Dive right in: The first pages

Pick your four favorite films. Get a timer. Watch the first 15 minutes of each one. Stop at 15 minutes.  What do you know about the story right now?

Well-written stories do a lot in the beginning.

  1. Introduce the main character and his personality
  2. Bring the reader/audience into the story world.
  3. Set the tone of the story and the genre
  4. Introduce an initial predicament that illustrates the main character’s strengths and/or weakness.

If you are on your first draft , check how many of these elements are already in your beginning.

If you are in your rewrite, make certain you fill in any missing elements.

This exercise can get to be a habit with all the films you watch or scripts you read.  You will find that if any of these elements are missing, the story may flounder or get lost.  You will find yourself asking why a story switches genres at the beginning.

To check you current script, read aloud for the first 15 pages. You will find this helps to visualize your story and to sense the pacing of your very crucial beginning.

A good rule of thumb is to plunge right in to the story.

No backstory.

No dream sequence.

But a problem right away for your central character.

This exercise will help you get the rhythm and feel of good beginnings.

 

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