A Six Week Online Master Screenwriting Course
Studying with Max Adams
Course Dates: 01.09.24
Course Fee: $475 || Course Deposit: $150
Course Location:  ONLINE

The First 30 Pages is an accelerated screenwriting master class studying online with author & award winning screenwriter Max Adams. During six weeks of advanced study, students will study story opening models provided in class, complete advanced course assignments and exercises, submit the first thirty pages of a [completed or in progress] feature script for analysis & review, and will participate in weekly online discussions reviewing and analyzing assignments and students’ submitted pages with Max Adams.



WEEK ONE: What the First 30 Pages Do ||
Lecture: Set Up, Illuminate — Launch!

WEEK TWO: Images & Expectations ||
Lecture: Speed Demons & the First 10 Pages

WEEK THREE: Premature Ejaculation ||
Lecture: Why Opening on a Climax Usually Fails

WEEK FOUR: The Lies You Were Told About Characters ||
Lecture: “Character” Does Not Equal “Résumé”

WEEK FIVE: Heavy Reading ||
Lecture: Thirty Pages Under the Microscope

WEEK SIX: Resurrection ||
Lecture: Reevaluating Repetition & Pacing & How to Remove — Repetition

WEEK SEVEN: Grace Week ||
No Lecture


  • The traditional 30 page opening
  • Opening a script in 15 pages or less
  • Genre & the double opening
  • Preambles — when they work, when they fail, & why
  • Establishing tone & genre
  • Establishing audience expectation
  • Opening imagery
  • Withholding for impact
  • Establishing story goal
  • Repetition in openings — when it works & when it doesn’t
  • Establishing leads 
  • Establishing secondary characters
  • Central dilemma escalation & illumination
  • The 40 page opening — AKA the screenplay death knell
  • And more —


  • Actionable craft tools that, implemented in your own scripts, will immediately condense & focus opening pages in your existing & future feature and television scripts, strengthening and focusing a story base from which to launch story events and action that will have immediate cinematic impact for readers and industry professionals considering material for option, purchase, development, attachment and production.
THE FIRST 30 PAGES is a master screenwriting class. If you are a new student, a writing sample will be requested prior to final acceptance into the class. In rare instances in which you are not accepted into the class, your course deposit will be returned.

Questions? Send us email:

30 Pages Email:

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Ratings and Reviews

Avg. Rating
10 Ratings
What's your experience? We'd love to know!
Louis Bernstein
Posted 2 months ago
Learn the best way to LAUNCH your screenplay!

After your crafted log-line and your polished elevator pitch, the rubber-meets-the-road with your Script! The FIRST 30 course gives you the framework to get your script off to a running start, in learning how to set it up, illuminate it, and then launch your script. The FIRST 30 course is essential for any screenwriter wanting to learn how to effectively launch their story right out the gate!

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Carl Miller
Posted 4 months ago
Great impact to first 30

A great course to understand the choices you can bring to the first 30 pages to up level your pages!

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Julie Howe
Posted 6 months ago
First 30.....The perfect jump-start!

The First 30 Pages was a godsend. I have a "based on a true story" female driven drama that I was anxious to get going on. I didn't have ONE WORD of script written when I joined...just the story beginning loosely rattling around in my brain. By the end of class? I had 30 solid pages with incredible feedback for the rewrite. Seriously, folks, this is a kick ass class that is, well, kick ass!

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Debi Yazbeck
Posted 1 year ago
Open your screenplay right

If a reader isn't captivated on the first page or... if a reader gets bored before the inciting incident, you'll never get a full read. Max makes sure your opening image and protagonist intro will make the reader WANT to read what's next.

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Bridget Bell McMahon
Posted 2 years ago

Max's class taught me how to mine the first 30 pages, take the gold and leave the rest! I can't wait to take it again!

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Natalie Hughes
Posted 2 years ago
Excellent Course!

I'm here to tell you that this was an amazing course, The First 30 Pages! Max really gives you plenty of material to sink your teeth into and pause for thought on multiple occasions. This course changed how I opened my story. I learned a tremendous amount and what I learned will stick with me. Max is an amazing teacher. I highly recommend her and this course. Natalie

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Peter Andrews
Posted 3 years ago
A reference point for every draft of every script

You have to get the first 30 right, and no one else provides to insights to do this effectively that Max does. This is a challenging course, but the rewards are amazing. Highly recommended!

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Posted 3 years ago
A Real Time Consult

The benefit of this class is that Max, and the other students, review the first 30 pages of your screenplay. This is a real time review and feedback of the opening pages, pointing out what works, and what would improve the story in terms of establishing and illuminating the story problem. Prior to submitting a script to the industry, take this class.

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Michele Koop
Posted 3 years ago
Get the first 30 pages right...

I loved this class. It really focuses on where and how to start your story in your script, beginning with opening images through the first 30 pages that set up the rest of the script. Max Adams provides great insight and provided me with really priceless feedback. Want to start the script with a bang and pull the reader in? Take this class.

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Nektarios Chrissos
Posted 3 years ago
The difference between keeping and losing the reader...

...lies within the first thirty pages of your screenplay. Max knows that well as a screenwriting veteran and a Nicholl winner and reviewer. And after this course, you'll have the tools to grab your reader from the neck and keep him glued on your words. An extremely useful course for screenwriters in an era when the reviewers' attention spans are so thin.

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What's your experience? We'd love to know!
Author & Award Winning Screenwriter Max Adams

Your Instructor

MAX ADAMS is an author and award winning screenwriter. She has written for Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, Universal Pictures — and a couple others to remain unnamed because no one around here wants to get black listed.

Max is a former volunteer AFI Alumni reader and WGAw online mentor, has appeared as a speaker at, among other places, AMPAS, USC, and Film Arts Foundation, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Utah and a former lecturer & instructor at New York Film Academy, is the author of The Screenwriter’s Survival Guide AND The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide, is the founder of two international online screenwriting workshops and has the dubious distinction of having been dubbed “Red Hot Adams” by Daily Variety for selling three pitches over a holiday weekend — which made her agents cry.

[In a good way.]

She answers now to both “Max” and “Red Hot” in crowds and dog parks.


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