McKee on 2011 Best Screenplay

But his highest marks go to Aaron Sorkin’s Social Network because the life in question, that of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “doesn’t give you a great ending the way The Fighter did, so you have to make some ending about some other thing that changed and make audiences care about it. Sorkin had a great challenge because he had a protagonist who is not particularly empathetic because he’s awkward and closed-off socially. But he did a brilliant job of making the hows and whys of what he did quirky enough so that the process really intrigues us. He knew exactly where to create tension in the audience’s mind. You don’t have a big climax, but you have a big resolution.”
Journalists are busy debating the veracity of such movies as King’s Speech and Social Network, but McKee has no patience for that. “I will never understand that debate,” he says. “All story is fiction. Autobiography is fantasy. Biography is fiction in the sense that you have to make choices. And out of the enormity of the material, the sliver of choices that you make is an interpretation of what could be dozens of contradictory interpretations. And they are all more or less true.
“All we ask of biographers,” he adds, “is that they make a fair, heartfelt and honest interpretation of their characters, knowing that 99% of the facts will be cut out, certain things will be merged and the chronological order of certain things will be changed.”
He adds: “Journalists get trapped because they don’t understand the difference between fact and truth. They think fact is truth, but fact is not truth. Truth is how and why what happened; it’s always an interpretation. If you don’t like it, go write another movie.”
story.mckeeHere is Robert McKee’s views on Best Screenplay and on stories based on history, fact or actual people’s lives.   Like McKee, I believe that a writer’s first duty is to the emotional truth of the story, not factual accuracy.  That’s why it’s FICTION. Documentaries also have to be shaped in terms of emotional truth.  The definition of “to be entertained” is to feel something.”  Unless there is a deep emotional truth at the heart of the story we feel nothing and are not entertained.
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What do you think?  Comment below or on my FaceBook Page.  Here is McKee’s take:
(H)is highest marks go to Aaron Sorkin’s Social Network because the life in question, that of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “doesn’t give you a great ending the way The Fighter did, so you have to make some ending about some other thing that changed and make audiences care about it.
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Sorkin had a great challenge because he had a protagonist who is not particularly empathetic because he’s awkward and closed-off socially. But he did a brilliant job of making the hows and whys of what he did quirky enough so that the process really intrigues us. He knew exactly where to create tension in the audience’s mind. You don’t have a big climax, but you have a big resolution.”
.
Journalists are busy debating the veracity of such movies as King’s Speech and Social Network, but McKee has no patience for that. “I will never understand that debate,” he says. “All story is fiction. Autobiography is fantasy. Biography is fiction in the sense that you have to make choices. And out of the enormity of the material, the sliver of choices that you make is an interpretation of what could be dozens of contradictory interpretations. And they are all more or less true.
.
“All we ask of biographers,” he adds, “is that they make a fair, heartfelt and honest interpretation of their characters, knowing that 99% of the facts will be cut out, certain things will be merged and the chronological order of certain things will be changed.”
.
He adds: “Journalists get trapped because they don’t understand the difference between fact and truth. They think fact is truth, but fact is not truth. Truth is how and why what happened; it’s always an interpretation. If you don’t like it, go write another movie.”

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