Why? I just spent 36 of the last 60 hours at the Robert McKee Story seminar.
I went into the weekend with fairly low expectations for at least four reasons. (One may well question why, then, I paid the exorbitant entry fee… but that’s a whole other topic…)
The reasons for my lowish expectations…
1. I don’t have the time right now to spend 36 hours in a classroom, so I thought I’d spend the whole time chomping at the bit to get out of there and actually write, rather than hearing about writing.
2. I’ve been to so many conferences this year, I thought I was “craft workshopped out”.
Not that I think you can ever learn too much about writing, or stop learning… But I do think that once you hit a certain limit over a period of time, you need a chance to absorb, to apply what you’ve learned to your work, to see if those lightbulbs will stay on or burn out, to grow as a writer, to develop new problems that you might work out if you go to a great workshop.
3. I own McKee’s book and while I admit I’ve only skimmed most of it, I’ve read the first third (maybe quarter) quite thoroughly, and based on that, I didn’t think he’d have anything to say I hadn’t heard or read in one way or another from someone else.
4. I have this theory that McKee’s popularity has more to do with cult induction techniques than what he actually has to say. In other words, when you put a large group of people in a room for 12 hours a day, 3 days in a row, with breaks so short that you barely have time to pee or eat. And Oh! Something I didn’t realize until I got there the first morning. Twelve hours a day. One food break. That’s right. One. We got 3 fifteen minute breaks (each barely long enough to pee, because of the lines for the toilets) and a single one hour break (barely long enough to eat, because there’s no place to eat close by, so you spend most of the time, using the toilet, running somewhere to get food, waiting for your food, and paying for your food, leaving only maybe 3 minutes to actually eat it…)
But I’m a convert. Yes, the man is an arrogant, misogynistic, uncouth dinosaur who thinks his opinions (including many which have nothing to do with writing) are fact. But he’s brilliant.
Or maybe I’m just under the cult spell….
I expect the drunk writer talk blog will be dedicated to McKee talk this week…
Must sleep now….