Monday, June 25, 2007

Cults and Culture

Today Mark Ravenhill writes about 'the cult of Story' led by master-class script guru Robert McKee and followed by film industry professionals world wide, and expresses the thoughts of the Bitch exactly:
It's a sinister conspiracy no one's talking about... It's spreading through movies, television drama, fiction writing for adults and children. It's beginning to creep into the theatre. It's a cult with thousands of glassy-eyed members.
Rather than relying on skill, taste and discretion in the difficult task of script-reading, he tells us, script editors and directors, schooled in McKee's writing-by-numbers formula, will say things like this to a writer: 'I'm missing the initiating incident on page 28'. Challenging forms are dying from our culture as a result.

Hooray for Ravenhill, I say. And he's right about the silence of everyone else: McKee has been going for years now, for years now we have had endorsing flyers about his seminars from the Writers' Guild, and a generation of industry professionals have his words seeping from their pores. Why has no one, to my knowledge, challenged it before? A cult indeed.


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Tania Hershman said...

Exactly! I went to a McKee seminar not so long ago, and in the end I was only there for a day before I came down with flu, but I was shocked, appalled, and frankly bored by the whole thing. It's a rant by an ageing bloke who thinks it's funny to say "fuck" a lot and tell us his views on religion and politics. No-one is allowed to interrupt, he pontificates for 12 hours straight, and it isn't anything that a good fiction workshop won't teach you. He's raking in the cash, you have to admit that he's a smart businessman. Of course, he's never actually made a film himself. But his scripts have been optioned... apparently.