That opening hook is everything. It’s the contract you make with the audience to deliver a movie that entertains and excites.
So, what are the elements of an opening hook that gives the writer the best advantage for a great script?
GENRE: Get your viewer into the genre. The hook should reflect the genre of your story.
TENSION: Create the first moment of tension. It can be overt and in your face, or subtle. But tension needs to be in the opening scene.
CONFLICT: Can your opening hook give indication of the central conflict of the story? Give the audience a sense of what the movie is about.
HERO: Can the hero be in the opening hook? The sooner you introduce your Protagonist in conflict, the better for your story.
ANTAGONIST: I’m in the camp that I’d rather see the Antagonist in the opening hook, than the Protagonist. I think it gives a solid line of tension. So consider your hook with the Antagonist being active and setting in motion the line of conflict that your hero must overcome.
FILM WORLD: Along with genre, you should create the film world in which the Protagonist will operate.
ALPHA-OMEGA: When the script is complete, will the beginning of the movie bookend with the ending? There is an elegance in unity of theme and story.
Example: My favorite opening hook is still the original TERMINATOR. The world is established. The stakes become evident. It’s visual. Active, Terrifying. Dangerous. Does it get any better for a script or a movie? Write on.