Pre-Writing Your Screenplay

Award-winning WGA screenwriter Michael Tabb will illustrate how to generate a story fit for the movies from a nothing at all (a blank slate), inspired by his book Prewriting Your Screenplay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Generating Stories. This is a method of story foundation building that will help fulfill the necessary elements for concept creation that a writer needs before sitting down to write the actual script. These methods can be used to brainstorm a story idea for ANY creative writing medium, but there are tools in this technique that specifically help give birth to characters and moments necessary for visual storytelling. Howard Rodman, the president of Hollywood’s Writers Guild of America, states, “Michael Tabb has thought long, hard, and usefully about how to write screenplays with vision and intent.  He understands premise, character, conflict, drama; far more importantly, he can impart wisdom about all of them without condescending or ‘dumbing down.’  I know of no better guide to the work of writing that happens before we write.”


Michael will cover:

  • How to come up with an idea and breaking writers' block while creating a story with great meaning with PREMISE

  • Pinpointing the perfect GENRE, which provides perspective, mood and tone

  • The VISUALIZATION process utilizing tricks of common brainstorming techniques

  • Character creation of the FIVE MAJOR CHARACTER TYPES and breaking down how each serves the story when properly conceived

  • Locking down STORY by beginning the story development process with a simple boilerplate statement to cook up your story upon

  • Applying STRUCTURE to story that charts the major turning points of any script

  • Fleshing out an Outline/Treatment, which provides EVOLUTIONS and ESCALATIONS for reaching each structural milestone



Michael Tabb is a working screenwriter, decade-long current and active member of the WGA, a multiple-award-winning screenwriting educator, and author of a film-festival-winning Best Screenplay.

Michael has developed projects for Disney, The Canton Company at Warner Brothers, Imagine Entertainment, Paradox Entertainment, Mandeville Films, Producers Lawrence Bender, Branko Lustig, writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh, Director Mike Newell, comic book icon Stan Lee, and actor/producer Dustin Hoffman to name a few. His latest collaboration has been developing a new one-hour television pilot with Producer Sean Daniel (The Mummy franchise, Tombstone, Syfy's new series The Expanse), fellow writer Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules, The Huntsman, and Disney's Beauty & The Beast), and Director Thor Freudenthal (Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, TV's Flash and Green Arrow).

His latest book, the bestselling Prewriting Your Screenplay: A Step-By-Step Guide To Generating Stories, explains how he develops great, cohesive script ideas that continue to get him work. The book is published by Focal Press, the entertainment-business division of Routledge, America’s #1 textbook publisher.

Amazing Weekend

For Writers In All

Medium of Story