Screenwriting Mini-Workshop: How to Write the 1st 10 Pages


Screenwriting Mini-Workshop: How to Write the 1st 10 Pages


Level: All

Location: Online
Duration: 2 Days
Begins: Sat., May 19
Ends: Sun., May 20


This is a two-day online workshop.

Are you interested in writing your first screenplay or TV pilot? Or, have you started one that you’re just not sure about, or need help with?

The first ten pages are probably the most important pages of a screenplay or TV pilot. And, learning to write them, so the words and characters jump off the page, is a requirement to get Hollywood to take notice.

Pen & Paper Screenwriting Instructor, Senta Scarborough is here to help.

Executives and professional script readers know that if they aren’t hooked in the first ten pages that there isn’t any reason to read on. 

Writing a great script opening isn’t easy. The first ten pages carry a lot of weight. They must establish the tone and genre, the theme, set up the dramatic situation, depict the world of the story and introduce the main character.

In this weekend class, we will dissect some of the great screenplay introductions to see exactly how they not only accomplished those main elements but executed them with a cinematic flair that made readers and audiences stay on the edge of their seats—film openings full of that movie magic.

Those first ten pages show if the screenwriter is competent in his or her craft and knows how to tell a compelling story. We will examine creating an effective introduction and emotional connection to the main character. 

 We will discuss the dos and don’t every reader looks for in a script. 

We will take a look at creating a relatable character, great dialogue, an intriguing plot, correct pacing, and standard formatting. 

Day 1

Lesson – Examination of Three Great Movie Openings (The 1st 10 pages)

Lesson – How to Create a Relatable Character

Lesson – How to Create an Authentic World 

Lesson – How to Write a Memorable 1st Page

Instructor Chat

Writing Exercise – Rewrite Your Main Character

Writing Exercise – Rewrite Your 1st Page

Day 2

Lesson – Discuss Student’s 1st 10 Pages

Lesson - How to Create an Emotional Connection to the Main Character

Lesson – How to Create Theme and Tone

Lesson - How To Set Up Your 1st 10 Pages & the Inciting Incident

Instructor Chat

Exercises – Rewrite of the 1st 10 pages

Instructor – Online Availability for Questions

Lesson – Final Overview of Your Tools

Post Class – Instructor Returns Your Rewrites of the 1st 10 Pages

Instructor Bio

Senta Scarborough is an award-winning journalist and Emmy® Award-nominated producer, in addition to being a screenwriter. Current screenplays include crime dramas inspired by her time in Southern Appalachia and the borderlands of the Southwest. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California Riverside/Palm Desert. She also holds a certificate in screenwriting from UCLA Extension Writers Program and is a graduate of the USC Cinematic Arts Summer (screenwriting) Program. She is a former senior investigative reporter and long-form narrative writer for E! News and E! Online. She spent nearly a decade covering crime as a staff writer for The Arizona Republic. Her work has appeared in USA Today, US Weekly magazine and Asheville Poetry Review, among others. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist’s Association. She earned a B.A. in English and Political Science and a B.S. in Philosophy and Religion from Radford University. A Virginia native, she now lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their dog.


"Senta taught me so much, and I wouldn't be the journalist I am today if it weren't for her mentorship. Being a good reporter is more than knowing what questions to ask but when to ask them. She always knew when and how to get the best story. Her insights have been so valuable to me, and there isn't a better person to learn from."

Sara Kitnick, Writer/Journalist, New York City

"Not only is Senta an incredible reporter and writer with years of real-world experience, but she is also a great communicator and teacher. By working with her, I developed a variety of essential skills that have enabled me to excel in my career and further my abilities in creating media. I highly recommend learning from Senta!"

Adam Mann, Digital Media Coordinator, CBS

“I was an intern at NBCUniversal’s E! News. Senta worked closely with my cohort to teach us newsroom best-practices, develop us as multimedia journalists, and ensure that we were well-prepared for our future careers. Senta possesses a unique ability to captivate a group of students with diverse learning styles and deliver her lesson clearly. Outside of the training sessions, Senta was a compassionate, funny, and a thoughtful listener. She was a big part of the reason many of the interns felt properly positioned for jobs in the newsroom after college. I feel lucky to know her and honored to have learned from her.”

Mehak Anwar, Communications Associate, The Fair Punishment Project, a joint initiative of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute and the Criminal Justice Institute