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Animation: From Treatment To First Draft

March 26, 2024

8 to 10 p.m. Eastern (5 to 7 p.m. Pacific)

Animation Class.jpg

An animated film has the power to take audiences to worlds and scenarios that might be impossible with live action. It's important to embrace the medium's potential and let your creativity run wild, but your story still needs to fit into a frame. This requires a spectacular treatment and first draft so you can make the finished script shine.

What is a treatment? It’s an outline that conveys the structure, characters and story arc, and it’s used as an essential sales tool in pitching the project to producers.

Interestingly, animation scripts are designed not so much in a three-act structure, but as a series of interlocking and escalating sequences. A sequence is essentially a series of scenes that together tell a mini-story within the larger narrative of the film. Sequences often build upon each other to craft the overarching narrative of the movie. The important aspect to understand is that each sequence serves a distinct purpose in advancing the narrative.

How do you build these sequences, beginning with your treatment and first draft?

Screenwriter Tab Murphy, a key force in the “Disney Animation Renaissance,” will unlock the nuances and tips to a successful animated film. Learn the secret sauce from a master storyteller in animation so you can create your own outline and screenplay for your dream animation project.

Tab will take you through two of his legendary screenplays, Brother Bear and Tarzan. We encourage you to watch these two movies before the workshop.

In addition, this two-hour class will include:

  • Discussion about writing episodic series animation.

  • Hints on how to deal with writer’s block.

  • Tips for being productive in a world full of distractions.

  • Q&A to get your questions answered directly by Tab.


In the 1990s, Tab wrote a remarkable string of successful animated Disney films, including Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Atlantis – the Lost Empire and Brother Bear, which was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, Tab has a special heart for nature. The documentary he wrote this past year, Kangaroo Valley, was nominated for a 2023 Emmy for best documentary. It is directed by Kylie Stott and narrated by Sarah Snook. His first screenwriting foray into the natural world, Gorillas in the Mist, starring Sigourney Weaver, was nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay.


His newest screenplay, The Great Houdini, an action-adventure, has been optioned by Mark Ordesky (Lord of the Rings) and Jane Fleming (Quest).

$79 for two hours of instruction


March 26, 2024

8 to 10 PM Eastern (5 to 7 PM Pacific)

Please note: Our classes are designed specifically for live participation, so your attendance is important. If you need to miss a class for any reason, you’ll receive a passcode-protected link to watch the recordings after the course is over.

A Peek at Our Past Virtual Classes



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