The rules of screenwriting, we've all heard of them.
- Introduce your main characters in the first 10 pages.
- Never write a scene longer than 2 1/2 pages
- Your Inciting Incident should happen around page 15
- Your Lock-In Point should happen at the end of Act 1, which should be around page 25-30
- Thou Shall Not Montage! (Actually, that's a pretty good one)
- Write a fantastic screenplay
- Casino Royale: An argument can be made that the Lock-In point does not happen until after the action sequence at the Miami Airport, a good 45 - 50 minutes into the movie. Up until that point he is only on a surveillance mission and could walk away at any point. Only after he finds the plot is he locked into the poker game. But if that is not enough for you, time how long it takes for them to introduce Vesper Lynd, it's not within the first ten minutes.
- Quantum of Solace: For Bond, the incident that started him down his path was the kidnapping of the mastermind behind Vesper's death. When did that happen? At the end of Casino Royale. So the argument can be made that the inciting incident was on page negative two.
- Skyfall: Time how long it takes them to introduce the villain. By my watch, his first appearance on screen was one hour and ten minutes in.
Does this mean you can suddenly start writing 195 page scripts with 18 page scenes? I would strongly recommend against that. Then again, the opening scene to Inglorious Basterds spends fifteen minutes inside the house and the rendezvous in the bar is twenty four minutes long. So it can be done (by a select few). For the most part, the rules are good, they keep you honest. But if they prevent you from telling the best possible story, drop them like they're hot.