Break It Down: Crafting Dynamic Horror

Jacob Johnston
Director/Former CryptTV Executive

Sold Out - Waitlist Available

"I've attended lots of courses and webinars, but Jacob's class stands out. For not only all the information it contained, but also his knowledge and insight. He's so passionate, generous, competent, and invested that we leave totally fuelled by his skilled talent. He's a great source of inspiration, really. Last but not least, I highly appreciate that we are known personally, and are not just anonymous. He sincerely cares about each of us." - Suzanne L.

If you’re anything like us, you love a good horror film—the kind that gets you thinking the things that go bump in the night are just around the corner. But what goes into making the best horror films so compelling that we think about them long after the lights come back on? Is it the subversion of the genre? Is it expertly crafted scenes that draw you in and push your heart into your throat? Is it relatable and compelling characters that make us feel like we’re the ones in the film?

The answer is: all of the above. But how do you, the writer, put all of these elements together into a story that will keep us up all night? You break it down and learn what makes each piece of the puzzle work.

*This class is perfect for anyone wanting to take a deeper dive into what makes horror work, whether you have a completed script you want to improve or a concept you’re looking to flesh out. Each student will leave the class with compelling character breakdowns, strong scene work, and a polished script or outline!*

In This Class, You Will Learn:

  • The ins and outs of the horror genre 
  • How to write dynamic and compelling characters 
  • How to craft tension building scenes with nail biting dialogue 
  • Feedback on your material 
About Your Host

Jacob Johnston is currently in post-production on the horror/thriller film DREAMCATCHER, which he wrote and directed. Prior to the film, Johnston was the SVP of development at CRYPT TV - finding and developing genre pieces for television and film. This included shaping pitches, treatments, scripts, and decks to sell at networks and studios. Johnston's career began at Marvel Studios where he spent 6+ years working in production + development, spanning 19 films, helping to define characters, iconography, and story.

What To Expect

Immediately after registering, you will receive an Order Confirmation email that serves as the receipt for your registration. In the Order Summary section of this email you will find a link reading "CLICK HERE FOR INSTRUCTIONS" that will take you to your syllabus, instructions for submitting material (if any), and the link to join the Live Class. Sessions are conducted via video conferencing software ZOOM. You will receive a link to the recording of the session via email following the live session.

Payment Plans

Payment plans are available for most multi-week classes. For 4-week programs, your balance will be due the second week of class. For longer programs, the balance will be broken up into 3 or 4 payments with the final payment due prior to the final week of class. Please note that you are responsible for the full price of the class even if you decide not to complete the program for any reason.

Cancellation Policy

You may cancel for a full refund up to 72 hrs. prior to the start of the class. Cancellations requested after this deadline will be ineligible for refunds.


If you have any questions at all about this class, email our Director of Education Alexandra Davies at!