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Old 07-11-2019, 10:09 AM   #1
Syringe
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Default What is a hook and do I need one?

Hi ladies and gents.

In the screenwriting books I've read no one has ever mentioned a "hook" but I stumbled onto a few online guides that say that every script needs one.

So I was hoping someone could explain to me what a hook is and if it's necessary.

Thank you
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

A hook used to catch fish, in screenwriting terms is used to catch a reader's attention (later viewer's attention) as quickly as possible. That's why so many opening scenes to movies are like a tag in a TV show to suck the viewer into the world.

In novels, they tend to want to have a great first sentence to hook the reader in.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

^ so it's just a good opening scene? That's all?
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

Doesn't have to be, but can be. It's just like show me the dinosaur in Jurrasic Park in the first few pages or hint at it and then the reader can't wait to read more of the story... or watch more of the film...

It's just a term that means write a story people want to hear more of and make sure people know what that story might be as quickly as possible.

Hint at the larger premise as early as possible. Make us not turn the channel or put down the book.

JAWS -- The hook is a killer shark and in first scene we hint at it's premise when that lady gets taken away by something. We don't even have to show the shark. But if we wait 30 minutes to show a kill then we haven't hooked the reader in.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

Ah I see.

So the hook isn't part of screenplay structure like inciting incident, climax, etc...?
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

Not how I see it. It's more into marketing part of the screenplay that the writer should consider always. The audience. Picture 10 scripts are sitting on a pile, how are you going to hook the reader to make sure they read your entire script and don't give up too soon? Which is a real thing that 10 page rule... you got to get it going ASAP.

But you've asked a lot of these specific questions -- on a side note -- this is what new writers do. They focus on terms and I just want to say, don't let this stuff trip you up or stop you from writing. You probably knew how to write a story long before you found any of these terms explaining what you already knew.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

Haha yes I guess it's easy to tell that I'm a new writer.

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, I appreciate it.
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

Well, it looks like this thread is settled, though I sure thought 'hook' was something else...

However, since it is what the experts here have said, why not take in this easy-listening diversion about 'song hooks (openings)' that just showed up on my YouTube recommendation:

Rick Beato's TOP 20 ACOUSTIC GUITAR INTROS OF ALL TIME
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

I feel like a lot of what was mentioned here is craft. (i.e don't let them put the script down).

For me the hook is in the pitch. No one reads a script where you pitch it as "It's just good, you'll see that in the first 10 pages." What's gonna make me want to read it in the first place?

Cliche example, but I think it's maybe the easiest to understand: LIAR LIAR. A comedy about "A fast-track lawyer can't lie for 24 hours due to his son's birthday wish after he disappoints his son for the last time." The hook is "Oh sh!t, how's this guy gonna pull this off, he HAS to lie for a living?" We can already imagine all the ways this could go wrong. We'll likely keep reading to learn (and try to guess) how he FIXES this. And it implies growth of character etc.

I don't remember the movie all that well, but I'd bet there was no real "hooky" beat in the first 10 pages that was more hooky than the concept.

So, for me, the HOOK is CONCEPT.

...One guy's opinion.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

I agree with above too from the GhostXXX! I posted about craft, but hook is often used with high concept or elevator pitch terms and more. That's why all this stuff drives me mad because not everyone means the same thing. That's why I was trying to say it doesn't really matter.

You need it, but you don't need it, and you don't need to even know what it is to do it and if you write a story people like than you got it. I call that the accidental hook. (just kidding)

Whatever works for you. I cherry picked stuff over the years from books etc and found my own way. Do the same everyone.
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