Danny Manus, an L.A. based script consultant sums up what a one sheet should contain.
Your one-pager (another term for one-sheet) is your calling card; a selling tool for your story and also for yourself. It differs from a synopsis in a few ways. First, as its name dictates, it’s only ONE page. Secondly, unlike the synopsis which is just about your story, your one-sheet can be a bit about you as well. It’s much closer to the query letter but without the letter aspects. You don’t need the greeting or closing, but a good one-sheet should include the following:
– Your name
– The title of your screenplay
– Your contact info including email (even if they have it already)
– The genre of your script
– The logline of your script
– If appropriate, 1-2 lines that state anything special about you that pertains to your story or the film business in general just like in your query letter. Or mention of any major contest wins, produced projects, etc.
– Then, 1-3 VERY short paragraphs (about 8-12 lines on the page) about your story, your world, your protagonist and what they must accomplish, what is against them, and what’s on the line. It should be a bit more stylized than your synopsis, which means your voice as a writer should shine through.
– Much like the query letter, you should not entirely give away your ending, but you should tease and intimate your awesome ending – let the exec know that your story builds to something exciting.
And incredibly important for your one-sheet — no typos or grammatical errors!! If you cannot write a half a page without a typo or mistake, then you are sloppy or lazy and I don’t want to read your script. I know many execs who will throw away a one-sheet with a typo on it.
Execs can tell if someone can write by their one-sheet, and they often will not ask for a script if the one-sheet is unimpressive, bland, boring, or uninformative.