyperCollins). The book, currently in its 19th printing in the United States and its 14th printing in the UK, has become required reading for film and cinema schools at Harvard, Yale, UCLA, USC, Tulane universities and in major universities around the world. The book was on the Los Angeles Times best-seller list for 20 weeks. It is translated into over 20 languages.