Sunday, January 22, 2012


Did you know that during minute 5 of any great movie, there's a Jaw Dropper moment? Something happens to the characters (or the audience) that they've never seen or heard before. It grabs attention and dazzles. Great writers instinctively know that on page 5 of their screenplay—midway to the Inciting Incident—that something extraordinary needs to occur to keep the audience watching. Here are a few examples: 

What's the Jaw Dropper during Minute 5 in The Sixth Sense? Anna and Malcolm see a half-naked man standing in their bathroom.

What's the Jaw Dropper in Top Gun? Maverick flies upside down and overtop the enemy’s fighter plane—an extraordinary flying feat! 
What about Star Wars? Ominous Darth Vadar enters the story for the first time, a Jaw Dropping moment in movie history.

The Godfather? Bonasera asks Godfather to murder the men who beat up his daughter—a jaw dropping request to make of someone.
Tootsie? Michael storms out of a play because he disagrees with the director—an extraordinary thing for a struggling actor, who hasn't worked in two years, to do.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark? An astonishing amount of spiders crawl onto Indy and his ally's backs. 
In The Matrix, Trinity executes an extraordinary, superhuman leap into a far away window, which literally makes the cops' jaws drop!

Juno tells Leah her extraordinary news—she's pregnant (Leah's mouth drops open in astonishment, another literal "Jaw Dropper").
 In Halloween, we find out that the person who stabbed the naked girl is a little boy!
In Pulp Fiction, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny hold up the restaurant, a Jaw Dropping moment in the patrons' lives.

Do you have a Jaw Dropper on Page 5 of your screenplay?

To find out more screenwriting secrets, order Something Startling Happens: The 120 Story Beats Every Writer Needs To Know.

And try the #1 Bestseller, The Screenwriter's Fairy Tale: The Universal Story Within All Movie Stories

Todd Klick Writing


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