"I love sharing everything I've learned over 20 years in the entertainment and publishing industries about the power of great storytelling. Every time I get the
opportunity to present, I'm completely psyched."
Call or email Lisa Millis to check Chris's availability...
“Chris Millis is one of America’s most original, hip young writers. His clever and hilarious sense of humor and wonderful eye for subtle details are exquisite and engaging. Simply put, he sees the world in a quirky, satirical way
that leaves you surprised with new insight.”
that leaves you surprised with new insight.”
–M.L. Liebler, Detroit poet, professor,
Wayne State University
Chris Millis is a prize-winning, bestselling author, Hollywood screenwriter, producer, cartoonist, and funny, dynamic presenter. His work has appeared on TV programs like Today, The Tonight Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Entertainment Tonight, and in publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and many more.
Chris adapted his novel Small Apartments into the cult film that premiered at the South By Southwest Film Festival and is distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures. He’s worked closely with many actors, including Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Matt Lucas, Rosie Perez, Rebel Wilson, James Marsden, Rob Schneider—as well as top directors, producers, and studio executives.
|Johnny Knoxville, Matt Lucas, Chris Millis, and|
Jonas Akerlund at SXSW in Austin, Texas
In Spring 2015, Chris will be the Visiting Writer in Screenwriting for the MFA in Creative Writing Program at The College of Saint Rose (Albany, NY). He holds a B.A. in Art from SUNY Buffalo State College (Buffalo, NY) and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College (Plainfield, VT).
“You write good kid, you’re funny." –Billy Crystal
|On the set of "Small Apartments"|
While managing an eclectic variety of film, television, and book projects, Chris has co-written celebrity memoirs and written and illustrated for children's books, magazines, newspapers, greeting cards, and toys.
“Chris Millis is a true visionary. One of a kind.”
–Neil Landau, bestselling author, UCLA screenwriting professor,
writer of “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”
What will Chris talk about?
Do you want to be a great communicator? Do you want to better understand why, and how, certain stories move people so profoundly? There is awesome power in understanding the fundamental elements of great storytelling. Give Chris just one hour and you'll never look at the structure of stories—or life itself—quite the same again.
But Chris doesn’t just talk—he shows. Using hundreds of images, presented with candid wit and insight, Chris unravels the timeless wisdom behind great storytelling—from Aristotle to Spielberg, from "Gilgamesh" to "Little Miss Sunshine".
He doesn't just show why the best stories resonate with us so deeply, Chris also teaches how anyone can master, and benefit from using, the tools of classic three-act structure—and he makes it fun!
Chris offers four talks, each customizable to your group:
1. How Stories Offer Meaning To Our Lives. Designed for a general audience, Chris considers stories as a sort of “flight simulator” for our lives, exploring how films provide a safe environment for us to vicariously experience, and grow from, the challenges and trauma characters face.
2. Storytelling for Writers. An intellectual analysis of the elements of a well-structured story that provides practical tools to writers, students, or anyone who aspires to understand how to craft great stories.
3. Storytelling for Professionals. In this shifting, fast-paced world of short attention spans, she who tells the best story—wins. Mastering the timeless power of three-act structure in business and marketing helps you design and control your own narrative, makes you a superior communicator, and gives you the competitive edge.
4. Storytelling for Kids. A simple approach to teaching children the basic elements of story structure by using advice from the team at Pixar.
Chris is also available to facilitate lively, interactive workshops.
“Chris Millis is my favorite kind of writer. He creates lunatics you find yourself relating to—then can’t help rooting for them.”
–Rob Schneider, actor-comedian
|Speaking with college students|
“Irresistible. Chris Millis stands alone. A truly original, highly accomplished comic novelist.”
–Richard Panek, author, The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy,
and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality
Recent presentations and workshops:
2013 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference, Boston, MA
2012 South by Southwest Festival, Austin TX
Auburn University, Auburn, GA
Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Western New England University, Springfield. MA
Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH
Olin College, Needham, MA
Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA
Goddard College, Plainfield, VT
SUNY Adirondack, Queensbury, NY
Sierra Nevada College, Incline Village, NV
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Siena College, Loudonville, NY
Silver Bay YMCA of the Adirondacks, Silver Bay, NY
Stowe Story Labs, Stowe, VT (faculty)
Writing for Success Writers Seminar, Saratoga Springs, NY (lead presenter, panels moderator)
Chris has also presented programs at libraries, high schools, and elementary schools.
Some press and testimonials:
“Zany.” The Washington Post
“Singularly weird.” –The Hollywood Reporter
“Chris Millis, a novelist and screenwriter, introduced the notions of formulas and math in the creative process. He outlined the structure typically followed by moviemakers—the pace at which they introduce the main character, establish the routines of life, then make something happen, forcing a reaction. There’s much more, but it was startling to think that most movies follow a formula, and that the timing of a typical plot can be tracked down to the minute. That kind of insight is invaluable to people who want to break into the movies.” Stowe Reporter (Stowe, VT)
"Chris Millis has a gift for making idiots likable. He has the amazing ability to create eccentric characters and place them in outlandish situations leading the reader on an emotional and unexpected adventure. I look forward to reading everything he writes. I love him! –Jonas Akerlund, Grammy Award-winning film and video director
“Perceptive, lyrical, moving, and brilliantly funny. A superb writer.”
–Mark Piznarski, television director
("Veronica Mars", "Gossip Girl", "90210")
|Presenting at Silver Bay in the beautiful Adirondack|
Mountains of New York State.
Chris's smart, quirky, information-packed PowerPoint presentations are a huge hit with audiences. Here are a few testimonials from recent events:
2014 Silver Bay YMCA of the Adirondacks
“More Chris Millis!”
“Loved the visuals and the sound was very good.”
“Excellent presentation with great visuals in media presentation.”
“He was SO knowledgeable and had such a terrific way of showing each point. Lots to think about.”
“Did a super job!”
“One of the best programs.”
“Very great lecture.”
“A lot of meat.”
“Excellent subject and execution!”
2013 analysis of the “Toy Story” trilogy, Silver Bay YMCA of the Adirondacks
“Great subject; very entertaining; extremely well delivered.”
“Outstanding knowledge and enthusiasm.”
“Energy terrific; please bring him back next year!”
“Presenter so on top of his game. Definitely more of this presenter.”
“Marvelous. I had no idea of the format. His PowerPoint was so creative and lecture informative and clear.”
“Everything simply fantastic!”
“Liked the way it was told with pictures and voices and nice stories.”
“I liked it all! Very instructional, funny, and satisfying.”
“Fascinating. I had no idea of how a story is constructed. Now I want to see these movies again. I will look up Chris’s book.”
“Excellent presentation. Great speaker.”
“Good speaker—fast-paced, very interesting, informative.”
“Very informative and well illustrated.”
“Very interesting—excellent speaker.”
“Very well done presentation—like a three-act story.”
“Interesting how toys and children’s movies are so relevant in adult life.”
“Visuals and information were fascinating. Made me want to re-watch the ‘Toy Story’ trilogy.”
“Excellent examples, well presented.”
“We love him!”
“Excellent and unusual. Really useful information.”
“Fascinating dissection of the essence of a story.”
2012 analysis of “Casablanca”, Silver Bay YMCA of the Adirondacks
“Outstanding content. Fascinating.”
“Very creative and enlightening.”
“The best program of the two Family Weeks!”
“Clear, organized, informative.”
“Obviously, this speaker is highly creative and competent.”
“Enjoyed Chris’s way of ‘teaching’ and sharing his knowledge of storytelling. Funny and intelligent!”
“What to look for as we follow the storyline in future movies.”
“This opened a whole new world of observation. Thank you!”
“Totally different than anything offered. Fascinating insight into filmmaking.”
“I learned a lot. Thank you!”
“Fabulous! Excellent! Lots of substance.”
“Very well organized, professional.”
“Well-planned and executed. Charming.”
“Excellent analysis of the structure of ‘Casablanca’.”
“Educational. Great analysis.”
“Really well-structured and presented!”
“Would love for him to come again and explore other great stories. No complaints.”
“Interesting. Great analysis.”
“Awesome. Very intriguing. Thank you for generously sharing the principles. I do think it will help us all both read and watch smarter.”
“Helped me understand movies.”
“No criticism. Tightly developed for a 90-minute presentation.”
|Chris fields audience questions at SXSW|
2014 Writing for Success Writers Seminar
“This was great! Engaging and informative. Thank you!” (5 out of 5)
“I will never watch a film the same. Fantastic.” (5 out of 5)”
“Very pragmatic! Loved this lecture. Thank you for bringing this to Saratoga Springs!” (5 out of 5)
“Fine presenter and especially good moderator. Always had the right questions and comments to keep the seminar on track and to address important writing, publishing, and marketing issues. Well organized. Very articulate and informative.” (5 out of 5)
“Really enjoyed examples of films and connection to good writing. Great! Liked the visuals a lot!” (5+ out of 5)
“Creative, intelligent, well-organized, and prepared.” (5 out of 5)
“Informative and practical.” (5 out of 5)
“Very well presented, clear, and helpful. Very enlightening.” (5 out of 5)
“I loved Chris’s breakdown of how a script tells a story—very detailed, giving page numbers and how many minutes it takes to get to certain points. Great presentation with dynamic examples. I also like the way we were encouraged to talk to each other before Chris’s talk. It set a good mood and tone for the day. The tone was warm and collaborative. The information was real and useful.” (5 out of 5)
“Extremely helpful. My storytelling needs more structure and this presentation showed me how to achieve that end.” (5 out of 5)
“Very inspirational and informative! The length of the program was perfect. I’m encouraged to finish my memoirs!” (5 out of 5)
“Excellent.” (5 out of 5)
“Chris’s presentation was a clear and direct way to understand the process—including the use of familiar films. He gave an in-depth educational trip through the making of a script, or novel, and delivered exactly what I needed.” (5 out of 5)
“Very clear. Easy to understand. Great moderator.” (5 out of 5)
“Awesome presentation. Great information presented in a digestible format. Examples that everyone could recognize. Chris’s presentation would be helpful to both novelists and screenwriters.” (5+ out of 5)
“Excellent presentation. I thought the information presented was very valuable and useful. Thank you. This was a great experience!” (5 out of 5)
“Excellent—loved it! Chris Millis’s presentation was so engaging he should’ve been given more time. Would love to have him offer a more involved, writing-specific workshop. He was very good!” (5+ out of 5)
“Worth the admission price for his talk alone.” (5 out of 5)
“Outstanding! Chris bridged writing a book and writing a screenplay—setting out a structure that fits both. Clear examples with excellent choices to make his points. Great delivery. Easy to relate to with screenwriting, as well as books.” (5 out of 5)
“Excellent with Chris’s repeated examples from a small set of films. Very effective way to illustrate the mechanisms he described. … Key to the panel was Chris’s moderation. He found a way to incorporate each panelist, despite the large field. … Chris’s moderation of the panels was superb. Would not have been so successful, in my opinion, without his strong moderation.” (4 out of 5)
“Chris’s knowledge of the storytelling process was the most valuable portion of the day. I did come away with a much better feel for the organization of my stories. It was real information I can use.” (5 out of 5)
|Chris at the phenomenal Stowe Story Labs with UK filmmaker, |
David Pope, casting director Ellen Parks ("Sideways", "Secretary"),
and Story Labs Director, David Rocchio.
2014 Stowe Story Labs
“So passionate and such a unique voice. Clearly communicated with so much excitement that it was infectious. Also, so appreciated his realism.”
“Chris’s presentation regarding story outlines and storyboarding was enlightening. I will always keep his two-pager with me while writing. I also thoroughly enjoyed his analysis of the actual films—tracking the high and low points, i.e., midpoints and ‘all is lost,’ of the films.”
“5+ out of 5! Great presentation. The handout will be helpful. I’m going to plug my story into it.”
“Loved the hand out!! This PowerPoint deck was very helpful to get an idea of outline of structure. I loved his personal reflections, insights, and general awesomeness.”
“It truly challenged me and forced me to think outside the box.”
“Providing clarity to the extent clarity could be defined at this point in time. It gave valuable tools to continue exposing such clarity.”
“The whole thing was fantastic.”
“The amount of information, the insights, the care, the honesty and guidance has been more than I could have anticipated or hoped for. Thank you.”
“I’m still extremely energized and raring to go.”
2013 Stowe Story Labs
"Chris Millis's exercise was extremely helpful and beneficial. Went home that night and started reviewing my script with his notes guiding me."
"A very concise intro to the three-act structure."
"Excellent! Chris is such a normal guy!"
"Very valuable and insightful."
"Extremely useful information. Hugely helpful."
"Hearing Chris's story was amazing."
"I've seen Chris's presentation three times and it's improved each time. A smart, polished presentation. Very helpful."
"Truly inspirational, thoughtful, targeted and well-organized. I found the examples and breakdown to be extremely helpful and clear."
|Chris and Lisa with Dr. Buzz Aldrin backstage |
at the "Tom Green Live" show
Call or email Lisa Millis to check Chris's availability...