McKee , Truby, Hauge, Vogler or Trottier



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  • McKee , Truby, Hauge, Vogler or Trottier

    I was in the screenwriter's chat room last night and there were some heated arguements about whose book is better, which guru is a waste or great , 3 acts vs 4 acts, etc.

    which Author or style do you like and why


  • #2
    I've never read Truby, Hauge, Vogler or Trottier.


    • #3
      They're all a waste of time.


      • #4
        I prefer Hauge and Vogler, along with lots of produced screenplays.

        For me, it's similar to the process of driving a car. I watched my parents drive for 16 years. But someone still had to break it down for me.



        • #5

          Do you truly believe that an aspiring writer can learn nothing from any of the above or are you just trying to be controversial?


          • #6
            Jeff -- that is simply my opinion. I realize I'm in the minority.


            • #7
              Script gurus

              I agree with Crash to a point--but I think it truly depends upon what you're looking to gain by attending one of these seminars.

              This topic came up somewhere else around here recently and it eventually led to the question "can these guys teach writing?"

              In a word, no. You either have it or you don't, and if you do, well, you probably don't need them, and if you don't, well, you don't need them then either.

              I attended McKee several years ago and was bored to tears. I mean, I studied literature and writing for four years in college and this was just a summation of that (side note: McKee recites his book verbatim. No room for questions, free thinking or jumping into hypotheticals. You're just as well to buy his book on tape...and it's cheaper).

              On the other hand, I find these types of things inspiring in other ways--when I attend IN PERSON. I find myself taking notes on all kinds of OTHER things and brainstorming ideas that have nothing to do with the seminar in question. Same with the speakers at Scriptwriter's network, who for the most part, end up questioned about very basic things that any beginning screenwriter should already know. Same with other seminars and gurus I've heard. But these things get me thinking about other things and next thing you know I've completed a rough outline for a story or put together a marketing plan for a script...

              I found Vogler's book interesting from a creative writing perspective, but again, I think you either know these are the elements in successful screenplays or you don't. I'm not familiar with the others mentioned in the subject of this posting.

              But again, I have to say this: I don't think anyone who can't write will get anything from any of these people. Those who can...probably not either because as a marketing schtick, each of these "gurus" has to focus on something different which leads newbie writers to focus on the most mundane things like page count, brads, fonts, and capitalization. They end up confused by "Negation of the Negation" and so forth. If you're a storyteller, you do this without naming it, period.

              The three most productive things I've ever done were:

              1) I took a screenwriting class through UCLA. It forced me to write. I turned in pages each week and got a dead-on accurate and sometimes harsh but always encouraging response to what I was doing. It was wonderful.

              2) I interned in story departments.

              3) I read a lot of bad scripts, as an intern, a reader for contests and for production companies.


              • #8
                Re: Script gurus

                I still think reading scripts and breaking them down scene by scene is the best way to do it.

                Look to see how the writer gets out Backstory, exposition, emotions. Find the conflict in every scene. Familiarize yourself with what conflict looks like and sounds like. How does the writer get us to know his character? What choices is the character faced with?

                For me, breaking down scripts is so much more productive than sticking your nose in a "how to" book written by a man who never "has done".


                • #9
                  "They're all a waste of time."

                  Crash, do you say that having read them all?


                  • #10
                    I recommend the following books. They don't deal so much with the craft of writing but I find their personal struggles and anecdotes far more inspiring and educational than gurus rehashing some Greek philosophy and using Star Wars or Chinatown as the basis of their thesis.







                    • #11
                      I've read almost every screenwriting book that has come out over the last three or four years, including everyone mentioned above.
                      You know, they're fun to read and all that, but I can't say they've taught me as much as watching films, reading scripts of produced films I've seen and haven't seen, and also the contest scripts I'm reading now.
                      You just can't distill it down to some formula. This is me only, and I'm sure that some people really take to this @#%$. It did, in the beginning, help me learn how to format though.
                      However, I've never found a book that could help me become better at re-writing, and that's what it's all about, the rewriting.
                      My opine only.


                      • #12
                        Oh yes. Just like every writer who started out, I drowned myself in how-to-books. I even listened in on about half of Mckee's seminar. I'll even go so far as to admit that when I was reading these books, it made me feel like I was "in the loop."

                        But ultimately, in retrospect, the only thing I really learned from them was format. Which I could have easily learn from reading other scripts, but I didn't have that kind of access to them then.

                        Hey man, this is just me. I didn't learn a damn thing about writing from these guys. I've been saying this since day one, so it should come to no surprise to anybody.

                        I can't fault someone for reading or buying them, cause I did the same thing too at one point. But if you ask me if they're worth anything, I'll say no. On a generous day, I'll say they're worth very little.


                        • #13
                          You take what you need and disregard the rest.

                          Like MM, I found myself wishing McKee's seminar would just end. Everyone else in town swears by it - but I took it a couple of years ago and it was rehashing the most basic of basics - just with complicated terms. (McKee's people comped me... then wanted me to sit in a special seat up front so that I could be pointed out as a pro writer talking thae class - I sat in back instead.) I don't know why we need the term "image system" when we have the perfectly good term leitmotif - this stuff just adds to the confusion.

                          Most of these guys cover the basics - stuff you can figure out by watching a lot of movies (I did), but sometimes it might be useful to know what to look for when you're watching the movies. I usually suggest Hauge's book to writers just starting out because it covers the basics AND tells you where to set the margins.

                          But once you know the basics, there are still craft elements. You can watch a thousnd movies and read a thousand scripts and figure out how to create a plot twist that works or how to avoid OTN dialogue - but why not read a book that shows you a method that works? That gives you a clue as to what to look for when you're reading all of those scripts.

                          I have a shelf of screenwriting books - all published after my first script was produced. Many were a waste of money (stuff I already knew) and the rest had one or two interesting things in them. I figure I'm never too old to learn.

                          Nothing beats reading scripts, though.

                          - Bill


                          • #14
                            While I do think you either have "it" or not, I think if that "it" isn't developed and honed, you'll never write at your full potential.

                            Part of that is reading scripts, studying movies, getting feedback, etc. and I think reading books and attending seminars by those who know screenwriting is a good way to spend one's spare time when not drinking beer and doing other important things...especially when starting out.

                            As long as I'm learning, I'm taking another small step forward.

                            We learn from each other and some are better teachers than others. And unlike me, some people really do know what they're talking about.

                            People can have a great knack for creative writing, but not know the fundamentals of creating a great story. I've always looked at this like very few writers, even successful ones, become "masters" at understanding storytelling. But there are some who know a great deal and have a knack for TEACHING those important things.


                            • #15
                              Re: Script gurus

                              1) I took a screenwriting class through UCLA. It forced me to write.
                              -- Mocean, interesting, you mean, you wasn't really interested to write before you took the class? Or it just gave you a boost?

                              Me -- no books, no classes, no seminars, I attended the screenwriting panels in Austin though but to that point I had 3 finished scripts. I've read some plays by Chechov and Tolstoy in school and after, the plays are very close to screenplays.
                              I learned the format from the websites and the theory class was over.

                              Sure, all of you can say that my scripts are unsold thus they are drek, written by an ignorant person. But if to believe to my readers it's not so.

                              But I'm not saying that the all books are useless. Maybe, I'll read some one day, after I finish that script.