Posted by: steveonfilm | January 29, 2008

The First Ten Pages: Chapter Eleven Exercise – Summary

There isn’t a whole lot more to this exercise than the title suggests. You’re supposed to take what you’re planned out and put down the first ten pages of your screenplay while concentrating on setting up the reveal.

The reveal is a short summary of what the movie is going to be about. In Syd’s opinion the reader should know what the movie is going to be about by the end of the first ten pages. If it takes longer than that the reader might lose interest and stop reading, which is the worst thing that could happen.

He provides a few movies you can read for examples including Collateral, American Beauty, The Fellowship of the Rings, and Chinatown.

However, this is the first exercise I really have a problem with. Actually, not with the exercise per se, but what we’re supposed to do with the 3×5 cards we just came up with in the previous exercise. There isn’t a lot of instruction on how to transition from those into the first ten pages. I’m looking at mine now and I’m not sure how many in should fit into these first ten pages.

I guess that’s part of the learning process though. There isn’t a rule that says “card 5 should be page ten.” You’ve got you figure out for yourself where in your structure for act one the reveal should end and what it should accomplish.

I want to introduce Tom and John, Tom’s “personality problems,” and his worry over his comic being canceled. I think I can pace myself so those three items are all revealed in the first ten pages.


I’ll post all ten pages once I complete them. They’ll look like my Bystander samples, but in this case for those interested I’ll post a PDF of the file so you can see it properly formatted as well.



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