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Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting | [Robert McKee]

Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting

Robert McKee's screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress, and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Quincy Jones, Diane Keaton, Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, John Cleese, and David Bowie are just a few of his celebrity alumni. Writers, producers, development executives, and agents all flock to his lecture series, praising it as a mesmerizing and intense learning experience.
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Publisher's Summary

Robert McKee's screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress, and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Quincy Jones, Diane Keaton, Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, John Cleese, and David Bowie are just a few of his celebrity alumni. Writers, producers, development executives, and agents all flock to his lecture series, praising it as a mesmerizing and intense learning experience.

In Story, McKee expands on the concepts he teaches in his $450 seminars (considered a must by industry insiders), providing listeners with the most comprehensive, integrated explanation of the craft of writing for the screen. No one better understands how all the elements of a screenplay fit together, and no one is better qualified to explain the "magic" of story construction and the relationship between structure and character than Robert McKee.

©1997 Robert McKee; (P)1997, 2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The man speaks, and people start to take furious notes; he is now the undisputed screenwriting king." (Newsday)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (580 )
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4.3 (235 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Justin Milwaukee, WI, USA 10-04-07
    Justin Milwaukee, WI, USA 10-04-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"

    I found this book to be very helpful. In fact, after I listened to it, I bought it to have handy as a reference. This book can be difficult to listen to as it contains a lot if intricate information that is best absorbed on the page; however, the audio version did its good by introducing me to the book and getting my creative juices going.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Albuquerque, NM, United States 09-02-12
    Steve Albuquerque, NM, United States 09-02-12 Listener Since 2005
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    "Good abridged version"

    Ignore S. Buck's review that states this is only 5 chapters of the book. It is the entire book in an ABRIDGED version, as the description states. It is just broken up into 5 Audible "chapters" that do not relate to the chapters of the book. Doubtful that this person actually listened to the audiobook.

    In any event, it is a good intro to McKee's book, and may encourage you to buy the complete print edition for a fuller experience of McKee's teachings.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven L. Taylor Toronto, ON Canada 10-05-09
    Steven L. Taylor Toronto, ON Canada 10-05-09 Member Since 2009

    StevenLeonardTaylor.com

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    "Required Listening"

    All writers should at least read/listen to Robert McKee's Story. The 6+ hours were incredibly valuable to me, I've had his tome on my shelf for years, its sheer size continued to put me off. Over the course of a week I was able to polish this off and I'm wishing I had bought the audio version years ago.

    McKee is a great narrator which makes the audio book fly by. His understanding of storytelling is masterful and I think most writer will get something from it.

    Highly recommend it.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drew Wolsey 05-14-07
    Drew Wolsey 05-14-07 Member Since 2007
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    "Great book"

    An essential read for anyone thinking about writing a screenplay. Filled with very useful advice and specific examples to back up that advice. I have listened to it 3 times.

    My only complaint is that the book was not longer. I could have used even more detail.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chet new york, NY, USA 10-19-09
    Chet new york, NY, USA 10-19-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Love TV Movies? Must have!"

    My personal opinion is that I highly recommend this book and have heard him lecture many times before. He explains in detail the principles of writing and the importance of structure. This book is good for anyone one who is a movie fan to someone that’s in or interested in the entertainment business, (not just writers, actors, producers, directors, agents, not matter the craft you use or where you studied. This book gives you a great understanding of the process of story and for your average Joe, you will appreciate films much more than you did before with a better understanding of what the author is telling you and better understanding of what the filmmakers, TV producer’s, and even actors did with the story and how they made it happen. He is very funny and he is intriguing to listen to. His former students are amongst the successful writers and others in the industry.
    He is in NYC right now and has a seminar this coming weekend. Robert’s last seminar for the next two years in the states this weekend, so if you are interested and can or cannot make it get the book either way. He knows his stuff and its great to see Audible adding books that have real educational/practical/fun value. If you like film, this book or audio book is necessity to have! It is worthwhile and the price is great for the information you get.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Brown Deer, WI, United States 09-12-07
    Charles Brown Deer, WI, United States 09-12-07 Member Since 2005

    I make my living as a truck driver. I fill the space between deliveries with audio books.

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    "Search IMDB for Robert McKee"

    McKee's Story has become so popular and influential that it's easy to forget the the author has never sold a screenplay for the sort of blockbuster he claims his approach will help you create. That's not to say he's a hack or a dud, he certainly has experience in the story telling business, but if his magical insights were as spot on as his confidence would have you believe, he would be making a living selling scripts instead of giving lectures on how to write scripts.

    That said, I think Story is the sort of book that ALL writers should read at some point. Fiction, non fiction, screenplay, and novel writers will learn some very concrete techniques to add energy to their work.

    If you haven't seen the movie Adaptation, it features a fictionalized McKee.

    In addition to Story, I recommend "The Hero's Two Journeys" it's another concrete breakdown of what makes a story work (especially in Hollywood) by two guys who DO have all kinds of writing credits.

    24 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark New York, NY, United States 02-20-12
    Mark New York, NY, United States 02-20-12

    markfason

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    "A bit of a slog"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The information is fantastic but, Robert McKee's reading voice is a bit of a snooze. I found myself easily distracted like I was in an Earth Science lecture during my freshman year of college.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Orlando, FM, USA 04-04-07
    Jonathan Orlando, FM, USA 04-04-07 Member Since 2007
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    "Inspiring"

    Mr. McKee is detailed about what works and blunt about what doesn't; no beating around the bush.

    This book is precisely what it claims to be.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Buck Glen Oaks, NY USA 02-15-11
    Stephen Buck Glen Oaks, NY USA 02-15-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Only 5 Chapters"

    Although I have a tremendous amount of respect for author Robert McKee, and own the hardcover and Kindle version of his book Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and The Principles of Screenwriting, I am VERY dissatisfied with the audio book version of his work.

    This audio book version of Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting is abridged and only includes five chapters. The print and electronic versions of the book include nineteen chapters.

    Considering the cost of this audio book, compared to the cost of the print and electronic editions, I personally feel that if you purchase this title (with only five chapters) you are throwing your money away because it lacks too much valuable content.

    18 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carlos Santa Monica, CA, USA 09-01-06
    Carlos Santa Monica, CA, USA 09-01-06
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    "First rate!"

    I will be taking Mr. Mckee's lecture in LA in a few weeks and I am really looking forward to it. Now that I have listened to his book in his voice, I am even more excited about the lecture. This audio was excellent. He truly is the world expert in screenplay writing. The concepts and techniques that he mentions in the audio are crisp and exciting and I now feel more prepared, confident and skilled to begin my own screenplay. I am expecting the book soon and will review the concepts and graphs before the lecture, and I will also listen to the audio again, because I think it's worth at least one more listening session.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • Teemu
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    4/19/10
    Overall
    "Just great"

    It is great that Robert Mckee narrates this sensational how-to-REALLY-write-working-screenplays audiobook. I am not just sure it is comprehensive, since I doubt that 6 hours wouldn't fully deal with the 450 pages that are in the book. I have the book as well but have listened to this audiobook already twice since I haven't had thoroughly read the book. Excellent while cycling/commuting to home/work.

    As a keen wannabe film-artist, I'd say the STORY itself is the greatest book about the issue I've ever met. Pure facts, great in-depth examples and no-nonsense. This guy so knows what he is talking about. Book 5 stars, audiobook 4.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Suhas Ramakrishnan
    5/29/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A must-listen for writers of all hues"
    What made the experience of listening to Story the most enjoyable?

    The narration and the content. I have listened to the entire book several times over the past few months and I found every word and every sentence worth committing to memory.


    What other book might you compare Story to, and why?

    I am not sure I know of another audio book quite like this one that distills the essence of story writing in such an enjoyable and educative manner. However, I have read other writing self-help books but they don't come anywhere near this one.


    Have you listened to any of Robert McKee’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Unfortunately, so far I haven't found any others.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely. I actually almost did.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is a vault of information for aspiring writers about the elements of a story and techniques of story writing with detailed examples taken from well known and memorable films like Casablanca and Kramer vs Kramer. The part where Mckee describes a Casablanca scene beat by beat is worth committing to memory as an example of to write a tight scene.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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