Q. I have just finished a spec script for "House" where the teaser is for the A story, but Act One opens in the clinic and flows into the B story. The A story comes in about three minutes into the Act. In reviewing "House" episodes, almost all of them have the beginning of Act One flow from the teaser. I want to submit the script for some contests, but I wonder if I should rework it so the A story comes in right away? It's pretty tight the way it's written, and all three story lines--A, B, and C--are linked thematically, but if you think it's a definite "no no" to wait that long to get back to the A story, I'll rework it.
You have obviously done your homework. Good work! And good attitude, too.
If the teaser usually flows into the first act in HOUSE, then that's what you want to do for your HOUSE spec. It's great that your script is tight now, but I'm sure you can make it tight the other way. Right? That's the hard work of writing a spec script.
Generally, in most shows, you wouldn't start with a B story. By starting act one with certain events, you're privileging them. You're telling the audience this is the important story. If it later turns out to be the B story, the audience may be confused.
That said, you have to trust your gut. There might be a circumstance where starting with your B story makes sense. The concept of A and B stories is only there to help you tell good stories. Leading the audience where you want them to go -- and where they will feel satisfied going -- is far more important than screenwriting theory.
Labels: five act structure, spec scripts