They say that the first ten pages of your script are the most important. That is true… mostly. One cannot judge a script solely on its first ten pages and yet… it is on those first ten pages that you the writer have your chance to really get the reader curious. To get them so curious and interested and engaged that they cannot help but turn to page eleven. And twelve. And pretty soon, they reach the end.
I got my start reading for production companies many years ago and while a production company reader must read the script all the way through, it is often on those first few pages that we begin to formulate an opinion of your writing, for good or for ill. If we are bored in the first few pages, or if we see typos and silly mistakes – well – we’ll finish the script but it’s a pretty bad first impression. And it can easily go downhill from there.
As you write, remember someone else is reading your pages. Someone who is very often tired and sick of reading that day. Someone who might have read two or even three other scripts that day. Really give some thought to how engaging your pages are. Are you using cinematic language and fun word choices? Is your writing pithy and engaging? Do you jump into scenes late and jump out early or does your scene go on and on? How much “business” is on your pages – details that may not be needed, or really, anything that detracts from the story you are telling?
If you can get your reader onboard quickly and keep them there, your chances of success skyrocket. So often new writers can write pages that feel a bit mechanical. But you are writing a story that should transport your reader into the world you are creating. Your writing should be fun and it should move quickly.
Get your reader onboard as quickly as possible and make them literally unable to put your script down! Fasten your seat belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy night!