An International Feather in the Cap of Sarasota County’s Film and Entertainment Office
By Kimberly Heath-Carrico
The International “GURU” Robert McKee; visited our community arriving in Sarasota, October 18th, 2018, in preparation for his 3-day intensive “STORY” seminar. “STORY” is normally held in city’s like London, Beijing, Paris and LA; we were grateful he chose to accept our invitation to do the seminar here. The event October 19-21, 2018 was held at the Morganroth Auditorium, in the Larry R. Thompson Academic Center, at Ringling College of Art and Design. Mr. McKee graciously held a private talk for local students, in conjunction with “Studio Labs” at Ringling College’s “Sound Stage B”, attended by the students some in the Ringling College Film program headed up by Brad Battersby, “2017- Mentor of the Year” by Variety Magazine. The crowd was participatory and engaged as the teacher painted a picture of the good, the bad and the ugly in becoming a REAL writer. He pulls no punches, you put in the work and it hurts for about 10 years, you get rejected more than you will ever get accepted, such is the life of a beginning artists in the word form; and if your good, one day it hurts less.
Mr. McKee’s brand “STORY” inspires the opening of the proverbial pen in the mind of students and professional writers alike. The unique and targeted methodology is used to unleash the thinking writer into putting pen to paper(keyboard) with one intention, “Write the Truth”. The seminar “STORY” delivered a powerful punch to the writers in attendance leaving them thirsting for more. A writer is forever changed in his/her thinking about the way they tell stories and how they get the audience to buy in to the narrative. To that end; the goal is to eat, drink and live to write a great story. Writers often look for the eureka moments, the easy road, but it is just “hard work” reiterates McKee throughout his teachings, the illusion is unfolded like a fine linen table cloth: torn into shreds, only to be stitched back together seamlessly. McKee does a deep dive into the many great works of epic storytelling, specifically, Casablanca; he uncovers the weaving of a complex protagonist, supporting characters, subplots and the unexpected: together in a magical prose is a signature McKee’s “STORY” seminar gift, unlike any other in this world. The jaw dropping analogies, the unhinging verbalization of what we often don’t say for the words jar our very souls, that is the McKee way, He brings you to a place of discomfort and shatters all the methods you have employed in your previous writing, all to make you a better version of your former self.
He is truly a master of the craft; his persona makes it a show and learning experience wrapped in a bow, it leaves the attendees feeling the desire to pull the wrapper off and get to work. McKee offers no apologies for his style and stern nature but he; without promise, delivers on your redemption for the previous reality you believed. The Av-ant guard of the writing world need McKee, he teaches the truth is the only thing that matters, no matter the discomfort in the notion.
Secretly, this writer hope that the change experienced by the attendees, presents itself in some local film production synergy and a nod by the Academy, no matter how trite that seems to others, this writer hopes it is a dream realized.