HOW TO WRITE A SYNOPSIS FOR A MOVIE (or a TV Pilot for, say, People’s Pilot 2019)

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by Script Reader Pro

If you want to learn how to write and sell a script, you must also learn how to write a synopsis.

A movie is based on a screenplay, but that screenplay is based on a story. And a story in its purest form can be found in a movie synopsis.

Whether you plan on writing a film synopsis for a script that’s done and dusted or is yet to be written, being able to refine a story down to 400 or so words is an invaluable skill to acquire.

What Is a Synopsis?

The first question you have to ask yourself when wondering how to write a synopsis for a movie is “what kind?”

In this post we’re going to focus on the two most popular reasons for writing a film synopsis:

? To use as a selling tool after writing the script
? To nail the story before writing the script

Whatever your motivation for writing a synopsis, the basic skill required for both is the same:

The ability to tell an exciting, coherent story in under 500 words of prose.

We’re also going to show you a synopsis format example, so you can see exactly what one looks like, but let’s start with the most common reason for writing a plot synopsis: as a marketing tool.

Part 1. How to Write a Synopsis as a Selling Tool

A screenplay synopsis is simply a breakdown of its core A-story into prose. Its primary function is as a selling tool to aid the writer in the marketing of their script.

This kind of synopsis should fit on one page (or less) and, for this reason, is sometimes called a “one-pager.”

A script synopsis/one-page is either sent along with a query letter to a manager, exec, producer, etc. or left behind after a meeting.

A writer’s hope is that after the industry contact reads it, he/she will like the story enough to request the whole script.

What Is a Synopsis of a Movie Compared to a Treatment?

The main difference between a movie synopsis and a treatment, is that a synopsis is only one page in length. A treatment, on the other hand, is usually around 5 to 10 pages.

Both can be used as selling tools. However, a synopsis is usually sent at the beginning of any communication and a treatment further down the line.

What Goes Into a Movie Synopsis (As a Selling Tool)?

If there’s one plight that aspiring screenwriters share, it’s getting a screenplay read by “the right people,” i.e. industry people. But one of the most overlooked devices when pitching a screenplay is a tightly written film synopsis that sells the core concept and story.

Learning how to write a synopsis for a movie is crucial—just as important, in many ways, as writing the actual script itself.

Here are the key elements that go into a synopsis format:

?  Script logline
?  Synopsis of core story
?  Contact details

Let’s take a look at each in turn.

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