The opening scene of any screenplay is its most important. It’s the first thing your audience reads and sets the tone for the rest of the script.

So what is an opening scene in a screenplay? This guide will show you what goes into writing the perfect opening scene.


Screenplay Opening Scene

What Is An opening scene In A Screenplay?

An opening scene in a screenplay is the first scene of your screenplay. It’s one of the most important scenes because it sets up the story and gives the reader an idea of what the story’s about.

The opening scene will be viewed by many people as they decide whether or not to read further into your screenplay.

The opening scene should be intriguing and intriguing enough to make someone want to read further.

It doesn’t have to be a big action scene or full of drama, but it should be interesting enough to grab hold of the reader and make him or her want to keep reading.

You want something that will hook them right away. Almost like a fish on a hook!



An opening scene that grabs the reader’s attention is important because they’re likely reading many scripts and yours needs to stand out from all the rest.

If you’re lucky enough to get a response from your query letter then you’ll want something that will make them want to read further so they can decide if they want to request a script sample or not.

If you were writing your own screenplay then you’d want an interesting hook at the end of your scene to make readers keep reading on.

What Is An Opening Scene In a Screenplay?

The opening scene is like a mini-movie in itself and sets up everything that comes after it so it’s important to get things right from the word go.

Without a strong and engaging opening scene, your audience will have no reason to continue reading.

The purpose of an opening scene is to grab your audience’s attention, introduce your main character and set the tone of the movie or TV show you are writing.

A good opening scene will make it hard for your audience to put down your script and go do something else.

The opening scene in a screenplay is often referred to as the “intro” or “establishing scene.”

An intro should grab your audience’s attention right away by explaining what the movie is about and introducing some of the main characters.

Oftentimes, it is customary to start an intro with some sort of an establishing shot that shows various elements of the film’s world – the setting, time period, weather, and location (if applicable).

Opening Scenes Should Set The Tone

The opening scene should set the tone for your script.

It should convey a general idea of what it will be about and who the major characters are. This scene also gives you a chance to introduce complex characters and ideas without overwhelming readers with too much information at once.

Don’t Give Away The Ending

While it’s important to set a tone, you don’t want to give away all your surprises right away.

When crafting your opening line, keep in mind that it should hint at the tone, but not make all the major reveals upfront.

For example, if you start by telling the audience that your main character dies at the end of your movie, they’re probably not going to watch it.

Opening Scene Examples To Begin A Movie

A good opening scene is one that draws the audience in and makes them want to continue watching.

There are many different ways to do this, depending on the type of film or movie you are making. The starting scene of a movie can range from being a single shot lasting only a few seconds to several minutes long.

In the case of action movies the opening scene may be frantic, showing the hero in his daring profession, where as in comedies it could be more everyday, introducing us to the main character. You have to make sure that your opening scene is relevant and appealing to your target audience and that it does not confuse anyone or leave them feeling frustrated.

An ideal way to introduce your lead character is through their interactions with other characters in their everyday life, whether it’s at work or home. This will help viewers relate easier with your main character if they see them interacting with their environment regularly.

If you want to show off your leading actors face then you might want to start with a close up of him/her or a medium shot rather than wide shot or full shot because it will help enhance the mood and drama of your film. You can also use an interesting background for this purpose but make sure it isn Without a great opening scene, no movie can be considered truly successful.

A good opening scene catches the audience’s attention and makes them want to see the rest of the movie. The first 10 minutes of a film is essential in setting up the plot and introducing characters.

This is the part of the script where writers try to make an emotional impact on their audience and introduce them to the themes in their story. Telling a story is how films can make a profound difference in our lives by helping us to see things from new perspectives.

Filmmakers use different techniques to capture their audiences’ attention. One such technique is writing an effective opening scene.

An engaging opening scene can influence viewer opinion about a film long after it is over. A good opening scene will often define what genre a film belongs to, for example, horror films always start with an eerie opening scene that builds up to an unexpected climax.

Opening scenes can be suspenseful, scary, intense or just plain funny but they always have one thing in common: they are designed to draw you into the world of the main character and put you directly into his or her shoes. They are used to show first impressions and introduce characters and locations as they would appear at that particular time in their lives.

How To Begin A Movie In Your Screenplay

Screenwriters are taught to begin with action. I would suggest this is not always the most effective thing to do.

Writing a movie is hard enough without having to get the audience up to speed with exposition. If you have a complicated story, why not begin with something simple?

Once you start a movie with an action sequence or some other kind of high energy scene, you’re forced to slow down at some point and explain everything that’s going on.

That can take away from the intensity of your opening scene.”Star Wars” is a perfect example of this because it begins with a long time period of nothing happening in an outer space setting.

It’s only after we’ve had time to sit back and get comfortable that we learn about the Empire, Darth Vader, and the Death Star plans. And then we’re off on our adventure.

If you watch “Jurassic Park,” it begins with a tour company giving us a history lesson about dinosaurs and how they became extinct while two characters are driving in a car talking about how they’re going to sneak some dinosaur embryos out of the park. Then they arrive at their destination where they meet the two people who are hosting them on their tour.

After they get off the bus, everyone gets eaten by dinosaurs. It In any movie, the beginning is the most important part. It sets up the story and gets the audience interested.

The beginning of a screenplay is what you need to hook the reader/audience and make them want to read on. It’s important to remember that when writing your screenplay, it’s not just what you put in but what you don’t put in.


Too much description at the beginning will bore your audience and they’ll lose interest before you have time to reel them back in. In general, the beginning of a screenplay should be short, snappy and to the point.

The first thing people ask themselves when they read a script is “what’s this film going to be about?”. If they can’t answer that question after reading your first page then you’ve lost them.

The Importance Of Opening Scenes In Films?

It’s virtually impossible to answer this question without taking a close look at various movies. Every story is unique, so it’s important to look at how each scene is introduced to you.

Trying to be objective here, I’ll try not to get too technical and talk about the importance of opening scenes in films from a more general perspective. One thing you can’t ignore when talking about films are the first scenes in a movie.

These opening scenes immediately grab our attention and make us want to see more. It sets up the premise of the entire story and what we’re going to be watching for the next two hours.

If we’re lucky, these opening scenes will be both intriguing and relevant. If it’s a comedy, for example, then you have people sitting around a table having dinner, or sitting at home watching television and suddenly hearing some strange noise out of nowhere (which, of course – makes them scream).

You get my idea? The opening scene is supposed to “hook” you into wanting to see what happens next. I’m going to go through some films here and point out exactly what makes their opening scenes so great.

By studying these films you’ll learn that there is no single formula Opening scenes in films are just as important as the ending.

The first few minutes of a film, or the first scene if you like, is where filmmakers try to pull the audience in.  They want to make you care about what you are seeing on screen. 

Often it is done with a montage or an introduction to certain characters.

But whatever it is, it has to be good and interesting. If you start a film off with something boring or not entertaining, it is going to put people off before they have even been given a chance.

It is like going for a job interview and the guy who interviewed you does not seem interested in getting to know you.  You then assume that if this person doesn’t seem interested in me, why should I be interested in them?

When we watch films we are trying to escape our life for two hours and get lost in the world of cinema.

If we do not get invested within the first five minutes, then chances are we will turn off the TV and never watch that film again.

How To Open A Screenplay

When writing a script, you first need to decide what the story is going to be about.

The beginning of the film acts as an introduction to the characters and the story, so it needs to grab the audience’s attention. The first few lines of your screenplay are crucial; they should be interesting enough to hold your audience while they read the rest of the script.

You should also consider including a title page and character list at the front of your script. This will help you keep track of all your characters if you have lots in your film.

 How does one go about writing a great script? First, you must know what kind of screenplay you are writing.

An action movie requires different elements than a drama or romance movie. If you don’t know what kind of story you want to tell, then how will others know what kind of film it is?

You need to identify the genre that best suits your project and then make sure that you include all the necessary elements that go into making up that genre.

As with every other aspect of screenwriting, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to structure and format, but there are certain guidelines that will help make your script stand out there are many ways to begin a screenplay. Some screenwriters like to open with a series of short images, each one with an impact and flowing into the next.

Tension is created as the audience tries to figure out what these pictures have in common and why they matter. A good example of this approach is the opening sequence of The Usual Suspects, which uses quick cuts to establish five different stories that culminate in the same event — a terrorist explosion.

Tension can also be created by opening with dialogue. Good dialogue actually telegraphs character and story, so it’s a way to “set the table” for what’s to come without worrying about creating visual interest.

A great example of this is the classic line from Casablanca: “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” We know everything we need to know about Rick’s Bar and Rick’s character, without seeing anything at all.

How Do You Write An Opening Scene In A Screenplay?

There are many ways to open a screenplay.

However, the most effective way is to start your story in the midst of an event that will get the audience’s attention.

The opening scene should be fast paced and begin with an event that will capture the viewer’s attention and make them want to read further. In order to write a good opening scene you have to ask yourself, “what happens first?” “Who is my main character?” “What is my main character doing or thinking?”

For example, if I were writing a screenplay about a man stranded on an island, I would begin by showing him trapped on the island and looking for a way off.

He may be thinking about how he got there or he may be taking inventory of what he has with him. In order to write this opening scene, I would have to know a lot about my man.

Where did he come from? Why is he stranded? What does he want? How did he end up on this island?

The more I know about him, the more interesting the story will be when you share it with others. The opening scene in a screenplay is an important one.

It can set the tone of your film, and introduce you to your audience. It can also give you a glimpse of what’s to come, so it’s important that it grabs the reader’s attention.

Tension is usually associated with the opening scene (as opposed to the closing scene), so it’s not surprising that many writers choose to start their film with conflict. There are two types of conflict which are often used in the opening scene of a screenplay: Man Vs. Man Man Vs. Nature Both of these can be effective tools in starting your screenplay, but they don’t always work.

The first one is obvious; if there is a character who is at odds with another character, then you’ve already identified your central protagonist. However, if you opt for Man Vs. Nature, this could take more time to develop – perhaps you need to set up why this problem has arisen before you get down to the action.

If possible, try to tie both of these elements into your opening scene – for example, Man Vs. Man could be a husband whose wife has been kidnapped by terrorists; Man Vs. Nature could be a hurricane which threatens his house as he battles against it to save his life and family. 

How Do You Start An Opening Scene In A Movie?

We’ve all seen the perfect opening scene in a movie. The scene pulls us in, it’s interesting and engaging, it makes us want to watch more.

We’re left with questions that we can’t wait to have answered. Trying to create the perfect opening scene for your book or screenplay can be quite intimidating.

It doesn’t seem like there are any real rules and you don’t want to make any mistakes that will turn your readers off.

Here are some tips that can help you write a killer opening scene:

Hook ’em – You need to grab your readers attention before they even reach the first page of your script or book.

You want them to be completely interested in what is going on right from the start so they will continue reading. If you don’t hook them then they may not continue on to the next page!

So how do you hook people? Start off with action! Every good story needs action, drama, mystery or suspense to get the reader involved and hooked from the beginning.

Establish your setting – The first thing your readers see is where the story takes place so it’s important that you establish this right away as well. They need to know where they are and what is going on when they first start reading Opening scenes are the first things that your audience see and those scenes are crucial to setting the scene for the movie.

The opening scene will give us all of the information we need to understand, who the characters are, their relationships with one another, and where they fit into the plot.

Without this information, we will be lost and confused.

The first thing you need to do is think about what you want your audience to get from this scene. If it is an action scene then you have to establish who these characters are and their relationship with one another as well as why they are fighting.

You also have to establish that there is a bad guy and a good guy and that good guy is going after the bad guy. If it is a romance scene then you want to establish that there is some kind of attraction between two characters and that attraction is going to take them on a journey together.

You can start by creating a list of all of the things you want your audience to know about each character in this scene. For example if our main character had been harmed in some way at the hands of our villain then we need to establish how he feels about that, how he feels about our hero and how he feels about his own situation in life.