Brian McDonald is a storyteller

Brian McDonald, chief storyteller at Belief Agency in Seattle, is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer who has worked in film, television, and comic books for more than 30 years.

Good stories are medicine

At their most essential, stories are about survival. They teach us how to understand and to live in the world. They help us to cope, to understand, to dream, and to heal. At their core, stories let us know we’re not alone.

At our core, we are all storytellers. But for all of its abundance and necessity, storytelling can be an elusive craft. Personal stories are easy to recall, but it can be difficult to create something original and meaningful. Brian McDonald is a master storyteller who’s helped thousands of people in film, literature, theater, and beyond tell better stories that move people to action.

About Brian

Brian has worked in film, television, and comic books for more than 30 years. His expertise in the structure of storytelling spans writing, directing, consulting, and teaching.


As an award-winning director, Brian is most interested in getting the truest performance—whether for a commercial, a television show, or a feature film. The best stories move people emotionally, and the best way to do that is to tell the truth.


As a consultant, Brian makes order out of chaos and provides a laser focus to the dilemmas facing storytellers. He’s an expert at discovering a story’s theme and at helping writers and directors tell the clearest story possible. Brian has consulted for clients including Pixar, Sony, and Cirque du Soleil.


Brian is an award-winning writer best known for his book Invisible Ink and graphic novels and comic books for Dark Horse Comics including Predator and Lost in Space. Brian’s writing expertise extends to feature film screenplays, film rewrites, and other studio assignments.


Brian uses simplicity, humor, and decades of experience to clarify the fundamental elements of storytelling—while showing people how to recognize and cultivate their natural ability to create stories. His classes allow everyone from amateurs to seasoned veterans to turn their inspiration into action—whether it’s a children’s book or a script for a feature-length film. Brian has taught for domestic and international audiences at places like Disney, NFFTY, Industrial Light & Magic, The Red Badge Project, and Women in Film.

High Praise

Brian McDonald has found yet another fresh and objective way to analyze how great stories function, and emboldens you to face the challenge of scaling whatever story mountain looms before you. If I manage to reach the summit of my next story it will be in no small part due to having read Invisible Ink. – director of WALL-E and Finding Nemo
Invisible Ink is a powerful tool for anyone who wants to become a better screenwriter. With elegance and precision, Brian McDonald uses his deep understanding of story and character to pass on essential truths about dramatic writing. Ignore him at your peril. – Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Descendants and Sideways
If you want to write scripts, listen to Brian. The guy knows what he’s talking about. A very well-thought-out, easy-to-follow guide to the thing all we writers love to pretend we don’t slavishly follow—story structure. – director of Bridesmaids and Freaks and Geeks

Featured Books

Brian is an award-winning writer best known for his book Invisible Ink and graphic novels and comic books for Dark Horse Comics including Predator and Lost in Space.

Land of the Dead Book Cover_Toby Cypress

Land of the Dead

“It takes us through the dark to the light. A profound graphic novel. Can’t wait to read it again.”
Frank Oz

There is wisdom in the land of the dead, for it is the place that all stories lay to rest. And what is a story, if not a simulation of survival? Readers will see how different forms of survival—physical, emotional, spiritual—inform the arch of character development in a way that makes them more complex and compelling.

Whether you’re in film, books, comics, or simply a story enthusiast, this book offers a way to see character development and the crafting of plot through the lens of human questions of morality and mortality.

Invisible Ink


The Golden Theme

Old Souls Cover

Old Souls

Storystructure and filmmaking

Ink Spots


Featured content

podcast by Belief Agency in Seattle
A podcast discussing the elements that make for a good story with Belief Agency executive creative director Jesse Bryan.

You are a Storyteller Podcast

Watch and listen as they talk through the nuance of structure, stress the importance of the armature (or theme), analyze classic films, and cover useful storytelling concepts like “the dark night of the soul.”

Actor Tom Skerritt and filmmaker Brian McDonald teach story concept and direction to students of the Red Badge Project

Healing soldiers with art.

Red Badge Project. “The best way to a wounded vet’s heart is in (helping) them feel the physical joy that rises from the spontaneity of laughter, music, impulsive movement, dancing or improvisation,” said Skerritt.

Contact Brian

Interested in working with Brian? Whether you’re starting from scratch, looking to rework a script, need a director for your film or commercial, or want Brian to teach courses on storytelling at your school or business, you’ve come to the right place.

Fill out my online form.