Listen to TED Hi, I’m Laurie, and I’m addicted to TEDTalks and I want you to know, it can happen to you too. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading and those videos that get spread are (TEDTalks) a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference. Given that the offering of these ‘best’ 18 minute segments seem to be endless, it begs to question: How these speakers are able to engage so many across a broad spectrum – and often about fairly bland or cerebral topics. The answer is simple, they pull us in first with a story and then slip in the topic and come full circle back to how it ties into the story they started with. Whether you realize it or not, your assignment as a screenwriter is to do this exact same thing and you have a lot more time to do so. BUT it’s those first moments that matter most. Those moments where your audience is immersed and hooked enough to sit through the ‘meat of the message.’ Our brains are hard-wired to listen to stories and the number one thing that makes a story compelling is the uncertainty of the outcome – opposing forces (conflict) that makes the outcome unknown. This is nothing new you may say, ‘we know we have to start in compelling way.’ The key to making these opening moments of conflict compelling is by making them personal. The best TEDTalks not only immediately launch into setting the scene, they focus what you imagine in the scene to what matters and they do it on a personal level – a primal, universal level anyone can relate to. There’s no laundry lists describing a scene and more importantly, by pinpointing the personal, the stories that open these talks are unique no matter how common the issue being discussed is – because every person is unique. So while there may be no more original stories, there will always be original takes on universal themes. Watch this TEDTalk – find the process described above and stop procrastinating. http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrasti... Now to what this post is really about. I fully admit that I feed the procrastination monkey by writing short snippets here and elsewhere, and even by watching a TEDTalk, but in my defense it’s the slow build of facing the piles of files on my desktop. It’s the stretch before my workout. Go write for 20 minutes without interruption, take a break and repeat. May all of your blocks be monkey-free.