When is the Hook?

Pooja C. asked: I think I am struggling a bit with the concept of building a Hook in filmmaking. I understand it from a print media perspective, that its the heading to the article & the first thing we read.

In filmmaking you introduce Hook in the beginning of the film, & it may or maynot be the first scene or the first dialog unlike in print media.

In Pulse, I got the concept, David is waiting to hear from Nadeem & how you build the tension & finally David gets an email from Nadeem. It happens in quick succession in the film.

So my q is, in Still Alice where she forgets the word Lexicon, is that middle of the Hook, the scene in the car where she remembers, is that the end of the hook? What is then the beginning of the hook?

The hook is from your first frame. Where it ends is a great question, and one I am not sure I've thought about before (sadly). I would say that ideally the hook ends with the viewer hooked (engaged), but in terms of a timing objective, I'd suggest it is absolutely less than 25% of your story (since that is the hook, Ask, and Acceptance) and would probably be roughly 10-15% of the total run time.

So in still Alice, they'd have more like 15 minutes to hook us, which is expected in a feature, where as a short doc piece online has less than a minute, and most commercials have seconds. It will always come down to context-knowing your audience, and knowing where they are at and how much you can get away with. A captive audience that paid to see your film in theaters will handle a slower and deeper hook than will something you need to capture attention with online.