"Dara Marks is in a class by herself."
Creative Screenwriting Magazine, 2003 Script Analysts Review

Script Consulting Services

Dara Marks has worked as a script consultant and story analyst for the past two decades. Her highly regarded technique helps writers identify and focus on the deeper, thematic, emotional and even spiritual dimensions of their stories. Dara incorporates the fundamentals of traditional story structure, but also moves writers beyond that paradigm, by identifying an interior structure that forms the Transformational Arc. This arc illuminates the inner journey that a character takes while moving through the external events (or plot) of a story. This movement especially resonates with the audience because it parallels our experiences in real life. An incident or series of events that form a plotline only has profound meaning if it can lead us to a greater and deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. The Transformational Arc can be found in all genres and it is the single most important factor that separates good scripts from great ones.

Dara's process of story analysis encompasses four major goals:
  1. To identify the primary structural elements of the plot and subplot lines in order to develop a structural breakdown of the script. This allows the analyst to virtually "look inside" the story and gauge clearly and precisely what is occurring in the structure.
  2. To help define and articulate the thematic goal of the story so that the writer can approach the rewrite with purpose and intentionality.
  3. To track the transformational arc of the story so that the writer can better understand the movement of the plot in relationship to the internal journey of the protagonist.
  4. To brainstorm with the writer to develop new ideas for solving script problems.
In addition to identifying script problems, a great deal of time is spent helping the writer develop stronger techniques in order to raise his or her skill level. Whether a writer is a novice or an experienced professional, weaknesses in a script generally point to weaknesses in the writer's technique. The ultimate goal of this story analysis is not just to help create a better script, but also to help a writer reach his or her full potential.

For a more in-depth discussion on her technique, please click here to read Dara's interview in Above the Line.