Advanced Plot Construction: Developing and Outlining Your Story
ABOUT THE WEBINAR
Once you’ve sketched out your story idea, it’s time to develop and outline it. This is the craft of plot construction and Jeff Kitchen has been teaching it for over twenty years now. His three-step process, Sequence, Proposition, Plot is so effective at this that development executives at all the major Hollywood studios (to whom he's taught it) consistently say it's the most advanced development tool in the film industry. Not only is it a remarkably powerful outlining process, but it helps tighten and dramatize the material as you develop it, by focusing on cause and effect as well as conflict.
You tend to want good cause and effect because it gives your story a crisp forward momentum, such that plot point A causes plot point B which causes plot point C, and so on. You create this by working backward from your ending, chaining back from each effect to its cause. By creating this tight linkage, you separate the necessary from the unnecessary; a crucial skill for a dramatist because dramatic writing demands total economy. By asking what caused each effect, rather than what merely happened before it, you isolate the chain of events that constitutes the story's spine. Once you've got tight cause and effect, you focus on the conflict. You set up a potential fight and touch off a fight to the finish for the overall story. This gets the audience on the edge of their seat, and it should be powerful. If not, then revise the conflict to make it as gripping as possible.
Next, you construct each act with Sequence, Proposition, Plot, keeping the cause and effect tight and the conflict gripping. Then you flesh out each major sequence with this three-step process, making each one tight and dramatic. Next you build the first scene using Sequence, Proposition, Plot—and then you write that scene. Then you structure the next scene and write it, keeping on this way until you complete your working draft. So you end up with each scene being tight and dramatic, nested inside a tight and dramatic sequence, which is nested inside a tight and dramatic act, which is nested inside a tight and dramatic overall story. Every part of the script is charged with dramatic action, and every part serves the whole. Your script is never bogged down with unnecessary material and the consistent conflict keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Consistent, coherent, compelling dramatic action is the name of the game, and Sequence, Proposition, Plot helps you create that as you build your script.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
- The craft of plot construction.
- An advanced three-step process for developing and structuring stories.
- Tools to dramatically enhance your stories and give them forward momentum.
- How to write gripping conflict.
- How to keep dramatic tension throughout your working draft.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
- Writers seeking to learn the most advanced plot construction process in Hollywood.
- Writers wanting to build a tight script with gripping conflict.
- Writers who need help outlining the stories of their screenplays.
- Writers who want to improve their screenplay structure.
- Writers wanting to master the economy that dramatic writing demands.
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Meet the Author: Jeff Kitchen
Jeff Kitchen is a working writer and has taught screenwriting professionally for over twenty years. Jeff worked as a dramaturg in New York theater and taught advanced playwriting technique before bringing the craft of the dramatist to screenwriters. He is a sought-after script consultant and is considered one of the top scriptwriting teachers in the world. He’s the author of Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting.