001 – Curious About Filmmaking Podcast: Robert McKee on Writing Professionally, Screenplay Competitions, Guardians of the Galaxy and Much More

Robert McKee

Robert McKee

Robert McKee’s impact on the film industry is undeniable. Over 100,000 writers have have taken his STORY course (also a book)  which was partially re-enacted during the Oscar nominated film, ADAPTATION written by Charlie Kaufman based on the book ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean. Robert’s on screen persona was deftly acted by Brian Cox. His focus on being true to genres and teaching writers how to approach writing as a serious profession is sometimes overshadowed by his infamous reputation as a world-class curmudgeon. I found him to be nothing of the sort. He was gracious, knowledgeable, and funny during our approximately 60 minute conversation and Q&A with over 400 teleconference listeners.

My favorite part of the interview happened during his comments on the box office smash, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. His insights on that movie are alone worth listening to this podcast.

(Listen or subscribe on iTunes or on Stitcher)

By the way, this is my inaugural “Curious About Filmmaking Podcast” show. I am very excited to share this podcast online and I hope that you like it. There are many more to come!

That all said, unfortunately the audio quality of the this particular show is lacking. I had some technical issues that resulted in a less than ideal audio file master. I am working on getting this fixed for future episodes. I do think that the content on this podcast will hopefully overcome any issues you might have while listening to it.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back for future episodes!

(Listen or subscribe on iTunes or on Stitcher)


Show Notes and Links from Episode 001


  • Stories trump the power of religion and science to help people learn how to live their lives.
  • Robert talks about the one main trait possessed by all successful writers
  • The importance of deciding to be a professional writer and what that means
  • Take your story to the “end of the line” to fully satisfy your audience
  • Correctly employ contradiction and the “dark side” to avoid weakness
  • The “stupid” question that so many writers ask
  • What do 100,000 awful novels written in the 19th century have to do with today’s movies?
  • A produced script may not be the best way to judge your work or career
  • Why starting on character development v. story development may be right for your script
  • Does a “Whodunit?” use “False Mystery” to set the stage of the story?
  • When “Cheap Surprise” makes a story work
  • Learn how Robert McKee’s book “Story” is enhanced by going to one of his seminars
  • Hear what Robert thinks about screenplay competitions (Hint: He’s entered them!)
  • Find out if Robert McKee loves or hates Guardians of the Galaxy and what writers can learn from it
  • The case for genre study and rewriting bad films that were already made
  • Using your taste as a writer to craft seamless set ups and payoffs in your story
  • Writing “the organic way” is a good thing, right?

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