GENRE Seminars

  • LA GENRE Festival
  • HORROR DAY:  OCT 10, 2018
  • ACTION DAY:  OCT 11, 2018
  • LOVE STORY DAY:  OCT 12, 2018
  • COMEDY DAY:  OCT 13, 2018
  • TV DAY:  OCT 14, 2018
  • OSLO, NORWAY
  • TV DAY:  NOV 22, 2018

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Robert McKee’s GENRE Seminars

All writers are genre writers. Every story, no matter who creates it, flows from a tradition of core events, core characters, and core values with roots running through human time. The writer’s first task is to identify the genre, or combination of genres that will inspire his or her creativity. The second task is to master its possibilities. The third task is to satisfy its audience’s expectations while you take them into unanticipated pleasures.

At McKee’s GENRE Day Seminars, you will learn four essential genres: HORROR, ACTION, LOVE STORY, and COMEDY, and how they merge to create hybrids such as the ACTION/COMEDY (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY), or ROMANTIC COMEDY (BRIDESMAIDS). The final GENRE Day Seminar is TV SERIES Day, which focuses on the grand long form that draws from all four major genres.

FIND OUT WHAT KIND OF STORY YOU’RE WRITING.

HORROR DAY Seminar

The Art of Fear

“I don’t believe in God. But I do believe in Evil.”
– Dr. Arthur Arden in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM

Ours is an age of compound nightmares. The recent wave of successful of Horror films speaks to a society suffering tremulous feelings of vulnerability, constant fear and dread, helplessness, paralysis, frustration, and rage.

The aim of modern Horror is to expiate these emotions with a vicarious experience of damnation, of the fate worse than death. To do so, it uses both horror and terror. To horrify means to cause extreme repulsion; to terrify, to cause extreme fear. Or in the words of a renowned horror producer, “Not a dry seat in the house.”

This in-depth seminar delves into the darkness of this fascinating genre, providing the tools you need to create your own masterpiece that will terrify audiences for years to come.


 

Seminar Schedule

  • 9:00am – 10:50am – Lecture
  • 10:50am – 11:10am – Break + Q&A
  • 11:10am – 1:00pm – Lecture
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch Break
  • 2:00pm – 3:40pm – Lecture
  • 3:40pm – 4:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 4:00pm – 5:40pm – Lecture
  • 5:40pm – 6:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Lecture

 

  • 1. INTRODUCTION
  • 2. HISTORY OF HORROR
  • Horror Through the Ages
  • Contemporary Horror Films
  • Demographics
  • Definition
  • 3. THE PLEASURES OF HORROR
  • Dual Reality
  • The Seen and the Other
  • Perception of Horror
  • 4. THE COMPONENTS OF HORROR
  • The Protagonist
  • Women in Horror
  • How to Make a Monster
  • The Key to Horror
  • Three Basic Story Patterns
  • 5. THE THREE SUB-GENRES
  • 6. HORROR STORY CONVENTIONS
  • 7. TWELVE POSSIBLE CLIMAXES
  • 8. ANALYSIS
  • Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of AMERICAN HORROR STORY (Season 2, Episodes 4 & 5)

 

 

No events available...

 

ACTION DAY Seminar

The Art of Excitement

“There’s not enough time…”
— Agent Brandt to Agent Hunt in GHOST PROTOCOL

Drama itself is action, as per the Greek origin of the word, but the highly kinetic Action genre is a specialized and coded story form requiring deep awareness and discipline. But the Action Story is so hard to write well because it has been done so often. Audiences know their action stories, and clichés or missed moments of excitement will only disappoint.

Stories are about principles, not rules. This idea is no more obvious than in the Action genre. Thousands of years of storytelling tradition dating back to Gilgamesh have moulded and shaped the genres key conventions. You must understand these principles, whether you would use or break them, and the expectations of your audience in order to create great Action stories.

In this intensive session, Robert McKee will share the goals, tools and secrets of Action so you can capture and sustain the audience’s excitement.


Seminar Schedule

  • 9:00am – 10:50am – Lecture
  • 10:50am – 11:10am – Break + Q&A
  • 11:10am – 1:00pm – Lecture
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch Break
  • 2:00pm – 3:40pm – Lecture
  • 3:40pm – 4:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 4:00pm – 5:40pm – Lecture
  • 5:40pm – 6:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Lecture
 

  • 1. INTRODUCTION
  • The Love of Action
  • 2. THE SIX MEGA GENRES
  • Questions and Expectations of Content
  • 3. CORES OF ACTION
  • Value
  • Emotion
  • Event
  • Cast
  • 4. THE ACTION SET-PIECE
  • Turning the Story
  • Expressing Character
  • Use of Setting
  • Movement
  • 5. ACTION SUBGENRES
  • Action Adventure
  • Epic
  • Duel
  • Thriller
  • High Adventure
  • 6. ANALYSIS
  • Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL.

 
 

No events available...

 

LOVE STORY DAY Seminar

The Art of the Heart

“This kind of certainty comes but just once in a lifetime.”
– Robert to Francesca in THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

Feelings of love are genetically imposed on us in order to ensure reproductive success. Love behavior functions to attract, retain and reproduce with your mate. However, if love were simply a response to biological programing, any creature that mates for life must be in love. But can vultures, termites, and anglerfish love?

Genetics alone can never account for the complex emotional needs, profound desires, and romantic rituals that embrace human beings, all of which can be beautifully expressed via the delightful agony of the Love Story. This dedicated seminar will address the timeless codes of this ubiquitous genre, enabling you to identify and innovate its dramatic conventions. Robert McKee shares a lifetime of narrative insight into a story form that continues to drive publication and performance across books, films and TV.


Seminar Schedule

  • 9:00am – 10:50am – Lecture
  • 10:50am – 11:10am – Break + Q&A
  • 11:10am – 1:00pm – Lecture
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch Break
  • 2:00pm – 3:40pm – Lecture
  • 3:40pm – 4:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 4:00pm – 5:40pm – Lecture
  • 5:40pm – 6:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Lecture
 

  • 1. INTRODUCTION
  • 2. HISTORY OF LOVE
  • Ancient History
  • The Age of Chivalry and Romance
  • Romanticism
  • The Modern Era
  • The Anti-Romantic Age
  • Hunger for Romance
  • Timeless Love Stories
  • 3. THE NATURE OF LOVE
  • The Evolution, Chemistry and Psychology of Love
  • Romance: The Idealization of Love
  • Romantic Ideals of Western Culture
  • Romantic Love vs. Human Nature
  • 4. THE THREE COMPONENTS OF LOVE
  • Three Dimensions of Love Behavior
  • 5. THE SIX SUB-GENRES
  • 6. THE CAST
  • Character and Design
  • 7. TEN LOVE STORY CONVENTIONS
  • 8. ANALYSIS
  • Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

 
 

No events available...

 

COMEDY DAY Seminar

The Angry Art

“I’ve worn dresses with a higher IQ than you.”
— Wanda to Otto in A FISH CALLED WANDA

You know you’ve written a true Comedy when you sit an innocent victim down and pitch your story. Just tell them what happens, without quoting witty dialogue or sight gags, and see if they laugh. If every time you turn the scene they laugh, until by the end of the pitch you have them collapsed on the floor, you’ve written a Comedy. If not, you’ve probably written something else!

A Comedy is a funny story, an elaborate rolling joke of twist-filled events. While wit lightens a telling, it alone will not make a true comedy. Rather, wit often creates hybrids such as a Dramedy (BRIDESMAIDS) or the Crimedy (BEVERLY HILLS COP).

As Jack London once noted, comedy is the toughest, but also the most rewarding story form. This single day, deep dive into the form’s nature and potential will equip you to tackle almost half of the film world’s projected properties. Comedy Day is a rare opportunity to understand this core genre from the inside out.


Seminar Schedule

  • 9:00am – 10:50am – Lecture
  • 10:50am – 11:10am – Break + Q&A
  • 11:10am – 1:00pm – Lecture
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch Break
  • 2:00pm – 3:40pm – Lecture
  • 3:40pm – 4:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 4:00pm – 5:40pm – Lecture
  • 5:40pm – 6:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Lecture
 

  • 1. INTRODUCTION
  • The Love of Comedy
  • 2. IN PRAISE OF THE COMIC MIND
  • The Purity of Comedy
  • 3. COMEDY CONVENTIONS
  • Mood, Clarity, Endings and The Attack
  • 4. STYLISTIC SUBGENRES
  • High Comedy vs Low Comedy
  • Anger
  • Farce
  • 5. JOKE STRUCTURE
  • Design in Two Parts
  • Comic Techniques
  • 6. ANALYSIS
  • Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of A FISH CALLED WANDA

 
 

No events available...

 

TV SERIES DAY Seminar

The Art of Long-Form Storytelling

“I’m in the empire business.”
– Walter White in BREAKING BAD

The long form TV Series is the evolution of the epic poem, begging for the character and plot complexity grand and complex enough to sustain 100 hours of story. TV has also progressed further than the big screen in recognizing the importance of writers, giving them creative power and financial reward. Indeed, long form storytelling is an art unto itself. This is why McKee says that if he were a young writer, he would work in television.

Storytelling on television has entered a new era—its Golden Age. Robert McKee’s all-new TV Series Day brings you the tools and the knowledge to master the television’s long form storytelling challenges.

NOTE: On TV Day, Mr. McKee will show and analyze BREAKING BAD’s Season 4 finale “FACE OFF”. If possible, he asks everyone to watch all 62 episodes prior to the seminar. If you don’t have time, make sure to watch at least the Season 4 finale and a couple of episodes leading up to it.


Seminar Schedule

  • 9:00am – 10:50am – Lecture
  • 10:50am – 11:10am – Break + Q&A
  • 11:10am – 1:00pm – Lecture
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch Break
  • 2:00pm – 3:50pm – Lecture
  • 3:50pm – 4:10pm – Break + Q&A
  • 4:10pm – 6:30pm – Lecture
 

  • 1. INTRODUCTION
  • The Golden Age of Television
  • 2. LONG FORM STORY DESIGN
  • Types of TV Series
  • Levels of Conflict
  • Series Variations
  • Involvement + Interest
  • 3. LONG FORM CHARACTER DESIGN
  • Character Arcs
  • Characterisation
  • True Character
  • Dimensions
  • Desire vs Need
  • 4. BREAKING DOWN BREAKING BAD
  • Scenes, Sequences, Acts
  • Character Dimensions
  • 5. ANALYSIS
  • Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of BREAKING BAD: Season 4 Finale “Face Off”

 
 

TV DAY - Oslo (Fall 2018)

Begins: November 22, 2018    

Start Time: 9:00 am   End Time: 6:30 pm  

Robert McKee presents his popular TV DAY: The Art of Long-form Storytelling in Oslo, Norway. Please note that this is a one-day seminar.


 

CRIME DAY Seminar

The Art of Suspense

“This guy’s methodical, exacting, and worst of all—patient.”
— Detective Somerset to Detective Mills in SEVEN

Conventional Crime stories play upon the audience’s fears of lawlessness, violence, and death. The intellectual puzzles of creating and solving a perfect crime, breaking and scattering clues, and misleading attention delight audiences. But the Crime Thriller goes deeper. It reaches into the audience’s unconscious mind to arouse the gripping fear of a fate worse than death, one that would make you beg for oblivion. The key to this intense terror is the writer’s creation of an extreme offset in power between the victim protagonist and the ruthless spirit of evil lurking within the antagonist. The greater this imbalance, the greater the thrill.

This intensive day session will dismantle the conventions and techniques of one of the world’s most enduring dramatic forms, enabling you to both read this genre more profoundly and write your next story utilizing its inherent power.


Seminar Schedule

  • 9:00am – 10:50am – Lecture
  • 10:50am – 11:10am – Break + Q&A
  • 11:10am – 1:00pm – Lecture
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch Break
  • 2:00pm – 3:40pm – Lecture
  • 3:40pm – 4:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 4:00pm – 5:40pm – Lecture
  • 5:40pm – 6:00pm – Break + Q&A
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Lecture
 

  • 1. HISTORY OF THE CRIME GENRE
  • 2. THE SEVEN-STEP PROCESS
  • Invention/Solving the Crime
  • Nature of Clues
  • Planting/Hiding Clues
  • 3. CLUEING
  • 3 Means of Concealing Clues
  • Gathering Information and Evidence
  • Sifting the Information
  • 4. PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTENT
  • 5. CRIME AND THRILLER CONVENTIONS
  • 6. ANALYSIS
  • Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of SEVEN

 
 

No events available...

 

Robert McKee's GENRE Seminars

Find out what kind of story you're writing.

“Bob McKee has been a great influence not only on my own work, but on my attitude towards it.”

LOWELL CAUFFIEL

Television Writer and Bestselling Author

MASQUERADE
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
HOUSE OF SECRETS

“McKee is one of the few people on earth who understands what a strange and unique profession this is. His respect for writers is enormous. I always leave the class honored to have had the opportunity to be there but happy and proud to be a writer.”

MARGARET NAGLE

2-time WGA Award-winning Writer / Producer

BOARDWALK EMPIRE
RED BAND SOCIETY
THE GOOD LIE

“McKee shaped the way I approached writing and played a huge part in my career.”

TOM HALLMAN JR.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist and Author

SAM: THE BOY BEHIND THE MASK
A STRANGER’S GIFT

“In difficult periods of writing, I often turn to Robert McKee’s wonderful book for guidance”

DOMINICK DUNNE

Novelist and Writer for Vanity Fair

PEOPLE LIKE US
THE TWO MRS. GRENVILLES