Robert McKee – Story

Robert McKee is a creative writing instructor who is widely known for his popular “Story Seminar”, which he developed when he was a professor at the University of Southern California. McKee is the author of a “screenwriters’ bible” called Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting. Online, McKee has a blog and a writers’ resource website called “Storylogue”.


00:00 Trailer.
02:17 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
05:04 Brian’s introduction.
05:59 A love affair with London since the 1960s.
09:55 The need for good roles for fine actors.
16:30 New era of the long form story.
20:44 Moral conflict is a compelling fascination.
22:51 How the reader or viewer may empathise with a particular character.
27:33 Story is character and character is story.
30:41 Story is a metaphor for life and equipment for living.
35:16 Trump is a bullshitter.
37:26 Why Robert chooses to write encompassing the mediums of page, stage and screen.
40:43 The challenges for emerging authors, screen and play writers.
44:51 What Stanislavski meant by ‘The art of themselves or themselves and the art.’
49:51 The misconception of Holywood.
51:32 What people are looking for in attending Robert’s 3 day teaching marathon seminar.
57:41 Does the creative personality need nurturing or to be given realistic truths?
1:00:41 How writers can help humanity in today’s confusing world.
1:04:20 What motivates Robert’s pace of work.
1:10:35 How close was Brian Cox’ portrayal of Robin in Adaption?
1:13:37 The new TV and Web series that excite Robert and give hope for the future of writing.
1:21:33 Robert’s words of advice from his experience.
1:22:47 Brian’s summing up.

Robert McKee Website
Robert McKee on Twitter
Robert McKee blog
Robert McKee on Wikipedia

Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screen Writing
Dialogue; The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage and Screen

Topics discussed:
Adaption (film)
Academy Awards
Emmy Award
Writers Guild of America Award
The Simpsons
Casablanca (film)
Royal National Theatre
Boscastle, Cornwall, UK
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)
Game of Thrones (TV series)
Vikings (TV series)
The Wire (TV series)
Breaking Bad (TV series)
The Sopranos (TV series)
Six Feet Under (TV series)
Mad Men (TV series)
Poetics (Aristotle)
A Tale of Two Cities
Booker Prize
Pulitzer Prize
American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Being John Malkovich (film)
Big Little Lies (miniseries)
Horace and Pete (web series)
Ray Donovan (TV series)
Better Call Saul
Black Mirror

People mentioned in this episode:
Peter Jackson
Kirk Douglas
Nicholas Cage
Steven Pressfield
Brian Cox (actor)
Laurence Olivier
Agatha Christie
Virginia Woolf
James Joyce
Kenneth Burke
William Shakespeare
Donald Trump
Judith Regan
Tennessee Williams
John Osborne
Ingmar Bergman
Konstantin Stanislavski
Anton Chekhov
Al Pacino
Arthur Miller
Lillian Hellman
Terence Rattigan
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Sir Michael Caine
Terence Stamp
Louis C.K.
Gene O’Neill
Jackson Pollock

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11 Comments on "Robert McKee – Story"

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At 1:14 Mr. McKee quotes an Internet series just after quoting “Big little eyes” but I can’t here the name properly, let alone being able to spell it so I can look for the series. I would be mighty grateful to anyone who would take the time to help me out.

Greg Bowyer

The series is called Big Little Lies on HBO.


Louis CK’s internet series? – Horace & Pete


Can anyone tell the music score which is playing at 0:02 to 1:03?


Loved this interview. Thanks for this extended footage.

Gaynor London

Thanks Brian! I’d love to have been at Mr McKee’s weekend workshop xx

Jason Gibb

Very good guest choice 🙂


A GREAT guest choice… One of the best interviews I’ve seen in a long while… 🙂

Maria Apostolopoulou

The story about storytelling… Brian you are doing excellent job! thank you so much


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