Rewriting the Rules: New Approaches to Crafting Your Screenplay

Weekend Intensive

Screenwriters are often told that there are a set of standards they must follow: the three-act structure, naturalistic dialogue that moves the story forward, perpetually active characters, etc. Those “rules” can often feel restricting and seem more like a labyrinth than a clear pathway. However, there are multiple ways to write a compelling screenplay that stray from these widely practiced standards – ways that can lead to a more liberating and fulfilling creative process.

In this weekend intensive, writer, consultant, and educator Jessie Keyt (co-author, Alternative Scriptwriting: Contemporary Storytelling for the Screen) will help you analyze classic storytelling techniques and learn when and how to break free from them. Using selected films, in-session writing exercises, and peer-to-peer workshops, you’ll develop new ways to approach the craft of dramatic storytelling. Whether you have a screenplay you are currently working on or simply the seed of an idea, this intensive will help release your creativity and devise new ways to tell your stories.

What you bring to the course:

  • A general understanding of screenplay structure
  • An interest in writing feature-length screenplays

What you’ll get from the course:

  • A deeper understanding of screenplay structure, genre, and character development
  • Methods to approach linear and nonlinear storytelling
  • Tools to identify and effectively subvert audience expectations
  • Strategies for finding the right POV for your story

This course will:

  • provide tools and techniques to apply to any project.
  • connect you with other creators via a discussion board where you can discuss core concepts and share your work.

Intensive Schedule

Friday, July 26:

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT


Saturday, July 27:

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT

Sunday, July 28:

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT

Course enrollment is approximately 50 participants per session.

Sundance Collab provides accommodations and support services to participants with disabilities. Accommodations and services are designed to meet the needs of each participant. Please email us at to arrange for services.