12 tips for writing
the first 10 pages
of a screenplay

Read more Screenwriting

12 tips for writing the first 10 pages of a screenplay

The first 10 pages of a script are important because they influence how a scenario is perceived and therefore read.

  1. Introduce the protagonist: This part of the script is where you need to start exploring the protagonist's personality. Tease some of the particularities of the character.
  2. Create a connection: The audience needs to feel in the role of the protagonist.
  3. Introduce the world: The settings or places in which your story unfolds are important. Try to convey an idea of the world as soon as possible, for example by using dialogue.
  4. What is normal: This is the section of your script where you show what the regular life of the protagonist is like until something happens and the story begins...
  5. Establish the genre: The genre puts the scenario in a box that everyone understands (horror, comedy, adventure, action, etc.). Will the audience cry or laugh? Then play with it and mix genres to create surprises and unpredictability.
  6. Create a conflict: This is the moment when, having established the world, you add an obstacle or an incident that will advance the story.
  7. Create questions: Will the protagonist be able to resolve the conflict?
  8. Easy to summarize: The first 10 pages must be consistent with any summary of the story you want to accompany the scenario with (e.g. the logline).
  9. Clarity and minimalism: The first 10 pages need to have substance but do not exceed with text. Remember the each page of your script needs to have the right amount of white space, ideally a paragraph should be no longer than 5 lines. You are not writing a novel!
  10. Check the formattings: Keep in mind that whoever tries to read your script probably has a lot more scripts to read and isn't going to waste time. Formatting, spelling, and proper use of grammar are keys to avoiding your scenario being discarded on first reading.
  11. Your aim is to shine!: Try to convey your specific writing style through this first section and don't be afraid to try something new.
  12. It is not a shooting script: When working on a speculative script, you must not include camera directions, title sequences and absolutely avoid phrases like "we see" or "we hear". Remember who your audience is: actors, producers, agents not editors or directors.

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