McKEE’S TEN COMMANDMENTS     of SCREENWRITING                                  )                                          ...
1. THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE CRISIS ORCLIMAX OUT OF THE PROTAGONIST’S HANDS   (OR, NO ‘DEUS EX MACHINA’ ENDINGS).
1. Deus Ex Machina = NO     FOR SCREENWRITING: If the world’s about to end,     let it. No “And then I woke up.”     FOR P...
2. THOU SHALT NOT MAKE LIFE EASY  FOR THE PROTAGONIST (OR, NOTHINGPROGRESSES EXCEPT THROUGH CONFLICT).
2. Conflict makes the world go ‘round.     FOR SCREENWRITING: Your hero has to overcome     hardship, and if it’s going to ...
3. THOU SHALT NOT USE FALSE MYSTERY            OR SURPRISE.
3. Keep it real.      FOR SCREENWRITING: Your payoff has to be a real      PAYOFF.      FOR PLANNING: Know your target wel...
4. THOU SHALT RESPECT THINE AUDIENCE.
4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T    FOR SCREENWRITING: Your audience isn’t dumb.    Don’t treat them like they are.     FOR PLANNING: Know...
5. THOU SHALT HAVE A GOD-LIKEKNOWLEDGE OF YOUR UNIVERSE.
5. Be the master of your domain.     FOR SCREENWRITING: It’s about knowing 1. the     fictional realm you’re creating as we...
6. THOU SHALT USE COMPLEXITY RATHER        THAN COMPLICATION.
6. Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?     FOR SCREENWRITING: Just because a lot’s going     on doesn’t m...
7. THOU SHALT TAKE YOUR CHARACTERS       TO THE END OF THE LINE.
7. FIN     FOR SCREENWRITING: The story isn’t over until     your hero has faced the gravest challenge     possible (withi...
8. THOU SHALT NOT WRITEON-THE-NOSE DIALOGUE.
8. Cornball cliches need not apply.     FOR SCREENWRITING: Show it, don’t say it.     FOR PLANNING: Show it, don’t say it.
9. THOU SHALT DRAMATIZE THINE EXPOSITION.
9. Start with a bang.     FOR SCREENWRITING: Start big and immediately.     Your inciting incident should be, ideally, on ...
10. THOU SHALT REWRITE.
10. Writing is rewriting.      FOR SCREENWRITING: If your first draft’s the      same as what you see on screen, you’re doi...
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McKee's 10 Commandments of Story, and why they matter for Brand Strategy

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A work-in-progress presentation connecting Robert McKee's 10 Commandments of Screenwriting (copyright Robert McKee) to Brand Strategy.

Published in: Education, Technology

McKee's 10 Commandments of Story, and why they matter for Brand Strategy

  1. 1. McKEE’S TEN COMMANDMENTS of SCREENWRITING ) stra tegy d b ran e r for y matt y the (and wh
  2. 2. 1. THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE CRISIS ORCLIMAX OUT OF THE PROTAGONIST’S HANDS (OR, NO ‘DEUS EX MACHINA’ ENDINGS).
  3. 3. 1. Deus Ex Machina = NO FOR SCREENWRITING: If the world’s about to end, let it. No “And then I woke up.” FOR PLANNING: Your PRODUCT is your protagonist, and IT must be responsible for any benefit/conflict you’re inciting. Don’t pull something completely foreign or disparate out of thin air.
  4. 4. 2. THOU SHALT NOT MAKE LIFE EASY FOR THE PROTAGONIST (OR, NOTHINGPROGRESSES EXCEPT THROUGH CONFLICT).
  5. 5. 2. Conflict makes the world go ‘round. FOR SCREENWRITING: Your hero has to overcome hardship, and if it’s going to be interesting to your audience, it can’t be easy. FOR PLANNING: Easy is a cop out. Yes, you can check a box, but without some conflict, your content’s not going to resonate.
  6. 6. 3. THOU SHALT NOT USE FALSE MYSTERY OR SURPRISE.
  7. 7. 3. Keep it real. FOR SCREENWRITING: Your payoff has to be a real PAYOFF. FOR PLANNING: Know your target well enough to know what’s going to resonate. If it’s something that’s NOT, don’t do it.
  8. 8. 4. THOU SHALT RESPECT THINE AUDIENCE.
  9. 9. 4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T FOR SCREENWRITING: Your audience isn’t dumb. Don’t treat them like they are. FOR PLANNING: Know exactly who your target is, and learn to love them (or at least appreciate them).
  10. 10. 5. THOU SHALT HAVE A GOD-LIKEKNOWLEDGE OF YOUR UNIVERSE.
  11. 11. 5. Be the master of your domain. FOR SCREENWRITING: It’s about knowing 1. the fictional realm you’re creating as well as your hometown and 2. understanding your audience’s reality outside of a darkened movie theater. FOR PLANNING: It’s all in the details. Do your research and know the minutia of your target’s existence.
  12. 12. 6. THOU SHALT USE COMPLEXITY RATHER THAN COMPLICATION.
  13. 13. 6. Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated? FOR SCREENWRITING: Just because a lot’s going on doesn’t mean your story’s compelling. There’s more to it than simple action. FOR PLANNING: Live and die by your key idea. A strong one can be the difference between complex and complicated.
  14. 14. 7. THOU SHALT TAKE YOUR CHARACTERS TO THE END OF THE LINE.
  15. 15. 7. FIN FOR SCREENWRITING: The story isn’t over until your hero has faced the gravest challenge possible (within the realm of your story) and a final, IRREVOCABLE conclusion has been reached. FOR PLANNING: Complete the circle across all touchpoints. Don’t leave questions unanswered.
  16. 16. 8. THOU SHALT NOT WRITEON-THE-NOSE DIALOGUE.
  17. 17. 8. Cornball cliches need not apply. FOR SCREENWRITING: Show it, don’t say it. FOR PLANNING: Show it, don’t say it.
  18. 18. 9. THOU SHALT DRAMATIZE THINE EXPOSITION.
  19. 19. 9. Start with a bang. FOR SCREENWRITING: Start big and immediately. Your inciting incident should be, ideally, on the first page of your script, but can be no later than the third. If you haven’t figured out a way to grab ‘em by then, you’re screwed. FOR PLANNING: Make your mark at the start.
  20. 20. 10. THOU SHALT REWRITE.
  21. 21. 10. Writing is rewriting. FOR SCREENWRITING: If your first draft’s the same as what you see on screen, you’re doing it wrong (or you are possibly in an alternate universe because that has never, ever happened in the entire history of cinema). FOR PLANNING: Let your idea sit, and come back to it. Collaborate, get feedback. Tweak.
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