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"Structuring Successful Screenplays Using the Nutshell Technique" with Jill Chamberlain

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

12/2/2017 From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM


Online registration for this class has closed. You can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. Thank you!

$49 for members (sign in for member pricing)


Want to learn the essentials of a successful screenplay?

Are you interested in applying structural strategies from screenplays to your novel?


When it comes to telling a great story, for a novel or a screenplay, there's a big difference between story and situation. In order to explain the difference, Chamberlain created the Nutshell Technique, a method whereby writers identify the eight dynamic, interconnected elements that are required to successfully tell a story. In this class, Chamberlain will walk through the Nutshell Technique, looking at famous film examples and thoroughly explaining how the Technique can make or break a film script. 

In this class, participants will receive handouts containing the Nutshell Technique schematic (known as the “nutshell”). Topics covered include the eight linked elements required to successfully tell a story and not just present a situation; how the protagonist's central flaw is the single best writing tool you're not fully utilizing; how the solution to the inevitable problems in your second act involves less structure, not more; and how to find that "inevitable yet unexpected" ending that both surprises and satisfies audiences

Chamberlain will work with volunteers who opt to share their story “nutshell” with the group, and she'll demonstrate for the class how the Nutshell Technique can transform mere situations into truly compelling screenplay stories.

Bring your screenplay idea to this class.

This class will refer to Tootsie and Groundhog Day. Please watch (or rewatch) Tootsie before the class, and if you've never seen Groundhog Day, watch it prior to the class (if you've previously seen Groundhog Day, no need to rewatch).


  • You're writing a screenplay or interested in writing a screenplay.
  • You're interested in learning the principles of screenplay story structure to better structure your novel.



Jill Chamberlain is a screenplay consultant and founder of The Screenplay Workshop with Jill Chamberlain, which offers private script consultation and group instruction in Austin and via Skype. Her book from the University of Texas Press, The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting, is considered the go-to manual many professionals swear by and is on the syllabus for the acclaimed screenwriting program at Columbia University. Producer Callum Greene (Star Wars Episode 9, Crimson Peak, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) said Chamberlain's Nutshell Technique “cracks the code behind why we love the movies that we love. It will guide you to organically write the story you want to tell." Many of her students have achieved success in Hollywood, having their screenplays optioned, sold, and made into award-winning feature films.



St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall 303. You can find a St. Edward's University campus map here.



$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Online registration will close at the end of Thursday, November 30. After that you can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. 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.

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. 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.



Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. 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


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit


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