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Old 07-11-2019, 02:28 PM   #11
KitchonaSteve
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

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Originally Posted by GucciGhostXXX View Post
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?
I agree with this, and what Bono has written. Hook is more a term of art than a hard and fast definition in screenwriting. It can mean different things to different people depending largely on context. Having a great opening scene or sequence that establishes the situation/conflict and the main character is important. Having a concept/premise that makes someone want to read the script or watch the movie after hearing the logline is also important, probably more so.

A concept hook can be a couple different things. It could be an interesting character like superheroes or Fletcher form Liar Liar. It could be a combination of genres like Cowboys and Aliens or a romance played out during a disaster like Titanic. This all reminds me of the Rossio and Elliot column about the second concept on WordPlayer.com.

HTH,
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

I agree with the last few posts. I always think of the hook as how the creative exec is going to pitch the script to get their boss to read it. The really quick, five second "you've got to read this script" pitch.

This movie has come up in another thread but I've always thought THE PURGE had one of the greatest concepts I've ever heard -- because it's so easy to understand and instantly visualize a movie. All crime is legal for one night. That's an easy pitch for a junior level exec to make to his boss. "You've got to read this great spec that just came in. It's a home invasion thriller that takes place on the one night a year where all crime is legal." That last part is the hook (or what I've personally always thought of as the hook) -- that special something that makes this script different and exciting.
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

Thank you guys, it's been a big help. I appreciate your input.
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:54 PM   #14
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

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Originally Posted by GucciGhostXXX View Post
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.
totally agree. sometimes a good exercise for writers is forming a 'what if" statement when coming up with a high concept.

what if you brought dinosaurs back to life in a theme park?

what if two lovers met on the doomed Titanic's maiden voyage?

what if an asteroid the size of Texas was on impact trajectory with earth?

what if a nine-year-old became a man?

what if a thirteen-year-old was suddenly 30?

what if a girl switched bodies with her mother?

what if you woke up on a seed ship in the 9th year of a 100 year voyage?

what if you were trapped on a plane with poisonous snakes?

what if your plane crashed with 50 survivors on a deserted island with polar bears? haha
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

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totally agree. sometimes a good exercise for writers is forming a 'what if" statement when coming up with a high concept.

what if you brought dinosaurs back to life in a theme park?

what if two lovers met on the doomed Titanic's maiden voyage?

what if an asteroid the size of Texas was on impact trajectory with earth?

what if a nine-year-old became a man?

what if a thirteen-year-old was suddenly 30?

what if a girl switched bodies with her mother?

what if you woke up on a seed ship in the 9th year of a 100 year voyage?

what if you were trapped on a plane with poisonous snakes?

what if your plane crashed with 50 survivors on a deserted island with polar bears? haha
Ha I've somehow never thought of doing this as an exercise. Love it.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:37 PM   #16
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

What if I got a real job that paid me for every hour I worked on it?
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:53 PM   #17
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

What if I sneezed really hard and the Universe exploded?
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:18 PM   #18
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

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What if I sneezed really hard and the Universe exploded?
you are God and the event is the Big Bang.

but then, that story has already been told.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:16 AM   #19
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

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Originally Posted by KitchonaSteve View Post
I agree with this, and what Bono has written. Hook is more a term of art than a hard and fast definition in screenwriting. It can mean different things to different people depending largely on context. Having a great opening scene or sequence that establishes the situation/conflict and the main character is important. Having a concept/premise that makes someone want to read the script or watch the movie after hearing the logline is also important, probably more so.

A concept hook can be a couple different things. It could be an interesting character like superheroes or Fletcher form Liar Liar. It could be a combination of genres like Cowboys and Aliens or a romance played out during a disaster like Titanic. This all reminds me of the Rossio and Elliot column about the second concept on WordPlayer.com.

HTH,
Agreed.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:20 AM   #20
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Default Re: What is a hook and do I need one?

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Originally Posted by DLev24 View Post
I agree with the last few posts. I always think of the hook as how the creative exec is going to pitch the script to get their boss to read it. The really quick, five second "you've got to read this script" pitch.

This movie has come up in another thread but I've always thought THE PURGE had one of the greatest concepts I've ever heard -- because it's so easy to understand and instantly visualize a movie. All crime is legal for one night. That's an easy pitch for a junior level exec to make to his boss. "You've got to read this great spec that just came in. It's a home invasion thriller that takes place on the one night a year where all crime is legal." That last part is the hook (or what I've personally always thought of as the hook) -- that special something that makes this script different and exciting.
Agreed. With that one sentence I want to read the whole thing.

The other thing, as a rep, they'll think "I can sell this without even reading it." And that might be exactly what they do. Something to consider: If a rep can sell your script without reading it, you've definitely got a HOOK.
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