Tuesday, August 08, 2006

There’s nothing more disappointing for a reader than reading a script that starts off with an incredible action sequence, with a strong protagonist in the face of incredible opposition, that winds up to have only been a dream sequence by page three. Readers, development execs, directors and actors are incredibly hungry for passionate writing, and will be pulled into a script immediately if the writing is strong with the expectation that the rest of the script will only build in craft and intensity. It’s almost a given that when that dream sequence reveal pops up on the page, and we find the protagonist is really lying in bed, that the rest of the script is going to suck; and it becomes very hard for the reader not to hurl that script across the room and give it the finger for giving the reader false hope.

When a script starts with an engaging dream, 99 times out of 100 the rest of the script never reaches the same level of intensity and conflict that that dream sequence had. If you’ve started your script off with an action packed, riveting dream sequence, you have to ask yourself why you’re not writing a full feature script based on the idea in the dream sequence. If you have the ability to make those first few pages blow a reader out of the water, you damn well better make the rest of the script move just as well.

Worse, still, are the scripts that start out with a boring dream sequence then shift into the boring waking life of the protagonist, showing him getting out of bed, showering, driving to work, sitting at his desk, and waiting, like the reader, for the movie to start. If you’ve written a script like that you should burn it. Never show it to anyone. If you do show it to someone, and they say they like it, never trust that person’s opinion again. They're probably scared of you. Or they want to have sex with you and are just telling you whatever you want to hear. Or they're just trying to end the conversation with you as quickly as possible because they're looking into the eyes of a tool.


Blogger alwaysright123 said...

Wow, that is a very instructive and insightful post. I have a question. Let's say my script opens with 75 consecutive blocks of narrative, my protagonist dies on page 40, and Atreu from Neverending Story makes a cameo on page 109. What are the chances I'll be a working screenwriter?

8/11/2006 3:49 PM  

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