Meetings with international experts
Robert McKee’s GENRE Seminar
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 Seminar, you will learn three essential genres: HORROR, ACTION and COMEDY, and how they merge to create hybrids. The final GENRE Day is TV SERIES Day, which focuses on the grand long form that draws from all major genres.
FIND OUT WHAT KIND OF STORY YOU’RE WRITING.
ROBERT MCKEE’S GENRE SEMINAR
- Limited places
- Duration: 8 hours and 30 minutes each day + Q&A
- Date: 27th-30th November
- Venue: Kinepolis
- Discounts for ECAM Community (students, teachers and alumni with alumni card), associates and students
- Taught in English with simultaneous translation into Spanish
November 27th - Day 1: COMEDY DAY
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.
The Love of Comedy
- IN PRAISE OF THE COMIC MIND
The Purity of Comedy
- COMEDY CONVENTIONS
Mood, Clarity, Endings and The Attack
- STYLISTIC SUBGENRES
High Comedy vs Low Comedy
- JOKE STRUCTURE
Design in Two Parts
Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of A FISH CALLED WANDA
November 28th - Day 2: ACTION DAY
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.
The Love of Action
- THE SIX MEGA GENRES
Questions and Expectations of Content
- CORES OF ACTION
- THE ACTION SET-PIECE
Turning the Story
Use of Setting
- ACTION SUBGENRES
Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL.
November 29th - Day 3: HORROR DAY
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.
- HISTORY OF HORROR
Horror Through the Ages
Contemporary Horror Films
- THE PLEASURES OF HORROR
The Seen and the Other
Perception of Horror
- THE COMPONENTS OF HORROR
Women in Horror
How to Make a Monster
The Key to Horror
Three Basic Story Patterns
- THE THREE SUB-GENRES
- HORROR STORY CONVENTIONS
- TWELVE POSSIBLE CLIMAXES
Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of AMERICAN HORROR STORY (Season 2, Episodes 4 & 5)
November 30th - Day 4: TV SERIES DAY
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.
The Golden Age of Television
- LONG FORM STORY DESIGN
Types of TV Series
Levels of Conflict
Involvement + Interest
- LONG FORM CHARACTER DESIGN
Desire vs Need
- BREAKING DOWN BREAKING BAD
Scenes, Sequences, Acts
Looking at the principles discussed and how they work in an analysis of BREAKING BAD: Season 4 Finale “Face Off”
ECAM NETWORK Discount (ECAM students, Alumni, teachers and staff)
UNION Discount (anyone with a professional paid writing membership such as APPA, DAMA, Academia TV, DOCMA, Union de Cineastas, PNR and Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España)
STUDENT Discount (anyone who can verify they are a current high school or college student)
Supongo que enseño en la ECAM porque me gusta mucho el cine, verlo y hacerlo, aunque no hay tareas más dispares en el mundo. Esta pasión es contagiosa y es el gran motor para hacer películas. Intento trasmitir ese entusiasmo a mis alumnos, para que sean “inasequibles al desaliento”.
Borja Cobeaga. Profesor Diplomatura en Guion.
Lo más gratificante de ser profesor en la ECAM es ver la cara que se les queda a los alumnos cuando descubren a Fellini, a Dziga Vertov, a Martha Rosler, a Kiarostami, a William Wegman… Esa boca y esos ojos abiertos que vienen a decir: “¿es posible esto? ¡Quiero empezar a hacer cosas ya!
Iván del Rey de la Torre. Profesor Curso en Diseño de Vestuario.
La escuela, un entorno para generar y compartir ideas, historias y proyectos.
La conversación, una herramienta didáctica y profesional.
La tecnología, el eslabón entre la creatividad y su materialización.
El trabajo en equipo, el reconocimiento de los otros.
El cine, una conjunción de imágenes y sonidos modulados por una narración.
Ricardo Steinberg. Profesor Diplomatura en Sonido.