Writer delivers script, goes in for meeting. "I'm missing the initiating incident on page 23," is a note that you're very likely to hear in our Story-centred world. Rarely, "Why are we making this?" and certainly not, "Are we challenging any ideas about form?" Recently, a playwright told me that he was advised by one major theatre to read McKee's Story. This is a book about writing a Hollywood movie! It's frustrating for us writers. But it's disastrous for you as an audience member or reader. Gradually, our culture is turning into the equivalent of the McFlurry. And that's got to be bad.Judge McKee for yourself: take a look on YouTube at his take on Citizen Kane and Chinatown.
So here's the solution. A book burning. It's not something I'd normally advocate and not something the Guardian would, I imagine, endorse. But I think we have to do it. Writers, producers, editors, if you have a copy of Story - get in touch. We can make a lovely bonfire in my back garden. We'll imagine a richer, more exciting culture. And that's good for everyone, isn't it?
Monday, June 25, 2007
In Media Guardian, playwright Mark Ravenhill reveals his fears about the growing influence of script-writing guru Robert McKee, author of Story. Ravenhill quite likes the book itself, he says, but worries about how it is being used.