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SCRIPT WRITING – WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS IDEA? – PART 3/4: WHAT IS A HOOK?

O.k. Let’s recap the process you’re going through to write your script for your short film:

So you’ve taken your basic idea and structured it into the four key elements of your logline:

1. Main character 2. Their want 3. Obstacle(s) 4. Ending

We’ve looked at the logline and you’ve devised a great title for your film – now we’re going to look at “the hook”. So, what is “the hook”? In its simplest term “the hook” is the twist in your logline. This is the element that excites your reader or your audience.

We have an expectation about the logline – and then you do something unexpected or different that surprises us. Let’s take an example: Die Hard. Who’s the main character? John McClane (Bruce Willis). What’s his want? To rescue the hostages. What’s his obstacle? Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). What’s the ending? McClane manages to release the hostages. But what’s “the hook”? McClane’s wife is one of the hostages! See how simple it can be? It doesn’t only apply to the big Hollywood blockbusters.

Let’s take another film, a small, low-budget, independent feature: Lars And The Real Girl. [You really have to see this film.] Who’s the main character? Lars, a shy young man who lives in a small, quiet, snow-swept town. What’s his want? To have a relationship with a woman. What’s his obstacle? Fear of intimacy. What’s the ending? Lars’ “girlfriend” dies – but as a result of her death, he gets connected with his emotions and over his fear of intimacy. So, what’s “the hook”? Lars’ “girlfriend” is a blow-up life-sized doll! [You really have to see this film.]

Let’s take a third film: We Bought A Zoo. What’s the hook in this film? It’s there in the title: We Bought A Zoo! Now, you don’t have to have a hook in your premise; however, if you can find one, you will find interest in your film is even greater – and you’ll find it easier to market and sell your short. (Trust me: when we reach Script Doctor #9…) EXERCISE: Look at your logline and see if you can come up with a ‘hook’ for your film, ensuring that it evokes interest in your short.

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About The Author

Profile photo of Larry Gouldbourne
Script Doctor

I have worked as a scriptwriter on TV sit-coms such as Desmond’s (C4) and Chef! (BBC1) received a BAFTA nomination for an episode of Desmond’s. I was script editor for the first series of the online sit-com, Meet The Adebanjos which has scooped a number of TV awards. i have won international screenwriting competitions and has taught screenwriting at various higher educational institutions.

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