Cobra Kai: How to Find Your Hook

Cobra Kai: How to Find Your Hook

 

This week, we’re going to be looking at the hook, engine and structure of Cobra Kai, learning how to find the hook of your screenplay or series pilot, and what to do if your original engine seems like it’s running out of steam.

Hook is one of those all-powerful tools when you’re a screenwriter. Because hook is not just how you sell scripts. It’s not just how you write scripts. It’s how you get work-for-hire jobs, the primary way that screenwriters make a living.

Most writers start off their career thinking it’s all about this one great idea. “I’ve got this top secret idea that only I’ve thought of. I’ve got this piece of IP (intellectual property) that nobody else knows about. I’ve got this book. I’ve got this novel. I’ve got this true story that happened to me. I’ve got this crazy thing that came to me in my dream.”

 

We have this brilliant idea, and we get really stuck on it. We think the idea is the thing that sells. Cobra-Kai-How-to-Find-Your-Hook-Write-Your-Screenplay-Podcast-Jacob-Krueger-Studio

But as you get more advanced, as you start to actually live and work in this industry, you start to realize that ideas are a dime a dozen. And the same ideas tend to kind of make the rounds, again and again.

In fact, that really unique idea that you have, that nobody else ever thought of… there’s a good chance that actually somebody else not only has thought of it, but has written it and has circulated it around Hollywood! 

It’s very rare that you see a new idea. And yet, producers do buy one version of the idea and not the other. They do buy this project and not that project. So it’s important to understand what they are actually buying. 

As you’ll see as we start to break down the structure of Cobra Kai, It’s not actually the idea that a producer buys when you sell your screenplay. It’s the hook.

So what is hook?

Hook is your unique take on the idea. 

Hook is “I found this incredible piece of IP. And this element of it spoke to me. And I saw it a little different than everybody else.”

Hook is “this dream came to me. And I saw this kind of unique take on it, this little twist on it.”

Hook is the thing that makes you you. And hook is the way you find yourself in what you’re writing. 

When you’re thinking about hook, don’t think about hook as selling out. Think about hook as a way of entertaining yourself. By finding little fun ironic twists, by finding things that you didn’t see coming when you first had the idea. 

In television writing, hook becomes even more complicated because hook gets connected to this vital tool called a series engine.

Cobra-Kai-How-to-Find-Your-Hook-Write-Your-Screenplay-Podcast-Jacob-Krueger-StudioA series engine grows out of the key elements of a TV series, and the way those elements are put together each episode and each season to create the same feeling and the same hook again and again and again… to create something that feels the same, but is also different. 

So we’re going to be talking about that special place of screenwriting magic where hook meets engine. We’re going to be talking about how to find your hook. And we’re going to be talking about what to do if you lose it. 

You would think once you had a good hook that you would never lose it!

Once you had that amazing take on new material, you would think that you would hold on to it like your life depended on it.

But if you’re a screenwriter, guaranteed, you have written a draft in which somehow you lost track of that great idea you started with! You’ve written a draft and then realized, “huh, that’s funny, I wrote a different movie.” Or you realize, “wow, that hook is there, but I’ve got secondary characters and subplots that are kind of gumming up the works and taking away from it.”

In TV, it gets even more complicated. Because often you start off so strong, and the hook is totally working, and the engine is totally working. But as you get deeper into your seasons, the characters start to change. 

In TV writing, when the characters start to change, sometimes that hook and that engine that were working at the beginning stop working. And when that happens, your show starts to feel different.

Another reason that hook is so important is that hook helps you get the job, when you’re up for a work-for-hire project. 

Every screenwriter wants to sell a big spec script and launch their career. And for some writers, that’s how it happens. 

But for many writers, the spec script or the spec pilot is actually just the way you get hired onto the writers room of a different show or onto a different work-for-hire feature. It’s just the way you get hired onto the project. 

Most of the work today in Hollywood is work for hire work and rewriting work, where some producer has an idea that didn’t even come from you, or an old piece of IP that nobody wants anymore, like The Karate Kid. And they’re looking for a unique hook. 

They’re looking for a unique take on the material. They already have the idea. They know they want to do a remake of The Karate Kid. But they don’t want it to feel exactly the same. It can’t just be The Karate Kid again, it’s got to have a hook. 

So your hook is where you bring you to The Karate Kid. It’s where you entertain yourself. It’s where you think, “OK, I’ve got this idea, this piece of material, but this is how I want to adapt it. These are the wonderful twists and turns that only I would think of, this is the feeling that I want the show to have. 

Cobra Kai has got a fabulous hook. And it’s so simple. And in fact, every single element of Cobra Kai just grows out of this simple hook: What if we did The Karate Kid inside out?

One way you can think of hook is just the process of adding an ironic twist to a really good idea. 

So here’s the first part of the hook of Cobra Kai:

We know we’re really just remaking The Karate Kid as a TV show. But we want it to feel like today, not like 1983. So here’s the simple, simple hook. What if we turned it inside out and told The Karate Kid not from Daniel LaRusso’s point of view, but from what is Johnny Lawrence’s point of view. What if we told The Karate Kid from the perspective of the bad guy? Cobra-Kai-How-to-Find-Your-Hook-Write-Your-Screenplay-Podcast-Jacob-Krueger-Studio

Almost every hook just starts just like this: “What if…” “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”  “Wouldn’t it be fun if…” “Wouldn’t it be wild if…” “Wouldn’t it be twisted if…” “Wouldn’t it be interesting if…” 

As soon as you realize you’re watching from Johnny’s point of view, you realize that this show is going to be a little bit darker, a little bit more twisted, a little bit more messed up than The Karate Kid, right? It’s not just going to be that sweet nostalgic feeling of The Karate Kid, though that will be a part of it. But it’s going to be edgier, it’s going to be darker, it’s going to be more twisted, it’s going to be more today. 

So it all starts with this very simple hook. What if we did The Karate Kid from Johnny’s point of view? What if the bad guy was the good guy and the good guy was the bad guy? 

That’s right. From Johnny Lawrence’s point of view, Daniel LaRusso ain’t the hero. Daniel LaRusso is the antagonist.

From Johnny’s point of view, this is what The Karate Kid looks like:

Here I am, a kid in high school. I’m dating the love of my life, Ally, this girl that I will never get over. This new kid, Daniel LaRusso moves to town, and he’s such a jerk! The very first thing he does, literally the first thing he does when he moves to town, is he steals my girlfriend! The love of my life! I’m trying to celebrate Halloween, and the dude hoses me down in the shower and humiliates me in front of my friends! This dude is such a jerk. I’m in the most important karate tournament of my life, and he defeats me with an illegal kick. And it doesn’t just ruin my karate career. It ruins my relationship with my mentor, John Kreese, like the one person I respect in the world. This guy ruined my life, and nothing has worked out for me ever since!

That’s Johnny’s point of view on the events of The Karate Kid

And if you think about it for a moment, you’ll probably realize this is actually the point of view of almost every antagonist in every screenplay ever written. If you ask them, “who’s the good guy?” They’ll tell you without hesitation, “it’s me!” Ask Lex Luther who’s the hero of Superman and he’ll tell you clearly “It’s Lex Luther. Superman? What a jerk that guy is!”

So what’s really fun is we’re going to step into Johnny’s point of view, and the hook is going to come from the fact that Johnny thinks he’s the good guy, and Daniel is the bad guy.

We’ve seen The Karate Kid remade again and again and again. We’ve seen it remade with Ralph Macchio. We’ve seen it remade without Ralph Macchio. And as an audience, we’re going to want that 80s nostalgic feeling. 

So how do you capture the 80s nostalgic feeling of The Karate Kid while still twisting it around from Johnny Lawrence’s point of view? Well that’s the question that leads to the next element of Cobra Kai’s hook.

Look, everyone wants 80s nostalgia today, but wouldn’t it be cool if this adaptation didn’t take place in the 80s, but instead took place today? 

What if instead of getting the 80s nostalgia in the way we do from Stranger Things and every other 80s nostalgia show people are watching today, what if instead, we aged Johnny up to the present day? 

What if, for poor Johnny Lawrence, nothing has happened since 1983? And now those same events of the original Karate Kid movie are playing out in a new way in the present. 

Like every other element of Cobra Kai, the 80s nostalgia is going to grow out of the hook. 

You see, for Johnny Lawrence, since losing that karate tournament, literally nothing else has happened. Johnny Lawrence is still stuck in 1983. He still hasn’t gotten over any of it. 

That’s where the 80s nostalgia is going to come from, and where a lot of the humor of Cobra Kai is going to come from:  the fact that for Johnny Lawrence, it still is 1983.

Cobra-Kai-How-to-Find-Your-Hook-Write-Your-Screenplay-Podcast-Jacob-Krueger-StudioJohnny still has a cassette player in his car. And guess what? When he gets a new car, he has a brand new cassette player installed. 

The gag, the joke, the humor comes from the fact that neither Johnny, nor anybody else in this show, has moved on at all since The Karate Kid happened.

So you can see we’ve got that sweet 80s nostalgia of the Karate Kid. But we’ve got a slightly darker, slightly more messed up twist on it. 

So, back to the hook:  The first element, what if we watched from the bad guys point of view? The good guy’s the bad guy, the bad guy’s the good guy? 

The second element that grows out of that simple hook: What if Johnny Lawrence hasn’t moved on from the 80s? And how far can we push that?

It turns out, pretty far. In fact, as far as we can tell from Cobra Kai, the only two things that seem to have happened to Johnny Lawrence since 1983 are:

#1. He got married. But it didn’t work out. You know why? Because he was in love with Ally… And maybe because he was a bit of a jerk… and maybe because his wife was a bit of a jerk as well.

#2. He had a kid. But it didn’t work out. You know why? Because he’s a really bad father. And maybe his wife was a really bad mother as well.

These two events have happened. He got married. He lost his wife. He lost his kid. But other than that, his life essentially ended when he peaked in high school. And for him, it is still 1983 and nothing has changed. 

And why did all this happen? Because of frickin’ Daniel LaRusso, that horrible kid who ruined his life. 

Meanwhile, you got Daniel LaRusso. And Daniel, of course, is living the perfect life. 

You see how this is building. You see the process here of finding your hook.. You start with one fun little ironic little twist, and then you find another little ironic twist, just building one little ironic twist off of the next. 

So, Daniel. Daniel’s life is perfect. He runs an auto dealership. He’s the richest dude in town. But it’s not just about money. It’s the love of automobiles that Mr. Miyagi instilled in him. 

He’s got a perfect wife. He’s got a lovely daughter. He’s got a son who’s never in the show. His life seems freaking great.

In fact, his life is everything that Johnny Lawrence thinks his own life should have been.

And Daniel is a really sweet guy. Except that, kind of like Johnny. Daniel hasn’t gotten over the 80s either. Daniel hasn’t gotten over The Karate Kid movies either.

And because neither of these dudes have gotten over it, Daniel keeps on acting like the bad guy! Because he’s so upset about Johnny. Daniel keeps acting like exactly the person Johnny believes him to be, he actually keeps on falling into the role of being the antagonist. 

Daniel becomes the bully. Johnny becomes the sweet kid who’s getting picked on. Everything we loved about The Karate Kid is twisted inside out! 

Just like the hook of Cobra Kai just grows out of a little ironic twist to the original Karate Kid movie, the structure of Cobra Kai grows directly out of giving a similar twist to the plot of The Karate Kid.

So here’s the plot of The Karate Kid boiled down to its simplest form. Sweet little Ralph Macchio, a sweet kid with a badass single mom, shows up in a new town, gets picked on, falls in love with the wrong guy’s girl, gets his butt beat, learns karate, becomes a different person, a better version of himself. That’s The Karate Kid

So what happens in Cobra Kai? Well, there’s a new Daniel LaRusso in town. There’s a new “karate kid” in town. Cobra-Kai-How-to-Find-Your-Hook-Write-Your-Screenplay-Podcast-Jacob-Krueger-Studio

His name is Miguel. And just like Daniel Russo and the old karate Kid, Miguel arrives with a really great mom, and no chance of surviving High School. And his neighbor, Johnny Lawrence, for whom nothing has happened since 1983, sees this kid, a little “nerd” who’s getting his butt kicked, and he decides, “you know what? I’m gonna take this kid under my wing. In fact, I’m gonna bring back Cobra Kai. So I can change this kid’s life! So I can stop him from being a loser who gets his butt kicked.”

You can see, the plot of Cobra Kai grows from a similar “what if?” A similar turning of the original story inside out. What if the karate kid ended up at the Cobra Kai dojo, rather than with Mr. Miyagi?

And you can already see the fun that’s going to come from that! Instead of the Mr. Miyagi character being the mentor, we’ve got Johnny as the mentor. And Johnny’s values haven’t changed since Cobra Kai of the 80s, which means Johnny’s really messed up. 

But oddly… next little ironic twist… even though he does the most messed up stuff, even though he does everything that you should never, ever, ever do if you’re a sensei, all of Johnny’s morally mixed up lessons start to work, both for Miguel, and for Miguel’s friends!

And pretty soon Johnny Lawrence is transforming these “nerds” into kids with confidence just like Mr. Miyagi once did for Danny. 

Except because he’s Johnny Lawrence, and everything he’s teaching is totally messed up, they are also becoming the next generation of bullies. 

So you can see the fun here, and the moral complication and the slightly more twisted version of The Karate Kid that’s being built in Cobra Kai

Meanwhile, seeing this happen, what is Daniel doing? Becoming the bad guy, of course!

Daniel decides he has to destroy Cobra Kai once and for all. Which is why he starts his own dojo, Miyagi-do, with free classes, for the sole purpose of using his power, wealth and popularity to bully poor Johnny Lawrence and his dream of Cobra Kai out of business.

So all these kids, whose lives have been transformed by Johnny Lawrence, they’re being threatened by the evil bully Daniel LaRusso, who’s trying to bring his awful hippie-Miyagi karate to the masses and ruin their lives. 

It’s just one more element of the same hook: The Karate Kid inside out. The Karate Kid from Johnny Lawrence’s point of view.

This hook works perfectly for almost the entire first season of Cobra Kai, and suggests a very simple engine, that will allow you to generate episodes forever. All you have to do is figure out the following:

  1. What are the ridiculous ways that Johnny Lawrence is still living like it’s the 80s?
  2. How are all the characters still reliving the events of the original Karate Kid movies that they’ve never gotten over?
  3. What’s the totally messed up thing that Johnny Lawrence is going to teach his students this episode
  4. How does this totally messed up thing actually going to work in a super ethically messed up way?
  5. How is Daniel trying to do the right thing and honor Mr. Miyagi’s legacy?
  6. And how is this going to lead Daniel to end up acting like a jerk?

As long as you keep answering those 6 questions forever, you can generate episodes of Cobra Kai forever. And every episode of Cobra Kai, will feel both the same and different as the ones that came before.

This is the engine of Cobra Kai. And as you can see, that engine grows directly out of the hook, directly out of asking the same “What if…” questions that led us to find the hook in the first place.


Every episode of Cobra Kai is going to feel the same. It’s going to feel badass and funny and twisted and dark and fun and oddly nostalgic. It’s going to feel like The Karate Kid inside out. 

In fact, by the time we get to the end of the first season, not only has Daniel become the antagonist to Johnny, he’s actually replayed the events of the original Karate Kid! He has stolen the person that Johnny most loves and most wants to be a part of his life. 

In The Karate Kid, it was Ally that Daniel took from Johnny. In Cobra Kai, Daniel’s stolen his son! He’s become the mentor to Johnny’s long lost estranged child, the only person Johnny really wants to in the world. 

It’s the same strategy all over again, the same engine, following the same hook, giving the existing material of The Karate Kid a little twist inside out to make it feel like Cobra Kai

So this hook, and this engine, are delivering perfectly for almost the entire first season of Cobra Kai, and then what happens is a little problem that tends to come up as TV series get deeper into their seasons… the characters are changing, and the engine isn’t working anymore.

In the process of mentoring these kids, Johnny is getting his act together. Johnny’s developing some sensitivity. Johnny’s turning into a nice guy.

And if Johnny turns into a nice guy and stops doing messed up stuff, Cobra Kai is going to stop feeling like Cobra Kai

Cobra-Kai-How-to-Find-Your-Hook-Write-Your-Screenplay-Podcast-Jacob-Krueger-StudioSo the writers, being smart, realize “we’re in trouble!” And they pull what seems like a smart move.

If Johnny Lawrence is starting to turn into Mr. Miyagi, then we need a new messed up character to do messed up stuff, and keep Johnny making mistakes and the Cobra Kai kids acting like little Cobra Kai jerks. We need a new evil sensei to push everyone back to the dark side and keep this series twisted. 

And that’s why, at the end of Season 1, John Kreese, Johnny’s old, awful, evil mentor from the old Karate Kid movie comes back from the dead.

So we get to Season Two, and we think it’s going to work… except we’ve got a problem, which is that the writers don’t know what to do with John Kreese. 

The hook of Cobra Kai was doing The Karate Kid inside out, from Johnny Lawrence’s perspective. So how do you insert John Kreese into the mix without having him hijack that premise?

It takes them till the end of Season 3 to figure that out. But early in Season 2, John Kreese is just standing around, looking menacing. 

And that’s a problem. Because that’s not the engine. 

What we’re trying to create in Cobra Kai is not a feeling of dread about the psychopath next door who might do anything… what we’re trying to do is create that feeling of fun about the twisted protagonist whose values are all messed up, but he’s really trying to do the right thing and change these kids’ lives. 

So you can see at the beginning of Season 2 things are getting messy. And as we get deeper into the season, the challenge is becoming worse and worse, because Cobra Kai is starting to feel a lot less like it’s wonderfully twisted self, and a lot more like the original Karate Kid

See, it’s not just Johnny Lawrence who’s getting his act together. It’s also Daniel LaRusso. 

Both of them are starting to put the past behind them. Both of them are starting to figure out real Miyagi values. Both of them are starting to become really good guys and really good Senseis.

And if that happens, the show is going to die.

In fact, there is an episode early in Season 2, where you’re watching in split screen as the Cobra Kai kids do their training and the Miyagi kids do their training. And you want to think, “Oh, I get it. Johnny Lawrence’s training is really messed up. And Daniel LaRusso’s training is really Mr. Miyagi style.”

But what you’re actually seeing is Johnny’s kids in a cement truck. And Daniel’s kids on our balancing platform in the middle of pond. And the two Senseis are basically doing the same, super-sappy thing. You can’t even tell the difference between them anymore.

Cobra Kai is broken. And the writers, realizing this, do what almost every writer does in this situation. They panic!

“We’ve completely lost our hook. We’ve completely lost our engine. We’ve allowed the character changes to destroy what makes our show feel like our show!” They panic. 

And when writers panic, they tend to do the same silly thing. They go looking for high drama. 

And they work their butts off at it. In the Season 2 finale, we are going to see some of the most badass karate we’ve ever seen in a high school. And at the end of the sequence, poor little Miguel is going to be paralyzed. 

What? 

You thought you were in trouble before? Now Cobra Kai really doesn’t feel like Cobra Kai. We were watching this fun, irreverent, silly show, and suddenly we’re literally watching the plot of Friday Night Lights. 

Suddenly we’re in TV drama land. And yeah, we’ve got a big surprise in the Season Finale that’s going to get people talking. But TV Series aren’t about the big cathartic moments that change everything! They’re about creating the same feeling in a different way, episode after episode after episode.

You didn’t come to Cobra Kai to cry. You came to Cobra Kai to laugh your butt off, and feel a twisted version of that sweet Karate Kid 80s nostalgia.

And now we’re not getting any of that. We’re not getting the irreverent Cobra Kai feeling. And we’re not getting the sweet sappy 1980s Karate Kid feeling. What we’ve got instead is a sad drama about a kid who might never walk again. 

So as we enter Season Three, the writers are, in technical terms, completely screwed. Cobra Kai feels like Friday Night Lights. The audience is wondering if Miguel is ever going to walk again. We’re watching kids deal with real, sad grief. And we’re wondering, is this show ever going to get on track again?

And then, the writers do a smart thing. And this is a great lesson in how to find your engine. 

When writers are scared, when things aren’t working, we almost always look outside of ourselves. 

We mistakenly imagine, “oh, I must need the next great idea. I have to find that thing that’s out there just beyond the blank page that I haven’t figured out yet.”

But the answer is rarely “out there.” The answer is always “in here,” in the original pages that made you love this project, and in the original hook that made you smile, and in the original engine that made the project work in the first place.

The answer is always about going back to the original material. 

If you’re on an early draft, just go back to the best stuff in that early draft and ask yourself “how do I do more of that in a different way?”

If you’re working on a TV show, go back to what worked in the early episodes, and ask yourself the same question.

The answers are never “out there,” the answers are always in what already exists, what already is beautiful in your material. In what hooked you in the first place. That’s where the engine really lies. 

It’s always about coming back to your initial hook: not the hook for them, the audience, not the hook for them, the producers, the hook for you. The hook that made you want to write this thing in the first place. The you in the script. 

And of course, this is true in life too. 

If your life isn’t quite working, if your life isn’t going where you want to go, it’s easy to feel like you have to burn it all down, or make a huge dramatic decision, find the great new idea or make a giant, life-altering change, right? 

It’s easy to feel like you have to become a completely different person… like you have to reach for the drama. 

No, we don’t have to do any of that. 

We actually have to do is start to take stock, not of what’s not working, but of what is. 

And then we have to start to ask ourselves those same “what if…” questions we ask about our project. What would be cool? What would be fun? What would feel a little bit more like me?

We have to ask ourselves, “What hooks me in my life? What hooks me in my art? How do I do more of that? How do I double down on that? How do I build the structure in my life that’s going to bring me back to the stuff that was working in a different way.”Cobra-Kai-How-to-Find-Your-Hook-Write-Your-Screenplay-Podcast-Jacob-Krueger-Studio

So what works in Cobra Kai? Well, it’s back to that simple engine, right? Those same six questions we asked earlier, that allow each episode to feel like The Karate Kid, inside out.

Johnny’s got to do the most messed up things and they’ve got to work. And Daniel’s got to do the sweetest kindness things with the best intentions, and he’s got to keep on acting like a jerk. All the good things that Daniel does have to not work. And all the totally wrong things that Johnny does, that shouldn’t work, need to work in just the ironically messed up ways.

And so the writers go back to that. They realize it’s not about the drama. It’s not about the big thing. It’s about the little things. They ask that question again: what messed up thing does Johnny Lawrence need to do so that Cobra Kai can feel like Cobra Kai? So we can get back to that great hook we started with, and the great engine that delivered it.

And they come up with a great idea. Johnny Lawrence needs to teach Miguel to walk. 

Why? Because watching Johnny Lawrence, who doesn’t understand anything about dealing with a paralyzed teenager, try to cure Miguel with good old 80s montage training sequences is going to be completely messed up and hilarious.

So we’re gonna watch this sequence where Johnny’s trying all of these exercises to make Miguel. And Miguel keeps falling on his face.

And Johnny, when anybody else would realize, “hmm… maybe it’s time to listen to the doctor…” Johnny just keeps doubling down. 

And of course, because it’s Cobra Kai, it freakin’ works. 

And now, suddenly we are back on that engine again. We are back on that hook again. 

So this is the concept that I want to leave you with, and it’s going to be so valuable for you: hook is always simple, and it always grows from what originally hooked you to the material.  Everything else develops naturally from that.


Remembering this is going to be valuable when you’re writing your first draft, and instead of tearing it apart, or forcing the drama, you ask yourself instead, what’s that wonderful thing in these totally messed up pages? What’s the cool thing? What’s the hook of this character, the hook of this moment, this hook of this scene? How do I do more of that? How do I build on that? What’s the next little twist on that? 

It’s going to help you when you get your first staff writer job, and you’re in the room, and you’re scared, because you know, the first thing you pitch to the showrunner better be a good thing, that’s going to make them want to hear the next idea you have to offer. 

You’re going to think “Well, what’s the hook? What’s the engine of the piece? What makes it work? And how do I do more of that?” 

You’re going to use this when you get staffed on a show that’s been running for five years, and the writers are tired and the engine seems burned out. And suddenly all the characters are getting cancer and dying because they’re trying to find drama. You’re going to be the one who says, “No, no, no, it’s not about that. It’s about what were we doing in season one? And how do we come back to that in a different way?”

It’s going to benefit you when you’re a showrunner for the first time, it’s going to benefit you, when you’re a development executive or a producer on a show and you need to follow up a great season with one that’s even better.

It’s going to benefit you when your own writing just isn’t working and you don’t know why. When you feel like you lost the lightning in a bottle that you had for a moment… when the feeling of your show starts to change. 

It’s going to benefit you when you have to go into a room and pitch the same idea that everybody else is pitching in a way that feels slightly different from all the other writers… that has the hook that feels more like you.

And that concept is really simple. Hook is really simple. And hook has absolutely nothing to do with pleasing other people or selling out or even selling anybody else. 

Cobra-Kai-How-to-Find-Your-Hook-Write-Your-Screenplay-Podcast-Jacob-Krueger-StudioHook comes from looking really closely at the material and asking yourself “what’s the crazy messed up thing that would be really fun for me to write? What about this resonates with me? What hooks me? And what are all the wonderful little ironic twists I can build around that thing that I want to make, that thing that hooked me to the material? What if…”

Hook, like all writing, is really just a radical act of trust. It’s a radical act of trust in your characters. It’s a radical act of trust in yourself. It’s a radical act of trust, to keep on coming back, not to the things that are broken and not to the things that are missing, but to the things that are actually working. 

It’s a radical act of trust in your art and your craft as a writer, asking yourself again and again and again. How do I build on that? 

I hope that you enjoyed this podcast, if you would like to study with me, there’s a brand new way of doing it that I’m so excited to share with you, my new Master Class coming up on April 11. This is my baby. I’ve wanted to teach this class for so many years. The class meets one Sunday a month, and what we do each month is a six hour deep dive into some aspect of screenwriting or TV writing. 

In one class, we might spend six hours just on a concept like hook. We might spend six hours just breaking down the first page of a great screenplay. We might spend six hours looking at how to write for the inner eye and hypnotize your reader with the way you put your words on the page. We might spend six hours on meditative writing, on 7 Act Structure, on engine. We might spend six hours analyzing one of your favorite films or one of your favorite TV shows. 

And what’s really cool about it is that these topics don’t come from me. They actually come from you. Each topic grows out of the unique needs and the unique questions of the writers in the class. And  we’ll be attacking these questions with lectures, with discussions, with writing exercises, with breakout rooms, with feedback, with demos. It is going to be so much fun, and I hope that you can join me! Want to learn more? Check it out!

*Edited for length and clarity.

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