DZ-89: Opening Sequences

How does your opening sequence set up your audience?

Inspired by her tweet on how subversive an opening OCEAN’S ELEVEN has, Chas and Stu invited amazing writer/director Jessica Ellis onto the show to deep dive into opening sequences. How does a good opening setup character, genre, and theme?

In exploring how best to open your story – instead of looking at the almost mandatory studio note of “dropping you in the action” – Stu, Chas and Jess look at the inventive openings of OCEAN’S ELEVEN, LONG SHOT, ARRIVAL and A SERIOUS MAN. Each of these films opens in a way that seems to defy its genre conventions and yet still provide all the set-up it needs to perfectly tell its story.


Audio quotations used for educational purposes only. Timestamps indicated below. Chapter markers included in the mp3.

Thanks to Chris Walker for editing this episode.


  • 00:00:56 – Intro
  • 00:12:04 – Ocean’s Eleven
  • 00:30:26 – Long Shot
  • 01:01:32 – Arrival
  • 01:22:22 – A Serious Man
  • 01:41:17 – Wrap Up
  • 01:46:47 – Patreon thanks



This episode brought to you by ScriptUp – – use promo code DZ10 to get 10% off.

Thanks to all our patrons, especially Casimir, Lloyd, Eduardo, Jennifer, Leigh, Thomas, Garrett, Bjorn, Randy, Jesse, Sandra, Alex and Khrob. You rule!

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