Nick Murphy is a filmmaker, videographer for Preston and Steve radio show, podcaster, and 1/3 of the very successful Youtube show/Channel, Continue?. Their new show, Smart Guys, debuted Feb 4th, 2016.

Show Notes

– Cinephilia Anonymous podcast – Nick’s podcast with Satchell where they discuss movies






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In October of 2015 I entered the McKee Cartoon writing contest.

Story Seminar

I actually had some faith and confidence in my submission. Some time went by and when I received the email I had actually forgotten about it. I WON 1st place and the prize was this a trip to this seminar for free plus my one page comic panel would be illustrated (as of writing this, it still hasn’t been published.)

April 19th, 2016 was the last day of my job which I’ve gone into that ad nauseam on my podcast so I’ll skip the details of that for now. The very next day I would depart and head to New York. As promised here is my experiences during the McKee 3 Day Story seminar in April 2016 in New York.

We sat together in Famous Originals Ray’s pizza (I’m not sure if this is the one Kramer was referring to)

 and we had just came from the third and final day of the McKee Seminar. Neal, and Howard placed #6 & #2 respectively in the 2015 ISA Emerging Screenwriters Competition. So the three of us attended the seminar for free.  We sat around, ate okay pizza (as I mentioned on my podcast I thought it would be a lot better than what it was), and talked about two main things:
  • What did we learn?
  • Would we do it again?

So who is Robert McKee exactly?

Robert McKee is renowned as one of the top (if not THE top) story analysis in the world. McKee started this Story Seminar in 1983 while at USC.

I remember having lunch with a respected Yale screenwriting professor and attorney, and McKee’s name kept coming up as THE guy. There are several well known screenwriters including John Cleese who have expressed their admiration for McKee, and Cleese himself has taken the seminar three times before writing, ‘A Fish Called Wanda‘.

What is the Story Seminar

The Story seminar is a 3 day seminar dedicated to telling stories with a main focus on writing movies.

McKee Seminar Outline


  • The writer and the art of story
  • The decline of story in contemporary film
  • Story design: the meaning of story, the substance of story, the limitations and inspirations of story structure & genre, the debate between character vs story design
  • Premise Idea, Counter Idea, Controlling Idea
  • Story Structure: beat, scene, sequence, act, story
  • Mapping the Story universe: Archplot, Miniplot, Antiplot
  • Shaping the source of story energy and creation


  • Putting the elements of story together
  • The principles of character dimension and design
  • The composition of scenes
  • Titles
  • Irony; Melodrama
  • False endings
  • The text: description, dialogue, and poetics
  • The spectrum of story genres


  • Act design: the great sweep and body of story
  • The first major story event (the inciting incident)
  • Scene design in Story: turning points, emotional dynamics, setup/payoff, the nature of choice
  • Ordering and linking scenes
  • Exposition: dramatizing your characters, the story setting, creating back story
  • The principles of antagonism
  • Crisis, climax and resolution


  • Story adaptations
  • Scene analysis: text and sub-text; design through dialogue versus design through action
  • The writer’s method: working from the inside out; the creative process from inspiration to final draft.
  • How it all works: the principles of the previous days applied in a 6-hour, scene-by-scene screening and analysis of CASABLANCA


Parting thoughts


Would I recommend this seminar? Yes.

Is it for beginners? Yes

Is it for advanced? Yes

What were the biggest strengths? Definitely the third day. That’s when I felt everything really came together especially as McKee discussed Being and Becoming. Also I thank god McKee didn’t go over formatting. (Side note I find it odd that there are still webinars on screenwriting formatting. Why would anyway pay for that when all you have to do is use Final Draft?)

What were the biggest weaknesses? We agreed that since McKee has taught screenwriting to so many people, and since Neal,Howard, and myself aren’t beginners there were bound to be some information that was repeated.

What to bring if you decide to go;

  • A small bookbag
  • Energy drinks – I brought four Red Bulls. These are great to drink during the breaks. All other foods were banned.
  • Notebook & Pen (people do get too distracted by devices)
  • Story by McKee: A lot of the Story Seminar comes right from the book as McKee has memorized it in it’s entirety. Some find this helpful as they can ask questions during intermission about anything as McKee makes himself available.

McKee has a sequel to this seminar, called ‘Genres‘, which is one day that I’m strongly considering attending in October 2016 back in New York. If you decide to go please make sure you find me to say hi. This is what I look like: podcast_channel_artwork.jpg


Really Helpful & Interesting Resources

Master the Art of Storytelling with Robert McKee on the Bulletproof Radio

Buy Story by Robert McKee

Dialogue by Robert McKee (pre-order)

Big Think Interview with Robert McKee

Click to see Sunni Brown’s illustrated notes about her time taking the McKee seminar in April 8 -11, 2011 in London.





Jeff Annison is an American businessperson, and co-founder and president of Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company. He is also the co-founder and CEO of New York Rock Exchange, co-founder and CEO of Underground Labs, and co-founder of MobiTV.

Show Notes

LegionM on WeFunder – Buy shares on the company via equity crowdfunding
– Meltdown Comics – Legendary comic book store in LA since 1994.
– The Nerdist – digital division of legendary entertainment
– Chris Hardwick – Founder of the Nerdist.


Jeff Annison 

— Twitter




Ashley Scott Meyers is a screenwriter and host of the, ‘Selling Your Screenplay’ podcast. He just raised over $14,000 for his debut feature film, ‘The Pinch’ on Kickstarter.

Show Notes

Selling Your Screenplay Podcast
The Pinch on Kickstarter
Max Landis
Max Landis screenwriting advice


Ashley Scott Meyers

Official Site


Alan Watt is the founder of the LA Writers Lab and the author of the book, ‘The 90 Day Screenplay‘. He also recently completed his first feature film, Diamond Dogs, which is based off his own best selling novel of the same name

Show Notes

— Story by Robert McKee (Physical version)
— Story by Robert McKee (Kindle version)
— Story by Robert McKee (Audible version)
— The 90 Day Screenplay by Alan Watt
Upcoming workshops via LA Writers Lab



Alan Watt

— Twitter



David M Latt is the co-founder of the Asylum, one of the largest independent film studios operating today. We talk creating ideas, managing budget, and the upcoming Sharknado 4 – The Fourth Awakens.

Show Notes

Z Nation
Sharknado 4 – The Fourth Awakens


David M Latt

Official Site






Michael Rousselet is a writer/director at 5 Second Films. He is a co writer/director of Dude Bro Party Massacre III which is his first feature film.

Show Notes

Support the Dave Bullis Podcast on Patreon
– Dude Bro Party Massacre III on Kickstarter
– 5 Second Films on Youtube
– The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
The Room


Michael Rousselet

– Twitter



Glenn M. Benest is an award-winning writer/producer. He received his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and his Master of Fine Arts at U.C.L.A. in playwriting. He has seven produced film credits including two films he wrote for Wes Craven. In 2004 he wrote and produced his own independent film, “Hungry Hearts,” which was picked up by Shoreline Entertainment for worldwide distribution. It has won numerous awards, including the Special Jury Prize at the Houston International Film Festival (Worldfest) for best low budget feature and Best Dark Comedy Feature at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.

Show Notes

— Support The Dave Bullis Podcast Patreon
— Stranger in Our House
— Deadly Blessing
— Scream


Glenn Benest

Official Site
– Twitter



Harrison Smith is actually only the 2nd Philly-based filmmaker I’ve interviewed (with the other being David Greenberg). Harrison is the writer/producer for the Fields, and 6 Degrees of Hell starring Corey Feldman. He made his directorial debut with the feature, Camp Dread. Harrison followed that up with Zombie Killers: Elephant Graveyard. His upcoming film, Death House, is being called, ‘The Expendables for the horror genre’.

Show Notes

– Need your film professionally manufactured on blu ray? Contact my friends over at Legless Corpse Films, chadarmstrong@leglesscorpse.com
– On April 9th at the SVA Theater in New York City, The Modern School of Film will continue its IN:PICTURES series, featuring award-winning author, Salman Rushdie.  Buy Tix: www.modernschooloffilm.com – USE the discount code “MSF” to receive $5 off General Admission tickets.



– Twitter




William Dickerson is the writer/director of DETOUR, THE MIRROR, DON’T LOOK BACK, & author of the book, DETOUR: Hollywood. He’s currently crowdfunding for the project, No Alternative: A feature Film on IndieGoGo. 

Show Notes

— DETOUR: Hollywood: How To Direct a Microbudget Film (or any film, for that matter) book
— Detour – Featured in the New York Times 


William Dickerson

— Twitter