1. A challenge to your protagonist's status quo.
2. An antagonist for your character to encounter. (Doesn't have to be THE antagonist.)
3. Introduce your protagonist's immediate intentions.
4. A glimpse into your MC's history/personality/motivation.
5. The protagonist makes a decision that leads immediately to more complications.
What do you think? Are these components a good summary of what you like to read/write in an opening scene? Think back to your favorite books or movies, do they follow these guidelines? Can you think of any other "must haves" in an opening?
*This is a revamped post from 2009