Book: Story by Robert McKee
The first time I heard of Story by Robert McKee it was 2008 and I was hanging out with my good friend/editing mentor Nick Khoo in Australia. He didn’t give me much details about the book but said, “You have to read this.” When I saw how thick the book was, I knew I wouldn’t bother.
Last year I was in Burbank visiting another editor friend when the book found me again. I walked in to a used book store, and there it was, in a pill of film books.
I often think books find their way to me at the right time. I finally finished the book and it has taught me so much about storytelling, humanity, God, the struggles of life, and how we long for story.
“…I slowly came to realize that stories mean much more than words and pretty pictures.”
Learning the art of storytelling has taught me how to better understand my story.
“Deep within these characters and their conflicts we discover our own humanity. We go to the movies to enter a new, fascinating world, to inhabit vicariously another human being who at first seems so unlike us and yet at heart is like us, to live in a fictional reality that illuminates our daily reality. We do not wish to escape life but to find life, to use our minds in fresh, experimental ways, to flex our emotions, to enjoy, to learn, to add dept to our days.”
I often see my life as I would see a movie, knowing that today’s struggles will build my character.
“True Character is revealed in the choice a human being makes under pressure- the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.”
“..choice under pressure will strip away the mask of characterization, we’ll peer into their inner natures and with a flash of insight grasp their true characters.”
It was fascinating to learn how important conflict is to the story. In the long run, it is the story. How the character over came, how the battle was won…
“Life is conflict. That is its nature.”
“…conflict is to storytelling what sound is to music…as long as conflict engages our thoughts and emotions we travel through the hours unaware of the voyage…if conflict is kept on hold for too long, our eyes leaves the screen. And when our eyes leave the screen they take thought and emotions with them”
“The Law of Conflict is more than an aesthetic principle; it is the soul of the story. Story is metaphor for life, and to be alive is to be in seemingly perpetual conflict.”
As a writer, editor, photographer – an artist, its our mission to connect with the audience..
“If you give me your concentration, I’ll give you surprise followed by the pleasure of discovering life, its pains and joys, at levels and in directions you have never imagined…Insight is the audience’s reward for paying attention.”
“We go to the storyteller with a prayer: Please let it be good. Let it give me an experience I’ve never had, insight into a fresh truth. Let me laugh at something I’ve never thought funny. Let me be moved by something that’s never touched me before. Let me see the world in a new way. Amen.”
“If the audience expects to happen happens, or worse, if it happens the way the audience expects it to happen, this will be a very unhappy audience. We must surprise them.”
We all have stories inside us and sometimes sharing them takes courage and honesty. There is no telling the power a story can have on the listener.