Do you need a synopsis of your screenplay?
When people in the film industry say they’re too busy to read your film script, believe them. They need a way to understand your entire story without ploughing through a hundred odd pages of your screenplay. Not that you’re a bad screenwriter. Business is business and time is money. It’s the way of the screenwriting world.
Increasingly, producers, agents and managers are becoming disinclined to read entire screenplays. They are initially interested in reading a synopsis ranging from one paragraph to a few pages. What do you include?
What to include in your film synopsis
- Much like a treatment, a synopsis summarizes the theme, character and plot of your screenplay in narrative form.
- Sell the sizzle, not the steak.
- A synopsis should summarize all three acts of your story. It should reveal story and character in a visual rather than prosaic manner.
- Jump into the first act. Start with the character, central theme and conflict.
- State the genre and emotional landscape. This creates an audience expectation.
- You don’t have room for an exhaustive scene breakdown. Write from memory so you only write the key scenes.
- Include set pieces and plot twists.
- Visually describe key moments or scenes rather than intricate details.
- Allow your readers to become immersed in and surprised by the story.
- You are painting motion pictures with words. Paint with broad brush strokes.
- Finally add any assets you may have, such as talent, equity or distribution.
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