STORY – Day Three

So, it’s over.

Today was just as long as the previous two, but parts of it dragged more for me. This was simply because more of today’s topics dealt with things more specific to screenwriting than novel writing. Not that the ideas presented were not useful; they just really emphasized the screen over the page. Still, ideas about dramatizing exposition and events, minimizing and pacing dialogue, and developing subtext have real application in all storytelling.

But it was less directly applicable to me, and so seemed to go on longer.

Also, the food court at the venue was closed today, meaning the lunch break was a little more frantic, which meant it wasn’t as much of a break.

I sound like I’m complaining, don’t I? That’s not my intent. But three long days of lectures – even lectures on a subject you love by a fantastic speaker – are very tiring.

The viewing of Casablanca was everything I had hoped it to be. It illuminated a number of key concepts, and showed how the pieces fit together. 

It also highlighted what a deep, rich movie it is.

Tomorrow, I’m going to take a look at my list of what I wanted out of the seminar and see if I got everything – tonight, I’m still a little to close to it. And tired.

I do want to say three last things.

First, what Robert McKee teaches is not difficult on a conceptual level. Learning the form and structure and techniques he teaches isn’t hard. But it opens up a whole depth and breadth of possibility and complexity – once the basics are down, you’ve got a lifetime ahead of you of working to master the form.

Second, Mr. McKee’s seminar (and book) will not fix your writing. It won’t fix anything. But it gives you a set of tools that you can use to fix your writing. It’s not magic. It’s a recipe for hard work to get better. Work that you have to do yourself.

And by you, I mean me.

Third, I shook Mr. McKee’s hand and thanked him for the seminar, and told him how much I enjoyed it. And he said to me, “Do something great with it.”

So, y’know, no pressure.

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