I started reading Robert McKee’s book ‘Story’ a few years ago. I’m still not done reading and taking notes on it, despite having already written and produced a few screenplays.
What Is Screenwriting Really About?
Screenwriting is the most difficult thing in all of filmmaking. It’s tough to be a good director and it’s also hard to be a good actor or producer. But by far the toughest trade in all of filmmaking is screenwriting. A person starts with almost infinite possibilities and somehow, they end up with what McKee calls a ‘small knowable world.’ That’s a lot of decisions to make. More decisions than anyone else has to make I promise.
You also have to know about all the principles of storytelling and McKee covers all of the bases in his book. He doesn’t talk so much about formatting, just use Final Draft and read other screenplays to get a better understanding of how to format. Formatting a script is usually the last thing done when writing, after having spent months writing and rewriting a treatment. Most importantly, a motion picture can either succeed or fail based on the quality of writing alone. Hundreds of books and websites available are dedicated solely to learning and improving screenwriting, but Robert McKee’s book ‘Story’ is the best in my opinion, and I’m not alone in that assessment.