First 10 Pages: 10 Tips to Get Through

Most readers will tell you that the first ten pages are the most important in your script.  Here are our ten tips for getting through them:




 10. Turn off the internet.

What begins as research can, and usually does, give way to procrastination. 





9. Outline.

Plan out what you’re going to write before you write it. Not only do outlines help you set goals (see below) but they also help discern what your central story is and its most essential elements.




8. Set Goals, Objectives.

Decide before you start writing what you want to accomplish with each individual scene. If you can’t figure out what you are going to be writing, then it’s probably not necessary to the story.





 7. Start writing “wherever” in the story.

The first ten pages you write don’t need to be the first ten pages in your script. Sometimes, this approach can lead to surprising discoveries such as when Quentin Tarantino wrote Reservoir Dogs.





 6. Create character biographies.

The more you know about your character, the more you will understand them.  This will make it relatively easy for you to write on behalf of your character in the first ten pages.






5. Talk it out and listen to suggestions.

Be open with other writers and people you trust. Most people, believe it or not, are not that concerned with wrecking your career. For the most part, writers and other people in the film industry want you to succeed! Listen to their feedback. You don’t have to take every note but it’s important to hear what professionals think of your work.





4. Schedule.

Pick a time of day to write and stick to it no matter what. This is about discipline. If it helps to have a back up time, that’s OK too. The important thing is to write every day.






3. Draw/sculpt/paint.

When you absolutely cannot write, be sure to engage the creative parts of your brain.  






2. Stick to whatever you’re good at, then come back.

Don’t worry about filling everything out on your first pass. Write the way that fits you. There is no “right way” to write a script.






1. Read some of your past work.

Remind yourself why you started writing and look for inspiration in your own work. You may be surprised what artifacts and inspirations you uncover.