Avoiding Development Exec Hell


“Your seminar for Development Executives was by far the best seminar I have ever taken. I have found the tools you discussed to be very instrumental in my analysis of scripts on a day to day basis. I recommend your seminar to anyone in the entertainment industry who wants to know what it takes to make a strong script.” — Jen Grisanti –  NBC’s Writers on the Verge, and former studio executive

“Jeff Kitchen is a brilliant dramatist. He’s been teaching and guiding screenwriters for many years. His ability to analyze story and structure is profound.” — Ted Melfi – Writer/Director – Hidden Figures (nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars)

“Tools that we could immediately integrate, which were flexible and adaptable to our own processes. A dramaturgical approach with a distinguished history that avoids the pitfalls of formulae. And it works. Smart and effective, it’s a great tool for anyone developing story material.” — Stephanie Savage – former Director of Development, Flower Films

As a story development executive, yours is one of the most important, yet under-appreciated roles in our industry. You’re working hard to succeed as you navigate the pitfalls of:

  • building a power network with agents, managers, talent and other execs
  • finding and shaping compelling stories, often while working with difficult writers
  • making sure you get credit for your work

Overcoming these and other mission-critical challenges in order to earn the promotions you deserve to build a sustainable career in this highly competitive town.

By invitation and referral only, a one-day intensive for working professional MP/TV story development execs* where you will get exclusive access to:


  • A highly-effective tool for speaking truth to power and even disagreeing with your boss(es), that will leaving them loving you more.
  • Revolutionary hacks to dramatically improve your networking skills and even make it feel much less intimidating.
  • Little-known insights into the world of agents and managers, so you can build stronger, more productive relationships with them.
  • The truth behind why development executives often don’t get credit for their work, and how to make sure that you do.
  • A surprising insight about the core power of story, and a deeper understanding of your role as a development executive, guaranteed to both surprise and empower you.

IN THE ROOM (the collaborative creative process):

  • Understanding and addressing the 5 main challenges of working with writers.
  • A simple, yet powerful organizing principle to help your notes stand out and shine to both your bosses and to the writers you work with.
  • How the way most execs give feedback misses a vital and valuable step, thereby leading to the number one cause of Development Hell.
  • Why the most common tool development execs use for fixing scripts in Hollywood is so difficult, and is often counterproductive to the project.
  • How to avoid the 3 most common yet embarrassing missteps almost every development exec makes in the room.
  • A deeper understanding of commonly misunderstood story development terms (such as cliché, on-the-nose, over-the-top, etc.), which unlocks hidden concepts to immediately strengthen your ability to more masterfully articulate and fix story issues in the room.


  • A unique and innovative mix of classic structural principles and cutting-edge development techniques to consistently create coherent compelling dramatic action—one of the magic ingredients that makes scripts work.
  • A collection of advanced structural techniques that allows you to take “X-rays” of your story’s structure in order to diagnose tricky problems and help create effective solutions.
  • A reliable approach to discover the theme that’s deeply embedded in the story itself, rather than what the writer may mistakenly think the theme is, and how to use use it to focus and amplify the script’s strength.
  • An exciting way to experiment with a story’s main elements in order to break out of weak story choices, shatter cliché, and push creative boundaries with confidence.
  • Cutting-edge, high-level, proven story tools not available anywhere else to fix weakness in premise, structure, character, and other craft elements by heightening conflict, aligning structure, deepening character, and strengthening theme–all in conjunction with one another.
  • An amazingly effective tool for separating the necessary from the unnecessary, to tighten and focus everything from the deep structure all the way down to dialog and action beats.
  • Ancient wisdom and cutting-edge psychology to build multi-dimensional characters with hidden depths, secret fears, core desires, and useful blind spots.
  • A remarkable tool that structures your overall story, and then, working systematically, constructs, tightens, and dramatizes each act, each sequence, and then each scene.
  • Why putting the character in the worst possible position is the often the best thing to do, and how to do it effectively.
  • An array of practical step-by-step tools to confidently wade into the typical whirlpool of fuzzy logic and partly-formed creative possibilities, and reliably pull it all together into a coherent compelling story.
  • A simple yet powerful tool for creating, strengthening, and/or correcting both structural issues, and character motivation and depth, at the same time.

* By invitation or referral only, and must work at an industry company (current or past). If you have questions about whether you qualify, please CONTACT US.



Q: I want to attend but I’m not available that day. Can I send my assistant or associate to cover it for me?
A: Yes, the main purpose of MPii events is help strengthen our industry. In this case, by providing support to current and future story development execs. You can send someone else if they are A) attending on your behalf (to provide you with the information) or B) if they themselves have an interest in potentially becoming a development executive (ideally both). While this is a high-level workshop for working professionals, junior staff who are bright and motivated should be able to follow along and get a lot out of the day.
Note: portions of the summit will include candid ‘no holds barred’ group discussion about the rewards and challenges of being a development executive in today’s industry.

Q: Is this another new-theory-of-the-week class? I’ve had enough of them.
A: Everything presented in this workshop is designed to be immediately usable and practical, and comes from time-tested classic techniques and deep industry-based experience. These are powerful tools and approaches, straight from the trenches of high-level industry story development. The presenters are themselves industry professionals who have each helped develop hundreds of screenplays for movies and television with Academy and Emmy-award winning companies and filmmakers. Guaranteed to be immediately applicable in your day-to-day work finding and improving stories for standout movies and television, this workshop delivers powerful, proven tools and techniques created from an innovative mix of:
Classic story principles, several of which have actually been lost to Hollywood in recent decades.
Cutting-edge story development hacks, not available elsewhere, which have evolved from actual award-winning, as well as box office-crushing, story development.

Q: Can my colleagues attend as well?
A: Yes, space allowing, we encourage execs to bring colleagues, co-workers, teammates and others with whom they can share the information. Often execs find that it makes for more productive use of the tools and techniques when others on your team understand them as well. Also, if you bring or refer two others, you can attend at no cost.

Q: I want to attend, but my company doesn’t pay for professional education. Can I sign up and pay the tuition fee myself?
A: Sure, many execs pay for themselves for a variety of reasons, including company policies, or not wanting to look like they need additional training in front of their bosses. Our mission is to support today’s and future industry professionals in gaining access to what they need to succeed, which is why at MPii we work hard to keep program fees as low as possible. Additionally, because this information is so important to empowering you for success, which fulfills the MPii mandate to help strengthen our industry, a limited number of scholarships are available. Don’t let the fee be an obstacle. Please contact us to learn about scholarships, or if you need to make other arrangements for covering the tuition fee.


The presenters are experienced professionals who have trained motion picture and television story development personnel from Amazon, CBS, Columbia, Disney, Dreamworks, Fox, HBO, MGM, NBC, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros, Universal, YouTube, and many of the major industry production companies.

MATT KEENER is managing partner and “Chief Story Officer” at Scenario Entertainment. His broad career has given him a unique perspective of the entertainment industry, having been a major agency story/packaging executive and then MP/TV literary agent (ICM, APA), story development executive for two Academy Award-winning production companies, independent producer, and story consultant. A founding director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, Matt serves as a frequent volunteer instructor/coach at MPii, and is editor of the forthcoming book, Story Development: Secrets from the Trenches of Hollywood.

JEFF KITCHEN, a top-rated teacher in the film industry with twenty years experience, is the author of Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting, and a writing instructor/coach at MPii. Jeff is known for discovering and re-introducing the insights of William T. Price, one of the most successful Broadway dramaturgs of all time. Jeff has developed, updated, and shaped these unique tools for screenwriters and story development execs into a powerful plot construction process for building stronger screenplays step by step.

This one-day workshop is  exclusively for working professionals and is available by invitation only. If you would like to be considered for inclusion the next time this training is offered, send us your contact info and be sure to indicate where you are or have worked in story development: