If you read only one of these books, make it this one. She shares the do’s and don’ts of dealing with sensitive actors who pour their souls out in front of staring crew members as well as script analysis to understand the subtext and undertones of each line and each character’s action. She reminds us to only use actable direction; never tell a performer how to do it but give them business and actions that support and motivate the actor to reach the moment they are chasing. I will re-read this book annually as a reminder of what is most important when directing talent. I suggest you do so as well.
Is it any wonder after finishing Story that I immediately bought Dialogue? Answer: No. It’s the next logical step. Except that in this case I actually read Dialogue first, then Story. See… I am an enigma. Which of the two books should you read first? You pick. But read them both.
Buy it. Read it. Read it again. Study it. Dog ear the pages. It’s a veritable treasure trove of story knowledge. McKee is a genius and a master when it comes to story. I put off reading it because so many people have said it’s a difficult read. Wrong. Ignore those voices, whether your own or others’. Thank me later. Actually, thank Mr. McKee. He wrote it. He is the genius.
Honestly, I am currently struggling to read through this one. But that’s only because so much of it is beginner level and quite basic. But every now and then it shocks me to run across something I haven’t thought through on my own. So I will definitely finish it. We will likely require this as coursework reading for our film students.