Robert McKee, master storyteller

On the nature of storytelling and its redeeming power (from an interview with the Screenplayers):

“Storytelling is the primary civilizing instrument in culture,” he said. He then quoted Aristotle: “‘When the storytelling goes bad in society, the result is decadence.’ The way out,” he continued, “is through great storytelling. It sensitizes society to the humanity in other people. Writers of the 21st Century will have to work harder.

On the success of his book and workshops (from a profile in the New Yorker):

I discovered this enormous hunger for what I thought was common sense, common knowledge (…). I’m repeating what I was taught, and then adding some little insights I’d had—but basically recycling Kenneth Rowe and John Howard Lawson and Aristotle, and putting it in a contemporary context for these people. I’m putting the obvious into a new context, and I see their slack-jawed, wide-eyed look, and their tremendous hunger to know what I knew. It’s obviously needed. I can see the emptiness out there.

A 10-minute interview on The Hour:

See also: How do you set people on fire?