When you’re a screenwriter and you have to use your writing to convince someone, that’s what you have to do – convince. Therefore, we have to agree that the first pages in your screenplay are essentials, so, the opening scene is the primordial part of a good screenplay, and consequently, of a good film.
We’re talking about opening scenes and this have a certain name in your screenplay, the famous teaser.
Teaser is the initial part of your story, where you use a strong hook to capture your reader/audience’s attention. Of course, after Jaws, well succesfull film in the 70’s, put an opening scene as a teaser in the begining of your film can be faced as a cliché. However, what the most people call cliché, I: Fernando Menegatti, call by the name of : classic, and a classic turns in a cliché when it’s badly done. Do it correctly and you’ll see the power of the storytelling tecnique.
Particularly I believe a teaser is fundamental in a screenplay, because in the movie theater, or sitting on a couch, it’s what makes me watch more. Of sure, a well done teaser also captures the reader attention, and also the judge attention who is evaluating your screenplay, or not. Sometimes it doesn’t works. But the truth is that professional readers will evaluate the first 5-10 pages of your screenplay (it’s what the audience also will do, by the way, it’s what you already do, since you was a child, when you watched movies or cartoons). If you don’t have a hook in your film, will be hard to keep up the audience interest in your story.
Use the teaser to help you to tell a story, I mean, to generate anticipation and say to your reader or audience: Hei! Hang on, there’s good things to happens here! Give some feed to the curious.
I want to finish here with an example: the teaser of the film Memento. The opening scene show us something (bloody) that makes us want to see what comes after that.