Advanced Plot Construction: Developing and Outlining your Script

Event Date: Saturday, March 19, 2016 || Speaker: Jeff Kitchen|| Check-in: 12:30 pm ||

Jeff Kitchen will teach a two-hour class on how to take a story idea that you’ve roughed out and build it into a tight, dramatic, structurally unified, gripping script, in any genre. Once you’ve sketched out your story idea, it’s time to develop and outline it. See more details below.


**The deadline has passed and REGISTRATION is now CLOSED for this event. Please view our calendar for upcoming events.


Check-in begins at 12:30 pm.
Event starts at 1:00 pm.

No Refunds. No Credits.


More details about this meeting:

This is the craft of plot construction and Jeff 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 using Sequence, Proposition, Plot, keeping the cause and effect tight and the conflict gripping. Then you flesh out each major sequence in the acts with this three-step process, making each of them 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.

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.



Join us on the Third Saturday every month at:

CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604

Free Parking — Enter the CBS lot at the main gate & inform security you are there for the Scriptwriters Network event.

You’ll be asked for your government issued photo ID, and then given directions to the meeting location. You may park in any available space on the lot, unless CBS’ Security directs you to a park at a different area.

As this is a professional event, we ask that you please arrive prior to the event start time.

Meeting Timeframe: 1:00 pm to approximately 3:00 pm

Please remember to bring a picture ID and your SWN Membership Card!

Any questions, email us at

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