It got me to think more deeply about my characters and their motivations.

Jenn Hopkins

Sceneplay revealed flaws and weakness that I didn’t know existed.

Ezequiel Soltero

I felt I learned a lot, not just about how to improve my scene but how to make my screenplay better over all.

Karen Walton-Rolls

Sceneplay clarified my character’s motivations, i.e. what makes him/her “stay in the room”.

Chris Snow

I knew my scene wasn't working as well as it should...bringing the conflict to the forefront was like the magic key. I feel like I now know how to rewrite it to not only advance the story, but also to propel the surrounding scenes forward. Very exciting stuff...

Joyce Simons

[Sceneplay] helped save it and helped me realize how much tighter I need the character objectives to be.

JoAnne Edwards

With Sceneplay I saw a key character evolve from passive suitcase to an engaging and dynamic driver of the scene. The process significantly deepened his relationship with the second key character, enriched the entire script and made the scene do three times the work in the same number of pages. In short, the writing went from okay to brilliant in less than an hour.

Geof Miller
Producer, Development Consultant

It helped me see where my dialogue worked & faltered. I liked seeing what worked for the actors & where I need to write more or less dialogue.

Karen Walton-Rolls

I learned a ton from watching [another writer’s] scene too. I loved watching you, Tim, and the actors dissect the scene.

Joyce Simons

Welcome to Sceneplay!
Get Ready to Change the Way You Write Scenes

Dear Writers and Producers:

A few years ago I was a director of an experimental group at a major university. We developed innovative methods for creating scenes from the ground up. What I learned there fundamentally changed the way I thought about scripts and story. As I put into practice the ideas that you’ll discover here, the results were astonishing and immediate.

Hi, I’m Lisa Phelps Dawes and I’m genuinely excited to share what I’ve learned with you.

Sceneplay really got its start when my husband Tim and I were directing improvisational works. We had to create dramatic, crisp scenes from scratch. Fortunately, we were able to attract amazing actors. So in an environment of good-natured collaboration and risk-filled experimentation we turned out working scene after working scene.

But, as a screenwriter, I noticed something startling. We started building scenes fast. And they got better even faster. Much faster than I could write or improve any scene while working alone at my computer. What was going on? Sure, the actors were quicker at generating new material than I was, but that didn’t seem to be the whole story. The relationship was definitely symbiotic. We each contributed something that really made the scenes click.

I discovered that I knew something as a director that I obviously wasn’t bringing to my writing. Working with live actors I was able to see and manipulate all of the elements of the scene until they lined up. When they did, we produced action and dialogue that was not only powerful, but unexpected as well. The actors made everything immediate and real almost without effort.

Over time we developed a methodology for consistently making scenes compelling. And we discovered that at the core was a clear and deep understanding of conflict that writers weren’t being taught. Now in our sessions, producers and writers happily report the astounding benefits they get such as:

  • Scenes that work three times harder then when they brought them in
  • Adjustments to a scene that not only improves that scene but the entire story
  • The realization that their story would be stronger in a completely different genre
  • Dialogue that was dull and on-the-nose that becomes witty and incisive
  • Weak characters that struggle with unclear motivations suddenly come into sharp relief and act as major drivers in the story

Thanks to the gifted writers and actors we’ve been privileged to work with, today I feel confident saying we can help you create not just better scenes, but better stories.

To get started now please sign up for our electronic newsletter, SceneZine. It’s full of great real world examples from the trenches of scene writing. Or download our special report on Writing Killer Scenes.

Thanks for visiting. Please let us know if you have any specific feedback that will make this site better and more useable for you. And remember to check back often. We’re constantly adding new tools and information.

But above all, keep writing!

Warm Regards,

Lisa Phelps Dawes
President, Sceneplay

About Lisa Phelps Dawes

Lisa Phelps Dawes is a three time Emmy® award-winning writer/director with 17 years of experience in commercial production, screenwriting and theater. As President and Founder of Sceneplay, Lisa creates, customizes and facilitates various Sceneplay sessions. Her clients include independent producers and screenwriters, University of Washington Extension, The Film School, and Microsoft.

Contact Us


  Email :




  Comments or Questions:

Sceneplay, a division of Interplay, Inc.
Home | Screenwriters | Producers & Executives | Products | Free Resources | About Us | Site Map
This website is protected by law: Copyright 2011,