Dallas Story Structure Workshop
Story and Plot
Screenwriting Classes in Texas, Los Angeles and Online
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Co-Sponsored by Dallas Screenwriters Association
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Tom Vaughan

The 1-Day Story Structure Workshop focuses on building a structure from the ground up by making several key decisions early on that eases the burden on the author and puts it where it belongs: the story. This process focuses more on scenes and sequences rather than plot points so to maximize the dramatic impact as well as commercial viability of the project. The blank page will be less intimidating than ever…

The knowledge presented is instrumental for anyone interested in developing projects in the film industry whether they intend to develop a concept to first draft, or a first draft to production script. It is a giant step forward for both beginning and experienced screenwriters.

Structure does not limit you - it actually LIBERATES you. It takes the burden off the writer and puts it back where it belongs: the story.

Story is the why, and structure is the how. Structure is the building block you start with and it is the guide you rewrite with. Structure is not formula. Structure is your loyal assistant that helps you tell your story. It doesn’t limit you, it liberates you to focus on what rally matters. Story and Plot: Structure simplifies where other instruction tends to complicate.

Along with its own guidelines, the class will examine popular theories and "systems" of screenwriting to compare and contrast which principles help us do what we're trying to do: tell the story. These include Snyder's Save the Cat, USC's Sequence Approach, Schecter's 4 Act Archetypes, as well as others. The workshop will take each one of these a step forward to make them more understandable and practical.

The goal of the class is two-fold. First, give the student the tools to better analyze the story structure of both successful as well as failed motion pictures. This is an essential skill for anyone who wants a improve their writing over time. Second, to give the writer, or anyone developing material, a solid repeatable process to take an idea and convert it to a well structured story. The struggle of “I don’t know where to start” will disappear.

No matter what your previous training in structure, this class will help you take that knowledge to the next level.

For even more information
about Mr. Vaughan's teaching philosophy check out the blog post "On Teaching Screenwriting."


With all the screenwriting books and teachers out there, what makes you any different and how do we know you are even qualified to teach this?
Fair question. I have been writing professionally for 20 years and teaching for about 10. I love teaching and spend a lot of time thinking about how to do it better. My day job is writing screenplays. While this class is going on my 7th film will be in production down in Australia starring Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke. I have both the experience as a writer and a teacher to create what I think is a very unique and practical approach to feature length storytelling. I would say about 50% of it is just basic principles of storytelling explained in an easy to understand way, 25% is borrowed from great teachers but perhaps refined a bit more, and the last 25% are elements that perhaps only I bring to a classroom. More about me HERE.

Where is the event?
The Dallas workshop will be held in the SAG/AFTRA Offices conference room. This means only limited seats available. Directions.

Will there be a lunch break?
Yes! About 45 minutes.

Will lunch be served?
No. But there are plenty of dining options nearby. If you have particular dieting needs you are encouraged to bring your own lunch.

What can/can't I bring to the event?
Something to help take lots of notes. Pad and paper or laptop is fine. If you are one of those loud typers that really abuse the keyboard, a pad and paper might be better.

Should I do anything BEFORE the event?
Yes! About a week before the workshop we will pick a one or two movies to watch and we will break down those structures in class.