DZ-72: Theme & The Story Synopsis – Development Tools 2

How can I develop my theme without writing script pages?

Continuing our look at tools used in development, Chas & Stu are joined by Stephen Cleary to talk about Theme, The Thematic Logline and what Stephen calls The Story Synopsis. All are tools to help writers better understand their theme and how it is dramatised. We use the classic film WITNESS as an example, so spoilers abound.

Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.

Thanks to Meegan May for reading the examples. Meegan May is an emerging queer screenwriter and former military intelligence analyst with plenty of award winning scripts and extensive experience in development. Look her up!


  • 00:00:00 – Intro: Theme in Development
  • 00:01:54 – The Story Synopsis
  • 00:04:19 – Plot & Theme / Praxis & Mythos
  • 00:11:12 – Back to the Story Synopsis
  • 00:13:45 – Witness
  • 00:16:09 – Thematic Logline
  • 00:17:00 – Using the Thematic Logline in development
  • 00:22:26 – Witness – 1st Act in Story Synopsis
  • 00:25:46 – Witness – 2nd Act in Story Synopsis
  • 00:28:55 – Characters, Plot & Theme
  • 00:30:27 – Witness – Book drops his facadé
  • 00:33:25 – Witness – 3rd Act in Story Synopsis
  • 00:40:49 – Witness – Complete Story Synopsis
  • 00:41:51 – Using the Story Synopsis in development
  • 00:48:04 – Rewriting using the Story Synopsis
  • 00:54:53 – Wrap Up



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