Screenwriting – Here Are Some Great Ways to Begin a Screenplay

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Danek-S.-Kaus_40117By Danek S. Kaus

The first few pages of your screenplay are critical. Most execs, or Readers (people who want to become execs) will only give you about 10 pages to get them interested. That is why your screenplay must have a great beginning.

Here are some of the best, time-tested screenwriting techniques to begin your story.

ACTION, ACTION, ACTION – All of the James Bond films start with action, which might or might not be related to the main plot.

A police detective tries to arrest a pair of drug dealers. A gunfight erupts. One drug dealer is killed, the other drives off. The detective chases him in his own car, driving fast, dodging obstacles and shooting his gun. You get the picture.

A REAL BEGINNING – The hero or heroine arrives at the train station or airport in a new town. They begin their first day of work at a new job. A creepy person moves in next door. The protagonist meets someone who will be very influential – a love interest, mentor or nemesis.

A DAY IN THE LIFE – Show us the main character going about their daily routine. A single mother makes breakfast before sending the kids off to school and then going to work. An attorney might argue a case before a judge.

A physician in an emergency room saves the life of a traffic accident victim. But the main story may be about stopping an epidemic. You might then decide to begin with that same doctor treating someone with a strange, unknown disease that turns out to be related to the epidemic.

A teacher helps a child to learn how to read. Then we learn that she will fight an uncaring bureaucracy that wants to shut down a youth center. Or we may discover that her marriage might break up because she has given birth to a learning-disabled child.

The trick to making this opening work is not to let it get boring. Quickly give us a reason to root for the main character. Perhaps show them as an underdog in some way or introduce some conflict in their life. It can be related to the main story or not, but quickly give the reader a reason to care.

These are a few of the screenwriting techniques that will get your movie off to a great start. Consider using them when you begin writing your next screenplay or perhaps do a rewrite on an existing one to give it a better beginning.

Danek S. Kaus is a produced screenwriter with two more films in development, one of them based on a book. Several of his original screenplays have been optioned by film companies. He can adapt your book into a screenplay [] and also do a Professional Screenplay Analysis [].

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