Our lives are driven by stories.
Whether it’s the stories we tell ourselves or the stories others tell us, stories are far more than sheer entertainment. Storytelling is an integral part of what it means to be human. Understanding your stories, deconstructing the art of storytelling, and studying its underpinning principles are endeavors worthy of your time and attention.
Enter today’s guest Robert McKee—a modern Aristotle of story and master of the form who wrote the definitive book on the subject, called, of course, STORY.
Robert is a Fulbright scholar, the author of five books on storytelling including Dialogue, Character, Action, and Storynomics, but he is best known as the most sought-after screenwriting teacher in the world. His students have collectively won 70 Academy Awards, 250 Emmy Awards, and 100 WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards. He’s worked with notable directors and actors such as Peter Jackson, William Goldman (arguably the greatest screenwriter of all time), David Bowie, Steven Pressfield, Diane Keaton, Julia Roberts, Geoffrey Rush, and all of the writers at Pixar.
“Great stories don’t tell you what you ought to do—they show you what is.”
– ROBERT MCKEE
My conversation with Robert centered on his philosophy of story, what stories are, why they’re important for humanity and so much more, including the incredible behind-the-scenes story of how Succession’s Brian Cox ended up portraying McKee in the Oscar-nominated film Adaptation—one of my favorite movies of all time. We also discussed his friendship with Steven Pressfield, his take on modern media, and ways we can all better understand and take ownership of our story—and the stories around us.
The visually inclined can watch it all go down on YouTube. And as always, the audio version streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Robert Mckee is an absolute screenwriting legend. It was a complete and total honor to host him here in the studio on the cusp of completing his very last teaching tour.
This episode is worthy of a deep listen—I hope you learn as much as I did.
Peace + Plants,
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- Connect With Robert: Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram
- Book: STORY
- Book: Character
- Book: Action
- Book: Dialogue
- Book: Storynomics
- The New Yorker: The Real McKee
- Harvard Business Review: Storytelling That Moves People
- YouTube: Adaptation (7/8) Movie CLIP – Wasting McKee’s Time (2002) HD
- Big Think: Why most modern movies suck
- Derek Sivers: Notes on Story by Robert McKee
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