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Crime Thriller

3-Part Webinar Series

Enrollment for the Spring Program closed on June 30, 2024.


Every genre imposes conventions on design of story. In the Crime genre, there must be a crime. Yet, whilst conventional crime stories play upon the audience’s fears of lawlessness, violence, and death, the Thriller goes far deeper. It reaches into the audience’s subconscious mind to arouse the gripping, irrational fear of a fate worse than death. The key to a thrilling tale lies in the writer’s mastery of the intricate psychology of both victim and villain, and the razor-sharp use of the genre’s conventions. The greater the mastery, the greater the thrill. In this 3-part series, McKee teaches the nature of evil, how to plan the perfect thriller story, and the conventions you must bend or break in order to create a masterful work.

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What You’ll Learn




What You’ll Learn



The Psychology of Crime

In Part 1 of the series, McKee outlines the different subgenres of crime stories, the evolution of the Thriller, and how to create and sustain the interest of your audience.

Topics covered include...
  • A Brief History of the Crime Genre
    Humanity’s relationship with the law.
  • The 14 Modern Subgenres of Crime
    From whose point of view are you telling the story?
  • The Evolution of the Psycho-Thriller
    The development of the key elements of the subgenre.
  • 3 Strategies of Interest
    Closed versus Open crime stories.



Planning the Perfect Thriller

In Part 2 of the series, McKee shows you how to harness the power of conflict between your characters, how to approach your treatment, and the critical role clues play in writing the perfect crime story.

Topics covered include...
  • Antagonist vs. Protagonist
    Which comes first, and why? 
  • The 9-Step Process
    From blank page to outlining your crime story.
  • Clueing
    How will your detective/audience solve the crime?
  • Psychological Warfare
    Deepening the conflict in your story.



Twelve Thriller Conventions

In Part 3 of the series, McKee teaches the fundamental building blocks of every Thriller story, the different ways you can approach your ending, and how to ensure you actually thrill your audience.

Topics covered include...
  • The End of the Line
    Taking your audience to the limit of human experience.
  • Creating the Climax
    Different ways to end your story.
  • The 12 Thriller Conventions
    The building blocks of every Thriller.
  • What Thrills in a Thriller?
    The defining characteristic of the subgenre.

How it Works


Learn online from Robert McKee

This webinar series consists of three live writing lectures delivered online by Robert McKee via Zoom. Each session is 2 hours in length and starts at 1:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada). This series runs from Tuesday, April 16, through Thursday, April 18, 2024.

Students like the online format because...

“I feel like I am part of a brilliant international writing community just by logging in to Zoom in the evenings from my small living room in the middle of Sweden.”

Elin Olofsson

Q&A Sessions

Ask McKee Anything

Every webinar concludes with a Q&A session during which Robert answers your questions on the topics covered during the lecture, or on any aspect of the writing craft. Participants can submit their questions during the live session or in advance by email.

Students like the Q&A periods because...

“I didn’t realize in the beginning how much the questions would help me learn, but it turns out they are just as important as the lectures. I think that is in large part to the careful attention Robert gives to each one.”

Billie Tomlinson

Live & On Demand

Can’t attend live? No problem!

If you can’t join us live, you can catch up at your convenience. Recordings are made available within 24 hours of the conclusion of each event, and can be viewed as many times as you like within the access period.  Recordings will be available through June 30, 2024. 

Students like recording access because...

“It’s really great to have the chance to watch these webinars at my own convenience and not having to take time off work to attend. I hope he continues to do them, I’ll continue to take them. Can’t wait for the next class.”

Marcos Meconi

Contact us if you’re interested in attending a future session.

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What Attendees Are Saying

“There are too many reasons why Robert is undisputedly the Master of Storytelling, and all of those reasons are self-evident in every one of his lessons. I am a McKee disciple – there is no greater writing apprenticeship possible.”

Natasha Phillips

“I believe that I now have the tools to not only effectively create my own stories but to intelligently evaluate those of others. Besides, McKee is a hoot!”

Marlene Simon

“Out of all the writing classes I’ve attended, every professor and self-proclaimed ‘master’ I’ve learned from pales in comparison to Mr. McKee. He is by far my favorite teacher I’ve ever had. I’m very grateful for his teachings and all the hard work that goes into his compelling lectures.”

Matt Isner

“I joined the spring webinar series and it was groundbreaking for me in every way. What a privilege – I literally felt like I was sitting by the desk of a master, just taking it all in!”

Jane Olander

“A big thank you for the wonderful, inspirational teachings from Robert! I‘m so glad to be part of this, and taking so many new thoughts and ideas from it for my own writing!”

Friederike Giley

“I had several ‘light bulb moments’ as I took notes, and was able to incorporate his ideas into my work-in-progress immediately. This webinar was well worth the time and money.”

Erin Brescia

“In the past, I’ve always considered attending an in-person seminar but life always seemed to get in the way. This format is so much more conducive to repeat viewings, studying and note taking. I hope he will continue to offer his deep knowledge and experience in this format. Thank you!!!”

Ed Han

“I am thoroughly enjoying these sessions and have learned so much beyond my collegiate studies. Robert has inspired, encouraged, and empowered me with his wonderful teaching.”

Becky Bulebush

“I am really enjoying the seminars and am so glad that I signed up. These webinars are inspiring me to make more effort to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) and pursue my ambitions. I must say that I have attended several different writing courses over the years, but none as inspiring as Robert’s.”

Sharon Grey

“Thank you for offering this online option. I am finding fascinating insights and it’s inspiring me to sort issues within my own existing work. I knew something wasn’t right, but now I know what it is and how to fix it.”

Rebecca O'Reilly

“My grasp of craft is immeasurably stronger by virtue of having attended Mr. McKee’s seminars and read (and reread) his books. I strongly recommend him. He’s one of the best speakers I’ve ever encountered, and his palpable delight at all aspects of storytelling is always infectious.”

Barry Eisler

“The amount of information blew me away.  Wish I had taken Robert’s classes much earlier in my writing process… This was an incredible experience and I’ll definitely approach my screenplays with an entirely different approach.”

Cheryl Willis

“This was more than I bargained for. New understanding, insight & inspiration with practical, USEABLE tools, excellent!”

Carol Roscoe

“Robert McKee is truly a master, not only of the art of story, but the art of teaching it as well. One of the most rewarding and informative weekends of my life, and worth every penny.”

Robert Robertson

“The passion and depth at which Mr. McKee dove into this material gave me a sense of infinite possibilities and growth potential. I’m really excited to use all of his principles and tools to analyze other screenplays, which I think will really allow me to grow as a writer and storyteller.”

John Jurko

“McKee’s teachings are invaluable.  I just want to express my appreciation and gratitude to you.  For your devotion to the significance, scope and magnitude of ‘storytelling’ and the writing process.”

Barbara Seyda

“For years I’ve heard about this seminar and thought the accounts about it were exaggerated. I can reassure you they are not. Robert is both hypnotic and mesmerizing… So happy I attended. An experience I will savor for the rest of my life.”

Lilly Chen

“I cannot tell you how fabulous these seminars are. Robert McKee explains things so simply. It’s a succession of lightbulb moments.”

Varda Tully


2024 Genre Festival

To support your commitment to the craft, we’re offering bundle deals on the Genre Festival.
Save when you enroll in multiple webinars.

Love Story

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Crime Thriller

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Enrollment closed.


Enrollment closed.

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