How to recognize the underlying structure in movies to give you the confidence to develop and write your own.


Screenwriting doesn't have to be intimidating

Do you have a story idea that you know would be a great movie but don't know where to start? Maybe you've written your first few screenplays, but you just know they don't fully reflect what you're capable of.

MASTERING STORY STRUCTURE is designed to deal with exactly those frustrations. 

When you finish the course, you will better understand the underlying structure in your favorite films in a way that -- far beyond just an academic exercise -- will actually help you structure your own stories.

You will see story structure for what it is: a liberating framework that releases your creativity and your individual voice. By making crucial decisions early on, each subsequent story decision gets easier and easier, allowing you to have fun writing again.

You will finally have a framework to lean on when you get lost, and indecisive, so you never have to carry those feelings for long.

The blank page will become an exciting rather than nerve-racking time, and you will see rewriting as simply another opportunity to make your screenplay even more awesome.

Your Instructor: Tom Vaughan

I started writing professionally twenty-five years ago. I've had eight movies made and two more in production this year. I am proud of all the ups and downs of my career, but if you really want to understand a subject, I recommend teaching it.

I have been teaching for 20 years now. It forced me to communicate the why behind so many of the decisions I made as a screenwriter. In doing so, these decisions became tools, accessible whenever I needed them.

As I became a better teacher, I became a better writer. As I became a better writer, I became a better teacher.
When I struggle with any of my own projects, these are the principles I fall back on.

Because of my teaching, I finally have what I lacked early in my career: a tangible and repeatable process to maximize the full potential of a story idea and tell the story I am trying to tell to the best of my abilities.

That's what these classes are about. And Go Coogs!

If you want to read more about my bona fides, you can click HERE.


Unlike other screenwriting classes, the Story and Plot workshops are taught by a working professional of over 25 years who has taught the subject for nearly as long.

This is not an academic theory. It is not a glamorized interview broken up into segments. These are tangible processes that have been refined and tested literally over decades. The courses are designed to communicate layered ideas simply and clearly, and to give specific, concrete steps to empower the student's writing and storytelling.

Yes! Let's do it!

What others are saying...

Different From Everything Else Out There.

“Story and Plot is different from everything else out there. Tom is a professional screenwriter, but what’s so rare about him is that he can teach the craft. Without his courses I’d wouldn’t be writing professionally today. Even if you’ve read all the books, Tom’s method will allow you to understand movies and scripts in a whole new way. Anybody can write, but Tom Vaughn will teach you how to tell a story." 

  • Liza Dora, author of "The Door." and "Is Lena Pretty?"

You Will Feel Empowered

I took Tom's class when I had just finished my first season as a staff writer. I had done some TV writing but was intimidated by the idea of writing a movie. Tom's class really made it so simple and so easy.

Whether you’re an experienced writer or new to the process of writing, Tom's class is great at really simplifying things and making the decision process much easier. By the end of it, you will definitely feel empowered to be able to write your screenplay, just like I was.

  • Zeke Nicholson, writer AP BIO on NBC, MIRACLE WORKERS on TBS

Incredibly Helpful and Inspiring

This workshop is incredibly helpful and inspiring. I went into it with a couple ideas for features I'd been wanting to write, and when the workshop was done, I immediately felt like I had the tools to outline and write those features. Tom is an excellent teacher and I gained a ton of invaluable knowledge in just a few hours. HIGHLY RECOMMEND, even if you've written features before.


The Same Experience

This is the same class I have taught for years in Hollywood and elsewhere. Only now, you get to keep the lectures and refer back to them whenever you want. The Master Structure class has been revised and refined over two decades and many students have signed up for the class multiple times to discover new additions and concepts they may have missed. But now updates will always be free and waiting for you.

The Story and Plot Community

In the Story and Plot Community, you can ask questions, meet other writers, and participate in LIVE Q&As. You'll have access to the S&P script library as well as an ever-evolving list of structure breakdowns for new movies. Because of this 24/7 access, the Mastering Structure course is not the end of your relationship with Story and Plot, it is just the beginning. You can take the class at your own pace, but you won't be taking it alone.

Putting It All Together

Mastering Structure course is not designed for film criticism. None of what you learn would mean much if it didn't help you structure out your own project. That's the name of the game here. Want to know where to start? We got you. Why isn't your script working as you hoped? Yep, right here. You will become decisive with your choices because you will know what story you want to tell, and how you want to tell it.


For a limited time, enroll in Mastering Structure, and get Perfecting The Logline FREE.

Perfecting The Logline is a Story and Plot mini-course designed to help you write concise, compelling loglines that get people excited and want to read your screenplay.

The Mastering Structure Curriculum.


Opening Concepts


What is Story anyway?


Great! Then What's Structure?

  • The purpose and definition of structure.
  • The Dramatic Question.
  • Three primary elements of drama.
  • 4 acts and 8 sequences.
  • Scenes, not information.


Act 1. The Problem.

  • The Inciting Incident
  • Sequence 2: What Now?
  • End of Act 1: The Dramatic Question
  • Three Part Act One


Act 2A. I think I'll solve it

  • Sequence 3: First Steps
  • Sequence 4: First Attempts
  • The Midpoint
  • Making Active Choices


Act 2B. This is tougher than I thought!

  • Sequence 5: The Vice Tightens
  • Sequence 6: Drive To The Finish
  • The Purpose of Act 2
  • The Crisis
  • The Realization


Act 3. The Sacrifice.

  • Sequence 7: The Final Battle
  • The Setback
  • The Sacrifice
  • Sequence 8: The Resolution and Audience Satisfaction


Putting it all together.

  • Character Questions
  • Supporting Characters
  • The Importance of the Logline
  • How To Start Your Outline


Bonus Module

  • How to break down a movie's structure.
  • Watch Movie A
  • Breaking down Movie A

Who This Class Is For? The Usual Suspects...

  • You've never written a screenplay before, and you're not sure where to start.
  • You have a few feature-length screenplays under your belt, but you know your writing is not reaching its full potential.
  • You are a professional television writer, but you're not as comfortable structuring out a full-length feature film.
  • You're new to developing material on the production side, and you're looking for a competitive advantage through a more consistent process.
  • You're a novelist or anyone else who is interested in story structure.
Pop art of the film The Usual Suspects

More Experiences with Mastering Structure

Juiced My Brain!

I really gained some new insights in prepping to write a screenplay by taking Tom's classes. He also really juiced my brain for both diving back into a draft and reviving an idea that I thought was a dead end. I find Tom to be an engaging and thoughtful teacher, upstanding and generous. Hoping he keeps teaching online so this work is available widely! 

Will Hines Headshot

Really Demystified The Process

The vocabulary words, the terms, the tools and his outline. It is really fun and easy. He's thought a lot about just the way to teach this. He's obviously still very in touch with how intimidating it can be to finish one of these.

Before I took the class, I had not written any screenplays and I wrote one right after. And then I think I've written two since. So it really demystified the process in a nice way. 

  • Will Hines, Actor, Author, "How To Be The Greatest Improvisor on Earth."
Carrie Fitch Headshot

I Was Floundering...

I was floundering in the middle of writing a script, trying to hit all the structure points I had read about in screenwriting books. On page 110, and still only halfway through the script, I realized I needed some help. After taking Tom's classes, I successfully completed my first script (in 105 pages) and it placed in the top 30 of a major screenwriting contest and I optioned it. I couldn't have asked for a better result.

  • Carrie Fitch, Screenwriter


  • You’ll get LIFETIME access to the Mastering Structure course. This includes any and all updates.
  • The entire course is broken down into small lessons to make it easier to watch when and where you want. The short lessons are also perfect for rewatching specific sections later on.
  • You'll get free access to the Story and Plot Community, where you can chat with other writers, ask me questions, and even workshop your ideas with me.
  • You'll get FREE enrollment in the Perfecting the Logline mini-course, normally $39. This includes personal help with your logline in the community. Yes, a 25-year veteran of the business will help you craft the logline for your project. Many would consider this worth the enrollment price alone!
  • The course is backed by a 100% 30-day guarantee. Love the course, or get your money back, no questions asked.
  • The class covers the same processes I use for literally every project I have worked on and sold over the years, both as a writer and a producer.