Ten Pages

Ten Pages

“Dear Charlie


Thank you for submitting Shed to Scriptroom 4.


We received nearly 2900 scripts, and our team of readers have been working intensively to sift through all submissions.


Our readers were asked to consider what the opening of each script demonstrated about the writer’s voice and originality, their understanding of medium, form, genre and tone, and the strength of the world, story, characters and dialogue.


Unfortunately, your script did not progress beyond the first 10-page sift which was the case with 85% of all submissions we received. This means that your script will therefore not be considered further and will not receive any other feedback.


We hope you will not be too disappointed or discouraged – “


TOO LATE! Sigh. 10 pages? Is that all I get? Is that all we get to make a first impression? That doesn’t seem right. I bet if I read the first 10 pages of some iconic pages, I wouldn’t rate them. In fact, that’s exactly what I did. I found three plays that I own and have never actually read or seen, and this is what I thought of their first ten pages.


Let’s start with ‘Look Back in Anger’ by John Osborne, a story about a love triangle involving an intelligent and educated but disaffected young man of working class origin. First of all, the first two pages were stage directions so it read more like a novel. It certainly puts the reader in the right place at the right time, but hardly captures one’s imagination. After reading the first ten pages, I couldn’t tell where the play was going. There was little plot development or any sign of a ‘herald’, Christopher Vogler states that the herald provides the information that triggers the hero into original action. Unless there was subtle foreshadowing that I missed, this play lacked a drive and I felt no need to read on.


Second, ‘The Vagina Monologues’ by Eve Ensler, a collection of monologues  

that each deals with an aspect of the feminine experience, touching on matters such as sex, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, the various common names for the vagina, or simply as a physical aspect of the body. I can’t tell if I enjoyed the first ten pages because parts felt more like introductions, bridges in between monologues for the actors and director rather than for the benefit of the audience. I think I felt more inclined to read on as I also have a vagina and can relate to the parts I read which were about names and hair. It promises to be thought provoking and funny, this appeals to my taste, the subtle blend of crudeness and jokes.


The final play was ‘Comedians’ by Trevor Griffiths, set in a Manchester night-school, where a group of budding comics gather for a final briefing before performing to an agent from London. Like ‘Look Back in Anger’ it starts with a lot of stage directions. Maybe the 50s and 70s were a different time in theatre, you could ask and get rather than think of how much is this all going to cost you before you settle on an ambiguous, pretentious description rather than how you want it to be. It wasn’t the easiest one to read as there were so many characters but I liked ‘Comedians’, it certainly was blooming before my eyes and I felt the urge to read on.


I made some guesses of plots and twists, how the story would progress. I guess there’s only one way to find out! Now to read past the ten pages and see if the first pages are a hint of what’s to come or whether it’s just getting fluff and details out of the way before the real action can kick in on page eleven.


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