Image credits – Pixabay
When you are pitching your film to producers or studios, the selling point or ‘hook’ is what will get you over the line. Even your audiences will be more compelled to watch your film if you have a hook.
A hook is a simple description or intriguing summary of your film that is used to grab the attention of your intended audience. The hook tells the audience what is different and unique about your film. It can be anything. Maybe your film was the first to be shot in a particular location, maybe it is a unique love story that has never been seen on screen before, or maybe the film is set in the 1920s or in the future.
The hook of your film should achieve two things,
- Provide a one-line description of your film.
- Pique a studio’s interest to support your film or the audience’s interest enough to make them watch the film.
The primary goal of a hook is to intrigue. For example, the movie Titanic would have been just another documentary-esque film had it not been for the love story. Imagine pitching the film as ‘A love story on the Titanic’ or even better, ‘A tragic love story on the Titanic’. Wouldn’t that make an impact?
Difference between a hook and a gimmick
The terms hook and gimmick are often used interchangeably. This is because both of them attract audiences. However, they are not the same. A screenwriter creates a hook whereas the film’s marketing team creates a gimmick.
Image credits – Pixabay
The hook is a vital element of your film – one that tells the audience what your film is about and makes them want to watch it. A gimmick is a marketing technique that can have absolutely no involvement in the story. It focuses more on the actors (Movie 43, Catwoman), action (Transformers), or technologies used (Gravity, Avatar) in the film.
When you build your story around a gimmick, it is better to have low expectations from the film. It does not mean every gimmick will fail, but if the gimmick is all you are selling then your story gets lost in the mix.
It is essential to make sure you are reaching out to your audience through your story. Your screenplay needs a good hook to enable a studio to pick it up. Therefore, it is important you pen the screenplay around your hook. Use elements from the hook to develop characters, scenes, dialogues, and other parts of your film. Doing so makes your job of writing the screenplay easier and keeps your idea intact.