Tag Archives: Story

Episode 164 – James Moorer (Moving the Needle of Your Career)

James Moorer is a screenwriter and actor. He studied Journalism at THE Ohio State University.  James has studied under prominent screenwriting gurus, Robert McKee and Hal Croasmun.

In 2014 James was named one of Screenwriting U’s Most Recommended Screenwriter’s. Two of his pilots, MICHAEL SERMON and SIZE SEVEN RED were both optioned by a Toronto based production company. In 2017, James was signed to Purple Skull Management.

Pre Show Notes

Sir Roger George Moore (14 October 1927 – 23 May 2017) was an English actor. He is best known for playing secret agent James Bond in seven feature films between 1973 and 1985.

— Roger darling, no one did it better than you: BRITT EKLAND and seven other Bond girls share their intimate and mischievous memories of the spy who loved them

James Bond collection – All 24 Bond films on Blu Ray

— Need help with your podcast?! Hire me on Fiverr for only $5. We can chat podcast concepts, episode ideas, gear, marketing, and anything else you’d like to chat about.


Dave Bullis Podcast Filmmakers Group on Facebook – a FREE filmmaking group I made on Facebook.

Show Notes

War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Story by Robert McKee

Screenwriting U

Purple Skull Management


James Moorer

Official Site – (coming in June 2017)
Stage 32

Dave Bullis

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My Experience at Robert McKee’s 3 Day Story Seminar




(There are affiliate links in this article. If you find anything helpful please use these links to help this blog and my podcast. THANKS!) 


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.