THE CURSE OF THE SCRIPTWRITING GURU
John Yorke
on the relationship between theory and practice in TV drama script development.

“First learn to be a craftsman; it won’t keep you from being a genius.” – Delacroix

Genre and following rigid screenwriting rules can make the story predictable, formulaic. A lot of people have turned against screenwriting theory. Charlie Kaufman has said that structure is useless. Guillermo del Toro gets very angry when people who throw Campbell and McKee at him.

Gurus demand blind faith to sell rigid rules. They refuse to take questions. It’s like a religious cult. They don’t want to explain anything, or ask why? (things should this or that way). It’s all demagogy.

Rules like ‘you have to have an inciting incident on page 11 and not on any other page!’ are ridiculous but there is a grain of truth in all the theories. Stories do have elements in common. We need to think why the rules are there. Read the rest of this entry »

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Notes from BBC’s TV Drama Writers Festival held in Leeds 30 June – 1 July, 2010. The festival was organised by BBC Writersroom.

In this post:

  • Writer for Hire: How do you get original work on screen?
  • ‘They Won’t Like That’: Do we all try to second guess the commissioners?
  • In Conversation: TV Drama Read the rest of this entry »