Updated: Dec 19, 2019
What are you typing on the first blank page of your screenplay? After FADE IN comes the OPENING SCENE HEAD. Under the scene head comes the first public appearance of the person, thing, place or symbol signifying your story idea. It is the first very impressions that will lead your audience into and out of the screenplay story.
He, she or it represents theme, controlling idea, bitterness, inequity or imbalance in your head. He, she or it speaks your thoughts to communicate whatever has been bothering you. That is the channel for your message that must be strongly sent; indeed your audience’s first appreciation, familiarity with and enjoyment of the story.
Your scene description or composition communicates with sound (audio grammar) or visual (video grammar). Both can be used together or separately. Whatsoever first impressions you make on the first page may also be the last or second-to-last, FADE OUT image at the end of your screenplay story. Indeed the "beginning and ending" or "opening and closing" should match or reflect each other. Those are the setup symbols that must be resolved at the end of the numerous pages of the screenplay story.
Everyone has certain ways of communicating communal problems or challenges. It may be through open visual and audio or hidden messages. As writers, we are part of the total society experience. However our individual understanding of everyday life, depends on very personal experiences. Meantime the larger society or community contains the social, cultural, economic, political or religious that impact on individual or community life.
To that extent everyone experiences that which might conflict the next person’s interpretation of the general experience. That is when your story brings out two opposed forces, protagonist and antagonist among other characters. How you situate your protagonist and antagonist in your first opening page within his society or location, makes a long lasting impression or simply turns-off audience interest.
In your first scene your audience experiences certain language tones and sees the Lead Character, the Opposing Force, may be some mysterious visual signature. It is called scene composition!
Type in FADE IN on your blank page please. Write the SCENE HEAD. EXT., INT., or EXT./INT.
© ANATOMY OF MURDER; Screenplay by Wendell Mayes;© February 25, 1959.