Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.

— Robert McKee

The most interesting Robert McKee quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you

All writing is discipline, but screenwriting is a drill sergeant.

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Life is chaotic and meaningless, and you have to find your meaning.

You must find the answer, you can't just live. That's the point of story: helping you find your meaning in life.

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Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.

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Writing is a marathon, not a sprint.

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God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends.

God help you. That's flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character.

14

A fine work of art - music, dance, painting, story - has the power to silence the chatter in the mind and lift us to another place.

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Influence is just persuasion in slow motion.

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Stories are the currency of human relationships.

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In a world of lies and liars, an honest work of art is always an act of social responsibility.

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The mark of a master is to select only a few moments, but give us a lifetime.

8

A culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling.

When a society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society.

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Stories build cultures by answering the big questions.

5

About Robert McKee

Quotes 67 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday October 16

Talent without craft is like fuel without an engine, it burns wildly but accomplishes nothing.

4

Story is about originality, not duplication

3

The dirty secret of art is you don't have to show people your bad writing.

That's what we have the delete key for.

3

Secure writers don't sell first drafts.

They patiently rewrite until the script is as director-ready, as actor-ready as possible. Unfinished work invites tampering, while polished, mature work seals its integrity.

3

Don't be didactic - don't write about poverty.

Write about poor people. When you dramatize their lives and let life and characters be your inspiration, you will express the 'idea' dynamically and without preaching.

3

The Law of Diminishing Returns is true of everything in life, except sex, which seems endlessly repeatable with effect.

3

The universal erosion of values has lead to the universal erosion of story.

3

Boredom is the inner conflict we suffer when we lose desire, when we lack a lacking.

3

Never sleep with anybody who has more problems than you do.

2

If you can't play all the instruments in the orchestra of story, no matter what music may be in your imagination, you're condemned to hum the same old tune.

2

The principle of Creative Limitations calls for freedom within a circle of obstacles and restricted boundaries. Talent is like a muscle: without something to push against, it atrophies. So we deliberately put obstacles in our path - barriers that will inspire us. We disciple ourselves as to what to do, while we're boundless as to how to do it.

2

The material of literary talent is words; the material of story talent is life itself.

2

Story is morally neutral. It can express profound truth or propaganda. The two greatest political storytellers of the 20th Century were Winston Churchill and Adolph Hitler. Because storytelling is a form of persuasive jujitsu, and because world is full of black belt storytellers, the corporate leader has to train both his offensive and defensive moves

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Aristotle said time is a measure of change, and this movie is about changing in time, through time, while remaining the same person. That's a philosophical paradox and a moral dilemma. But 'Casablanca' says it's possible. You can have both. That's what it means. And that's my wish for you: that you would have both.

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When talented people write badly, it's generally for one of two reasons: Either they're blinded by an idea they feel compelled to prove of they're driven by an emotion they must express. When talented people write well, it is generally for this reason: They're moved by a desire to touch the audience.

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When people want to sound smart, they add syllables to words, words to sentences, sentences to paragraphs, paragraphs to books. They try to make up in quantity and complexity what they lack in quality. That's bullshit! They're just hiding their bullshit!

0

In life two negatives don't make a positive.

Double negatives turn positive only in math and formal logic. In life things just get worse and worse and worse.

0

No matter our talent, we all know in the midnight of our souls that 90 percent of what we do is less than our best.

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Oh, by the way, I tend to use a lot of profanities. I do that for a reason: I like it.

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We realize we can't go around saying and doing what we're actually thinking and feeling. If we all did that, life would be a lunatic asylum. Indeed, that's how you know you're talking to a lunatic. Lunatics are those poor souls who have lost their inner communication and so they allow themselves to say and do exactly what they are thinking and feeling and that's why they're mad.

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We rarely know where we are going; writing is a discovery.

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Deus ex machina not only erases all meaning and emotion, it's an insult to the audience. Each of us knows we must choose and act, for better or worse, to determine the meaning of our lives...Deus ex machina is an insult because it is a lie.

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Story is metaphor for life and life is lived in time.

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In comedy laughter settles all arguments.

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Most of life's actions are within our reach, but decisions take willpower.

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Angry contradiction of the patriarch is not creativity;

it's delinquency calling for attention. Difference for the sake of difference is as empty an achievement as slavishly following the commercial imperative.

0

No civilization, including Plato's, has ever been destroyed because its citizens learned too much.

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When you do enough research, the story almost writes itself.

Lines of development spring loose and you'll have choices galore.

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Do research. Feed your talent. Research not only wins the war on cliche, it's the key to victory over fear and it's cousin, depression.

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Leaders use story to author the future.

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Of the total creative effort represented in a finished work, 75 percent or more of a writer's labor goes into designing the story designing story tests the maturity and insight of the writer, his knowledge of society, nature, and the human heart. Story demands both vivid imagination and powerful analytic thought.

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It seems to me that the civilized human being is a skeptic someone who believes nothing at face value.

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Good story' means something worth telling that the world wants to hear.

Finding this is your lonely task...But the love of a good story, of terrific characters and a world driven by your passion, courage, and creative gifts is still not enough. Your goal must be a good story well told.

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Stories are how we remember; we tend to forget lists and bullet points.

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Night after night, through years of performing and directing, I've stood in awe of the audience, of its capacity for response. As if by magic, masks fall away, faces become vulnerable, receptive. Filmgoers do not defend their emotions, rather they open to the storyteller in ways even their lovers never know, welcoming laughter, tears, terror, rage, compassion, passion, love, hate--the ritual often exhausts them.

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I cannot be a character in a bad movie. I can't be.

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We often put off doing something for as long as possible, then as we finally make the decision and step into the action, we're surprised by its relative ease. We're left to wonder why we dreaded it until we realize that most of life's actions are within our reach, but decisions take willpower.

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