"Nobody can give a writer talent, but Dara Marks can guide us through the craft of telling our stories in the most thoughtful and thought-provoking way."
Iris Rainer Dart, Author


Inside Story is a comprehensive seminar that will take you into the depths of the writing process and teach you how to build a great screenplay from the inside out.

Not only will you acquire a deeper and more thorough understanding of your story's core elements—plot, character, and theme—but you will gain a whole new set of tools to write scripts that will make movie executives stand up and pay attention and theater audiences stand up and cheer.

Inside Story will make you a better writer by helping you get to the heart of what you're really writing, which allows you to focus on expressing your unique creative vision.

Most important, the Inside Story seminar opens up the most powerful means of building a solid and compelling story structure—the transformational arc of character.

Inside Story enhances a writer's abilities regardless of his or her level of experience:
  • Beginning writers will gain fundamental insights into the basic elements of story.
  • Advanced writers will refresh their understanding with a more insightful and meaningful approach to writing.
All will gain essential tools for building powerful, meaningful, and marketable screenplays.


Introduction: Re-Visioning Story Structure
  • Overview: Why traditional story structure tells us only half the story
  • Exploring the organic origins of story structure
  • How to make stories more meaningful and impactful
Plot - How to Build a More Powerful Storyline from the Inside Out
  • Building powerful and gripping conflict
  • Charting a dynamic line of action
  • Creating subplots that expose the internal struggle
  • Setting up genres in fresh new ways
Character - Getting to the Heart of Your Story
  • Creating a memorable and forceful protagonist
  • Getting to the deeper function of the protagonist in the story
  • Creating strong female characters
  • Digging into our own shadowy depths to design compelling antagonists
  • Understanding the true function of secondary characters
  • Employing archetypal elements to the development of character
  • Eliminating stereotypes and clichés
Theme - Understanding What You're Really Writing About
  • How to write what you mean—and mean what you write
  • Learning to write with focused intention
  • Acquiring the keys to the kingdom—turning theme into plot and character development
  • Creating a thematic structure
The Fatal Flaw of Character - The Most Potent Force in a Great Story
  • Why "good" characters aren't good enough
  • Creating an internal day of reckoning for your protagonist
  • How to determine the fatal flaw and set up internal conflict
  • Capturing the humanity of the protagonist
  • Integrating backstory
  • Setting the story on a heroic or tragic course
Traversing the Transformational Arc of Character
  • What is the arc and where does it come from?
  • How does a character grow and change?
  • Using the transformational arc to create dramatic tension
  • Developing powerful imagery and strong, honest dialogue
  • Setting up Act I:
    • the Inciting Incident
    • the Call to Action
    • the Defining Moment
    • the Fatal Flaw of Character
  • 1st Turning Point:
    • things take a turn for the worst
    • creating a powerful Awakening
    • heightening the jeopardy
  • Learning to love the "dreaded" 2nd act:
    • keeping plot and character in Resistance to the goal
    • the Moment of Enlightenment
    • the Grace Period
    • the Fall
  • 2nd Turning Point:
    • embracing the Death Experience
    • what's the worst thing that can happen?
  • Act III:
    • things get down and dirty
    • the great descent
    • last chances
    • the rough road to redemption