Market Your Screenplay


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:
    • beginning, middle, end
    • want, obstacle, solution
    • thesis, antithesis, synthesis
    Or create a compelling situation with a cliffhanger, leaving 'em wanting more.

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, 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.

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