Dramatica vs. McKee

Dramatica vs. McKee

Two Approaches to Creativity

A client recently wrote to me asking how followers of Robert McKee view Dramatica.  Here is my reply:

Usually, McKee students see his method and Dramatica as two sides of the same coin of creativity.

McKee focuses on the passionate side of story development – what makes a story have power, connect with an audience, and ring true, while Dramatica addresses the underlying mechanics of the structure.

As an analogy, picture McKee and Dramatica as two aspects of a radio signal. McKee is the program that is being broadcast, Dramatica is the carrier wave that transmits it.

When the carrier wave is tuned properly, the program gets through without interference. But if the carrier wave is flawed, no matter how good the program is, it will get lost in the static.

On the other hand, even if the carrier wave is perfectly tuned, a poor program will still be a poor program – it will just be clearly received.

So, in truth, McKee’s method and Dramatica are not at all in conflict nor do they work against each other. In fact, they don’t even cover the same ground. And yet, both are required for a powerful message accurately transmitted from author to audience.