We believe we have found the magic bullet to storytelling and we want to share it with you.
The articles & analyses here on Narrative First represent thousands and thousands of man hours of research, development and writing and they are offered to you for FREE. In return, I only ask that you do two things:
- Treat the information here like you spent $2000 on it. Take what you read here and implement the techniques and ideas into your own writing. If you read an article that hits home with you, convert what you have learned into something you can use on your writing project right now. Today. Please don’t skim or read it like a Twitter feed or a Facebook session and then forget it as you move on to something else. There are so many ideas in here that you can apply to your writing or use to generate story ideas. Pick a handful and start employing those concepts in your day-to-day craft.
- Tell three friends about it. Every one of you has a fellow writer or writer’s group that you’re a part of where the information in here could help them really improve their craft. I’m offering this information free so that you can spread these ideas with whoever you think could use it the most. In a way then, you have the opportunity to help your friends become even better writer and accomplish more in the next couple of months than they have in the past couple of years. What could be more awesome than that?
I have invested days and days of careful study and thought to put this site together. And it’s all yours for free, because I know that by taking the time to invest in you, you’ll be back to invest in more of what I do—whether through more of these articles or through one of my story consulting services.
Films come at too high a cost (both financially and personally) to allow for dysfunctional stories. Going with one’s gut instincts and hoping that it will all work out in the end sets a production of the path towards a very steep cliff. Trusting the process of writing sets the stage for failure. Craft a solid blueprint—making allowances for serendipity and creativity—and then start production.
No use wasting everyone’s time on a shoddy foundation.
Submit your story idea or characters and we will have a logistically complete and emotionally compelling outline unique to your story within the week. Learn more about our exclusive outlining service, the Narrative First Sherpa, and start writing that story with the confidence that you are headed in the right direction.
There can be no greater reward in life than helping someone develop a greater understanding of their own art. Writers write to express something deep inside; a better appreciation of narrative structure allows for a greater honesty of expression. We feel lucky to be a part of that.
Read feedback from writers we have worked with or inspired.
About the Author
James R. Hull is a professional screenwriter & story consultant with over twenty years of experience in the entertainment industry. His company Narrative First (narrativefirst.com) provides writers and producers the knowledge and expertise needed to craft deeply meaningful and complete stories. His track record of proven success speaks for itself: clients have yet to receive a single studio note questioning the integrity of their narratives.
Every succesful story is a model of a single human mind trying to solve a problem. Driven by this idea, Jim helps storytellers align their narratives with the mind’s problem-solving process. The closer authors adhere to this model, the greater the level of engagement with their audience—a connection that lasts far beyond the final curtain drop and far beyond that final page.
Whether as a writer, director, storyboard artist, or character animator, Jim has always sought to improve the quality of storytelling. His recent work with a major studio on developing the story for their multi-year animated television series helped guarantee a green light. Instead of taking the risk on a speculative concept, studio execs were able to hear precisely how the show would play out over several seasons—making it easy to proceed with trust and confidence.
The same pattern continues to play out with every story Jim works on. The twenty-minute pitch for an animated feature was so complete it was met with stunned silence—and essentially sold in the room. The feature-length screenplay he helped take from concept to first draft in less than six weeks is slated to be the foundation for another studio’s foray into animation.
Jim loves story. The hundreds of insightful articles & analysis on Narrative First. The quarterly weekend workshops and on-line classes for writers. The seven years spent teaching story at the California Institute of the Arts. The collaboration with writers, directors, and producers of film, television and novels. All of these add up to a body of work with only one purpose in mind: to tell a great story.
The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Dilbert
Peabody & Mr. Sherman, Chuck Jones Film Productions (Working with legendary director Chuck Jones on various Warner Bros. animated shorts)
Disney Feature Animation Special Projects (Various theme park rides), Cloudy with a Chance of a Meatballs 2, The Croods, Madagascar 3, Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda 2, Megamind, How to Train Your Dragon, Monsters vs. Aliens, Madagascar 2, Bee Movie, Enchanted, Over the Hedge, Madagascar, Shrek 2, Sinbad, Spirit, Tarzan, Hercules, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas
Adjunct Professor, Story
California Institute of the Arts (2008-2014)
Jim can be found @jameshull on Twitter.