CSW is holding a scene writing class led by screenwriter, filmmaker and story analyst Jim Mercurio. The event is a fundraiser for Laurie Smith and Dennis Greene who lost everything in a Christmas Day fire. All proceeds go to them.

Carnegie Screenwriters presents Advanced Scene Writing with Jim Mercurio. This event is a benefit for local filmmakers Laurie Smith Greene and Dennis Greene whose home in McKees Rocks was destroyed by a fire on Christmas Day. They lost everything in the fire and need our help. All proceeds from the event will go directly to Laurie and Dennis to help them rebuild their lives.
Laurie is a filmmaker who has worked on Carnegie Screenwriters projects with us including “Test 89” for the 48 Hour Film Project (she won Best Cinematography) and “Silent Tales” the documentary about the Richland Cemetery in Dravosburg. Jim Mercurio is an award-winning filmmaker and story analyst whose book The Craft of Scene Writing will be released later this year.
Advanced Scene Writing – Four-hour Class with Lecture, Clips and Discussion
DATE: Saturday, January 27
TIME: 11 AM – 4 PM (Lunch Provided)
LOCATION: The Wilkins School Community Center
7604 Charleston Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
PRICE: $25
There are a limited number of seats and we want to make accurate plans for lunch, so please sign up online. Walk-ins welcome, but pre-registration is preferred.
Don’t think of scene writing as a specialty or niche craft applicable for only storytellers of short-form narratives such as commercials, skits, sketches and shorts. It is for everyone who uses the principles of narrative in their work — editors, composers, songwriters, actors, directors, producers, novelists, and of course screenwriters — ALL STORYTELLERS.
Scene writing is storytelling in its purest form.
How can you masterfully “turn” a 100-page script if you can’t master the climactic “turn” of a 3-page story?
The nitty-gritty craft principles of scene writing helps writers succeed both creatively and professionally. This class focuses on craft, and craft usually takes care of much of the business side. Jack Nicholson says he won’t do a movie unless it has at least five amazing moments. The scenes in your script have to be as good as its structure. Structure alone does not lead to a great screenplay.
Regardless of the specific state of the industry, the spec market always favors a script that is ready to go and writers who can deliver a near-flawless, ready-to-shoot draft. It’s not enough to have only a cool concept. A polished script with bulletproof execution can skip the development process and allows producers or agents to submit it immediately to actors or directors — the linchpins of the packaging process — whose involvement can lead to a sale and production
Create more emotional scenes and hone your unique voice while giving your script the best chance to succeed in the competitive spec market.
  • Working definition of a scene and its elements
  • The source and essence of surprise and organics reversals
  • The importance of climax and how to accentuate it
  • How to “break the rules” like Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino and David Mamet do
  • New principles like “smashability,” extended beats and writing to concept
  • Rewriting strategies for your scenes
If you cannot afford the fee, contact Jim (jim (at), and we will make it work.
Updates will be posted on the Carnegie Screenwriters Facebook Page and via email.