photo via Go Into the Story
A vast majority of spec scripts submitted to competitions open with mundane images.
It seems like a logical choice. Establishing normal life is an explicit instruction in many structure templates. Filmmakers often open with shots of unremarkable details. That is misleading to writers. It’s one thing to watch eggs frying and hands tying neckties in mirrors, but it is a world of Proustian hurt to read pages of familiar things meticulously described.
You can make a reader eat right out of your hand with an opening engineered to make them pay attention.
- Show inside knowledge, preferably in action. Give readers a backstage pass by revealing a trick of a trade, a behind the scenes peek, a lifestyle out of the mainstream.
- Lie. Give the reader a strong impression of a character or situation, then reveal it was false. If you can fool them, they will love you.
- Create questions. Set your characters in motion without explanation. Hidden motives pique curiosity.
- Be unique. If you have ever seen it running under credits before, give it a twist.
The opening is your grand entrance to the ballroom. Please do not use that opportunity to describe loading the dishwasher.
-ANNIE LABARBA @annelabarba
The first pages of your pilot need to be solid — as in, a representation of your very best work — and they need to establish us in the world succinctly. Last year, NYWIFT Member and WWFC Co-Founder Katrina Medoff read hundreds of pilot scripts submitted for Women’s Weekend Film Challenge’s inaugural pilot accelerator, and she saw some general themes emerge for how to make the opening of your pilot stand out. Read on for her six tips, and learn how to apply to the next WWFC pilot accelerator.READ MORE
The first scenes of your pilot need to capture the reader’s attention, because you never know how far a busy Hollywood exec (or their assistant) will read before losing interest. You need to introduce your characters and story, show off your writing skills, and give the reader something they haven’t seen before — it’s a lot of pressure! Women’s Weekend Film Challenge Co-Founder NYWIFT Member Katrina Medoff offers some exercises to make those crucial first pages shine.READ MORE
NYWIFT member Arlette Thomas-Fletcher is a multi-talented filmmaker and production executive. She has handled every creative and technical aspect of media production during her decades-long career, writing, directing, and producing her own projects and those of others. Arlette is a published author and has several books on Amazon, including her children’s book Dreamer’s Journey, which was just released. She is currently working on an animated series called The Cat Faced Cat.READ MORE
Please join us in welcoming Achiro P. Olwoch to the NYWIFT community! Olwoch is a queer artist in exile from Gulu in Northern Uganda, currently living in New York. She is an award-winning writer, director, and producer with several series and shorts to her name, and is currently writing a novel and two memoirs. Her play The Survival recently had its debut performance at Lincoln Center, produced by the National Queer Theatre. She spoke to us about living in exile, her artistic journey, and her resilience.READ MORE