top of page
logo black.png

Screenwriting 101: 
An eight-week live, interactive workshop taught by produced

screenwriter, script consultant, and protégé of Billy Wilder
Rex McGee
January 15, 22, 29. February 5, 12, 19, 26. March. 4 2024
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Easte
rn (5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Pacific)

Screenwriting rectangle 1.jpg

Have you written your first script? Just starting to write one? Wanting to finally adapt that memoir or novel into a screenplay? You've come to the right place.

Here at Story Summit’s Screenwriting 101, you’ll learn the screenwriting fundamentals, how to create an emotional connection with the reader and audience, and develop your all-important writing voice into the screenplay.

"Rex McGee is a world-class instructor. A clutch of his students was so inspired that they kept the spirit of his class going, meeting every other week for 5 years after his class ended. He is a treasure and a gentle and realistic instructor. Just do it. And, he is a really swell guy to boot."

- SMU student

Each class includes 1.5 hours of instruction and 1/2 hour of small group interaction.
Class starts on June 22 and runs every Thursday to August 10, 2023
Tuition is $299 for the eight-week course.

Course Objectives:

  1. Understand basic screenwriting fundamentals.

  2. Use proper screenplay formatting through the use of specialized software.

  3. Understand character, the basis of compelling drama.

  4. Have a fundamental understanding of the dramatic scene.

  5. Understand how theme is expressed through characters and story.

  6. Learn how to make an emotional connection with the audience.

  7. Enhance your collaborative skills through group discussion and collective brainstorming.

  8. Conceive and develop story ideas that will make compelling films.

  9. Facilitate the expression of your unique artistic, cinematic voice.


REX McGee has sold more than twenty scripts for film and television since graduating from the legendary USC film school. His credits include Warner Bros’ Pure Country, starring George Strait and Lesley Ann Warren, and Hallmark’s Where There’s a Will starring Marion Ross and Keith Carradine.

McGee worked as a Hollywood story analyst for United Artists, Embassy Pictures and The Ladd Company. A member of the Writers Guild of America, West, Rex has collaborated on screenplays with directors Jon Amiel, John Putch, Peter Masterson, Robert Mulligan, and Billy Wilder.


Rex teaches onsite screenwriting workshops at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas.

FEDORA scene.jpg

Marthe Keller, Henry Fonda, Billy Wilder, Rex McGee — a scene from Wilder’s FEDORA.

Class and Workshop Schedule:

Week 1 - January 15: What is a Screenplay? Screenwriting Basics, Script Formatting. Film Clips: Words, Up. In-class exercise: writing in proper format.

Homework: Read The Fabelmans screenplay.

Week 2 - January 22: Discuss The Fabelmans screenplay. Screenplay Structure of ACT I Elements (to first major inciting incident), Film Clips: The Wizard of Oz, The Mark of Zorro.

Homework: Find examples of Act I elements in other films and discuss in class.

Week 3 - January 29: Screenplay Structure of ACT II Elements (to script midpoint), Developing Subplots, Discuss the 5 Major Narrative Beats, Film Clips: In the Heat of the Night, Notorious, The Shining.

Homework: Write 1st Narrative Beat script the “Discovery” (3 pages).

Week 4 - February 5: Screenplay Structure of ACT II Elements (from midpoint to second major inciting incident). Read “Discovery” scripts aloud in class, discuss – Consider the 2nd Narrative Beat script “Decision”. Film Clips: In the Heat of the Night.

Small Group: Share the 1st narrative beats from your script.

Homework: Write “Decision” script (3 pages).

Week 5 - February 12: Screenplay Structure of ACT III Elements. Film Clip: The Wizard of Oz. Read “Decision” scripts in class, discuss What Makes a Good Scene? (Discuss John August’s suggested list, read scene aloud as originally written from Kramer Vs. Kramer, watch the revised film version, and evaluate differences). Discuss 3rd Narrative Beat and the “Boxing Match.” Film clip: Inherit the Wind.

Homework: Write “Boxing Match” script (5 pages).

Week 6 - February 19: Read “Boxing Match” scripts in class, discuss. Introduce the 4th Narrative beat, and the “Improbable Connection.” Film Clips: Norma Rae, When Harry Met Sally.

Homework: Write an “Improbable Connection” script (7p).


Week 7 - February 26: Read “Improbable Connection” scripts in class, discuss. Introduce the 5th Narrative Beat “Avoiding the Cliché”. Film Clip: Little Murders.

Homework: Write an “Avoid the Cliché” script (3 pages).

Week 8 - March 4: Read “Avoid the Cliché” scripts, discuss. Talk about the actual Business of Screenwriting. How to protect authorship of your scripts. Answer students’ questions.


Recommended Software: Final Draft (the industry standard, but not free).

Suggested Texts:

The Tools of Screenwriting, by David Howard and Edward Mabley

The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers

Writing from the Inside Out, by Dennis Palumbo

AND most importantly...

The actual SCREENPLAYS of the films you love, the earliest version you can find, many available online.

Stage musical based on the 1992 Warner Bros motion picture PURE COUNTRY, written by Rex McGee.

Registration fee: $299 for twelve hours of instruction


January 15, 22, 29. February 5, 12, 19, 26. March 4, 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, per request you’ll receive a passcode-protected link to watch the recordings after the course is over.



Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page