Good scenes take place somewhere and at sometime. They do not take place on an empty stage. A location can easily be established in one or two lines without breaking the scene.
Examples of opening lines that establish a location:
Example One: My God, Bob you’ve put the tiger in with the bison again. The zoo manager will be so pissed at us.
Example Two: Cast off the main line already Sheila, we’re going to win the race, the 1970 Lake Boona race, not like the 67, 68 and 69 races! With the new rudder we should have smooth sailing.
Example Three: Hmm, so you’re riding one of them auto-mobiles. Dang, well it is the 1890’s. You New York City people, Markus, have all the modern things. Next you’ll say you have electricity. I knew coming to New York would be exciting, my dear brother.
Each of the opening lines above provides an idea of a location. By working with your partner, the specifics of the location are further worked out. Of course, it is even better when you can establish location without words or with minimal use of dialogue. (We’ll talk more about establishing location in silence in a future article.)