Monday, November 13, 2006

I laughed, I cried, I fixed my script

This past weekend I attended the Robert McKee story seminar. You may recall that a few posts ago I wondered whether this course would be worth the extremely hefty price tag. Now I have my answer, and it's a resounding yes.

Much -- perhaps even most -- of the material was familiar to me already, but spending three days in a lecture hall listening to McKee talk about it (and draw graphs about it, and periodically rant and rave about it, and on one occasion sing about it) really helped me internalise it and apply it rigorously to my own work. I came out of day one with at least two ideas for improving the episodic, arcless second act of the script I've recently been redrafting.

The seminar was a long slog -- three days running 9 AM to 8:30 PM with three coffee breaks and an hour for lunch -- but McKee is such a good performer that the audience's attention seldom wandered. I use the word 'performer' deliberately. This was nothing like a university lecture. There were impressions, jokes, sociological asides, and random stories about what happens to women when Paul Newman walks into an ice cream parlour. The guy held my attention for a total of almost thirty hours, even at the end when I was literally dizzy with exhaustion. (I slept til 1 in the afternoon today, incidentally.) And he helped me fix my ailing script in the process. Were I wearing a hat, I would doff it repeatedly.

It seems not quite all my fellow students were as impressed as I was, though. On day three I overheard a couple of young American women complaining that the seminar was overlong, that McKee was repeating the same points over and over, and so on. Then one of them said, "I suppose if I were actually, you know, someone who writes scripts, I'd find it more useful."



Anonymous Phillip Barron said...

Great news, Christine. Is the script finished now?

What the hell was that woman doing at a script writing seminar if she doesn't write scripts? Some people have far too much time on their hands.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

The script is the rom com I blogged about a couple of weeks ago -- it's currently halfway through draft 6, which was meant to be a structure draft but turned into more of a dialogue and character draft. So no, it's not finished, but I think draft 7 (which will be a structure draft) ought to go much more smoothly now.

There were a fair few directors, producers, etc. at the McKee seminar, presumably so they could better understand the scripts they work with. I think the people I overheard worked in children's TV. But yes, it's ludicrous to go to a scriptwriting seminar and then complain that it's just all about scriptwriting.

12:46 PM  

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