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"Essentials of Screenwriting: Story Structure for Original and Adapted Screenplays" with Jill Chamberlain

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St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall 303
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

5/17/2014 From 10:00 AM to 4 PM

PLEASE NOTE: Preregistration for this workshop is now closed. If seats are available, you can purchase them at the classroom door 15 minutes before class starts on Saturday, May 17, 2014. Walk-up rates will apply unless cleared by office ahead of time. Payment must be with check, cash (exact amount please), or money order. For more information, please call 512-499-8914 or write us at


$99 for members (log in for member pricing)

$159 for nonmembers

Whether you've already written screenplays or you have no idea where to begin, you'll learn the key to writing one that doesn't join the 99.9% that are tossed into the recycle bin in this class with Jill Chamberlain, Founding Director of The Screenplay Workshop.

There are critical differences between writing 120 pages that look like a screenplay and writing a script that is actually a compelling, cathartic journey that the reader can't put down. This seminar will teach you the difference and show you specifically what it takes to write one of the latter.

The secret is story structure. A misunderstood and often poorly conveyed subject, story structure is both the most difficult and the most important concept in screenwriting, as it accounts for about 75% of the screenwriter's creative effort.

Bring your ideas for a feature film script (either new ideas or ones from your previously written work) to this class, and you'll leave with the beginning of a story treatment or beat sheet for your screenplay. You'll also leave with information about free screenwriting software so you can then go write it!

This class will cover:

  • an overview of dramatic storytelling and classical three-act story structure, further broken down into eight specific sequences that are in every film.

  • an explanation of The Screenplay Workshop's own Nutshell Technique: a straightforward breakdown of the key elements of great screenplays and their essential interrelationships. With this simple tool, you can get straight to the guts of your story and make sure it works before you've even started a script or treatment.

  • an in-class writing exercise using the Nutshell Technique so you can see it at work, start creating a story with it, and (optionally) get feedback on your work

  • an in-class writing exercise using the Eight Sequence Worksheet so you can begin to lay out your story into a treatment or beat sheet, (optionally) get feedback on your story structure, and leave revved up to go write (or revise) your screenplay!

This class is perfect for:

  • any writer who wants to someday adapt his or her writing into a feature-length screenplay

  • all screenwriters (beginners through professionals) who want to learn a better screenplay structuring method

Important note to registrants:  Participants will be asked to watch one or two specific movies in advance of the class that will be used to demonstrate key points in the lesson. This information will be sent upon registration for the class, so please sign up soon to allow time for these lesson-enhancing tasks.

Special offer for class participants: Class participants are being offered a special discount if they wish to register for a 10-week workshop at The Screenplay Workshop. Details will be announced at the class.


Jill Chamberlain is a script doctor, screenwriting coach, and the Founding Director of The Screenplay Workshop, Austin's only educational institution dedicated solely to the craft of screenwriting ( Jill's students and clients have had their screenplays optioned, made into award-winning feature films, garner them Hollywood representation, land them professional screenwriting assignments, and recognized by top competitions including the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences's Nicholl Fellowship. Jill's book about the screenplay structuring method she created (the Nutshell Technique) will be released by the University of Texas Press in 2015.

REGISTRATION BY MAIL: If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click HERE for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

NOTE: All credit card transactions will incur a 4% handling fee. Tickets are not refundable, but they are transferable. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.

This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit