The Life As A Film (LAAF) procedure is described. This was developed for use with offenders, building on McAdams's (1993) explorations of autobiographical accounts from effective individuals. The advantages of the LAAF procedure for a prison population are discussed, together with the content dictionary used for analysing LAAF responses. The LAAF reveals implicit and explicit aspects of self-concepts and relationships to others, as well as perceived agency and future orientation within a dynamic storyline. Quotations are given to illustrate those psychological processes that underlie criminality, complementing Presser's (2009) work on offender reform and Maruna's (2001) study of narratives of desistance. The values of the LAAF procedure for understanding the maintenance of offending behaviour and the consequent implications for interventions with offenders are discussed. 2015 The Howard League and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.