Prepare a three-line, five-line, and ten-line synopsis of your proposed motion picture project to
be used at the appropriate opportunity. These are perhaps the most important words that a
motivated screenwriter will ever write.
Be sure to . .
- Construct the synopsis around a:
Or create a compelling situation with a cliffhanger, leaving 'em wanting more.
- beginning, middle, end
- want, obstacle, solution
- thesis, antithesis, synthesis
And don't forget to . .
- Avoid starting with 'PROJECT TITLE is a GENRE story about . .' (redundant and
amateurish). Start in immediately with attention-grabbing words.
- Eliminate character names, unless they help tell the story or carry some significance, e.g.,
historical, atmosphere, meaning, or otherwise (see character naming).
- See what the experts have to say about concept in the Magic Star of Dramatic Writing, especially Lajos Egri on
writing a good premise.
- Review synopses for other film projects, or actual movies--like those found at pitch sites (like
InkTip), screenplay contest sites (so many out
there), movie sites (like IMDb.com, etc.
Consider which ones grab you (and why).
Pitch the synopsis to a few people to refine it. Over the phone works. You may find yourself
doing precisely that many times in a marketing campaign. Edit, rethink, rewrite, edit, rethink,
rewrite until it squeaks.
The brief synopsis might best be used when querying by e-mail.