Blog Post

Robert McKee and Syd Field Hate Dramatica

Sep 27th, 2017

In 2015, Julian Hoxter, an Associate Professor of Screenwriting in the Cinema Department of San Francisco State University, published The Pleasures of Structure: Learning Screenwriting Through Case Studies.

I skipped to the good parts:

The use of story development software is controversial even within the screenwriting industry, however. Robert McKee is a critic of Dramatica: "I came in, took a look and said, 'This is ridiculous. Only someone without talent, a computer nerd, would think it was useful. They were not happy with me."

Of course. Because you didn't even take the time to consider what it was they were saying. You discounted the entire theory purely out of ignorance and panic.

For his part Syd Field rejected programs--despite subsequently being involved with a similar piece of tech for Final Draft: "It's all horrific. I don't understand a word of what they're saying."

Horrific. Ridiculous.

Inflammatory superlatives based on a foundation of irrational thought.

Like the skeptics of old, Robert McKee and Syd Field want writers to stay locked in the Dark Ages of writing and narrative structure.

I don't.

Heretical, perhaps. But when you think about it--progress is often confused for blasphemy.

Probably no coinicidence that stories with a Goal of Progress point to the Preconscious as a Consequence of failing to achieve a successful outcome.

In other words, only an Antagonist stuck in the impulsive repsonses of the Preconscious would use words like "ridiculous" and "horrific" to Prevent Progress and motivate people to Reconsider a new way of thinking.

I'm comfortable being the Protagonist on this one.