Monday, October 8, 2012

Rochester Writer's Conference Keynote


I've been asked to delivery the keynote at the Rochester Writer's Conference Oct 20, 1012, which will be held in the Oakland Center at Oakland University, Rochester, MI. Here's a LINK to their site with registration information.

To assist in founder's Michael Dwyer's promotion below you'll find a description of my talk just after lunch.

Session Slides Download:
Greyscale PDF Slides (6 up)
Color PDF Slides (1 up)

Session Title:
THE TOP 21 SECRETS OF STORY SUCCESS, based on his Hollywood Story Structure book: "The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue and Vice for Box Office Success."

Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D., Hollywood Story Consultant, Filmmaker, Writer, Publisher-Distributor
(Bio below)

General Description:
At the heart of all successful stories (whether they be short-stories, novels, plays or motion pictures) is a foundational concept that Will Smith calls “the most powerful tool in my new toolbox.” Modern research has shown that if you ignore this concept and its interrelated secrets your story is doomed. But if you consistently apply them to each character, each scene, and each dramatic beat of your tale -- your storytelling will be empowered, you’ll connect with your audience, and all the other techniques you bring to the craft will shine and fall into place. As historic and fundamental as these basic concepts are, some have become lost secrets. It’s not uncommon in story meetings to hear exclamations like, “Oh, I knew you were going to ask that” or “How could we have forgotten such a critical idea this late in the game?” Don’t be caught unawares. Follow these rules and you have a chance.  Here’s a bonus promise: Apply this concept and its ancient corollaries to your writing, and writer’s block is guaranteed to disappear.

In this 1-hour seminar you will learn the most fundamental elements of all successful story structure used in motion picture screenplays, stage plays, novels, and short stories. The talk is supplemented with graphic slides and movie clips. Blubs of what others have said about the seminar/workshop can be found at http://www.moralpremise.come - where you can also by the book and read it beforehand.  Books will be available onsite.

Narrative writers of all media will find this session beneficial, if not foundational. If you're a writer this session will give you a practical understanding of the crux of all story telling — the psychological motivation that centrally controls all character's values, actions, and consequences, and keeps the story focused on one thing. It's called the moral premise and it's been around since the beginning of storytelling. Knowing the moral premise of your tale will speed along and improve the quality of your story's structure and writing. In many ways the moral premise is a powerful muse; when used correctly it will inspire and focus your efforts, and powerfully connect you with your audience. Say "Good-bye" to writer's block.

(Depending on how fast I can talk, I'll expand or shrink the following outline. There will be time for Q&A afterwards, and I'll be hanging around the conference most of the day for informal consultations and conversation.)

•    The Purpose of Story
•    What Makes a Story True
•    The Physical vs. The Psychological Storyline
•    Natural Law and Stories - Cause & Effect
•    How the Moral Premise Unites Physical & Psychological
•    True vs. False Moral Premises
•    Box Office Correlation
•    The Protagonist's Moral Decisions
•    Conflict of Values - Story's Dramatic Thrust
•    Virtue vs. Vice

•    General Form of the Moral Premise
•    Connecting Vice, Virtue, and Consequences
•    Physical Effects - Psychological Cause
•    The MP in LIAR! LIAR!
•    The MP in DIE HARD
•    The MP Arc in DIE HARD (Clip)
•    The MP in THE INCREDIBLES (Clip)

•    Where the MP is Recognized
•    The All Important Midpoint of Act 2
•    MOG Determines the Story's End
•    MOG in LIAR! LIAR! (Clip)

•    Consistent Application in All Crafts
•    Protagonist Must Make Moral Decision
•    13 Steps in 3 Acts
•    Act 1 Climax RATATOUILLE (Clip)
•    Act 3 Climax RATATOUILLE (Clip)

•    All Vice contains a Virtue
•    All Virtue contains a Vice
•    Dramatic Thrust from Both Ends

•    5 Acts - A. F. Purchase Model
•    7 Acts - Stages of Greif
•    12 Stages - The Mythic Hero
•    15 Beats - Blake Snyder (BS2)
•    Combination Beat Chart

Dr. Stan Williams is a novel and screenplay consultant for accounts in Los Angeles and across the country. His best-known client is the actor-producer Will Smith with whom Stan and worked since 2008 on over a dozen of Smith's projects. Stan is an author, writer, speaker, and an international award-winning corporate and entertainment media producer. Since 1972, he has executive produced, directed, written, or distributed hundreds of video, film, television and interactive projects, some with world-wide distribution. Prior to his involvement in the film industry he headed up the business and creative effort at several agencies for major accounts at Ford Motor, General Motors, Chrysler Corporation, and Harley-Davidson. He also spent three years training astronauts in Houston. His screenplay structure book is The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue and Vice for Box Office Success, published by Michael Wiese Productions. Essays, reviews and blurbs of Stan's work, writings, blogs, and workshops can be found at

2 comments: said...

I was in love with your presentation at the Rochester Writer's Conference. man, I love your references and breakdowns of storytelling on a level I cld not being to put together.

Thank you for sharing and making the information available. I was going to suggest instead of mugs, you make posters of two of those charts from the presentation.

I'd love to have a blow up of them right on my wall!

Diana K. Plopa said...

Thank you very much for bringing your time and expertise to the conference. I was overwhelmed by your generosity of sharing your wisdom. I felt as though I had attended a Master Class.

Thank you, also, for taking the time to speak with me, personally, after your presentation. I will devour your book and I am sure it will bring my writing greater success.

Again, thank you very much!