• Write a screenplay Synopsis
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      Write a screenplay Synopsis

      1. Write the logline.

      The logline is at most two sentences that sum up your screenplay. You can think of the logline as the description you might read on the website of a movie theater or in the information box of the program guide on your television.

      This will set your readers expectations and allow them to better visualize the tale you’re about to tell.

      Basically describing where the screenplay is at the end of Act I, a logline should include the protagonist(s), the protagonist’s central problem and a sense of what’s at stake.

      Example: “A put-upon teenage boy accidentally travels 30 years into the past where he inadvertently interferes with his mother and father’s first meeting. While trying to find a way back to the future, he must try to make his mis-matched parents fall in love or he will never be born.”

      If you can, follow the logline with a paragraph describing why your screenplay is attractive from a filmmaker's point of view. For example, if it can be shot on a small budget using a limited number of locations near Los Angeles, your movie may be more attractive than one that will require weeks on location, elaborate sets or a lot of special effects.

      More sources about how to wright a logline:

      How to write compelling Loglines

      How to Write a Logline 1

      How to Write a Logline 2

      2. Who, what, where, when and why?

      Immediately establish what your hero is trying to achieve when the story opens. Get the reader quickly invested in your protagonist’s success.

      Introduce the main characters and setting in one paragraph. Include the names (who), their occupations (what), where they live and work (where), the time period of the story (when) and the reason you are telling their story (why).

      Type the names of the characters in all capital letters the first time their names appear. Thereafter, type the character names in the usual way.

      Characters that should be included in the synopsis are the protagonist (hero), the antagonist (villain), the love interest and any important allies of the protagonist. Less important characters can be left out or not named in the synopsis.

      Also watch: What makes a good story?

      3. Summarize Act I.

      Summarize Act I in no more than 3 paragraphs. Act I is the setup, when you introduce the characters and the main conflict that drives the story.

      Learn more about ACT I

      4. Cover Act II.

      Cover Act II in 2 to 6 paragraphs. Show all the conflicts faced by your characters that lead to the crisis, the ultimate conflict that will change the course of your characters' lives.

      Learn more about ACT II

      5. Finish with Act III.

      This should take no more than 3 paragraphs. Describe how the ultimate conflict ends and what happens to the characters afterward.

      Learn more about ACT III

      More sources about 3 ACT structure:

      3 Act story structure

      3 Act Screenplay Structure - Screenwriting Tips & Myths



      6. The title.

      Think of a title that fits your story. You can try to make the title catchy and interesting, but it will probably be changed by the director of movie studio, so don't work on it too hard. Put the title at the top of the page. Under the title, give the genre of the film, such as action, romantic comedy or thriller.

      7. Contact info.

      Add your contact information and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) registration number. Always register your completed screenplay and/or treatment with the WGA to establish your authorship.

      8. Cause-and-Effect Connections.

      Synopses aren’t just chronologies, a set of events related in chronological order. Write as to clearly connect your story’s events in terms of character expectations, actions taken, effects experienced and new plans formulated. As much as what happens, we need to know why they happen.

      9. Focus on Emotions.

      Write them BIG. Readers don’t just want love, they want PASSION. They don’t just want fear, they want TERROR. They don’t just want sadness, they want EMOTIONAL DEVASTATION. As your page count contracts, what remains must be concentrated and deliver a strong visceral impact.

      10. Include Your Major Set-Pieces.

      Set-pieces are large, unified scenes of action, humor or drama. They are the big sequences that make your screenplay unique and memorable. Although your synopsis is necessarily abbreviated, take time in your telling to describe three or four big set-pieces, as these are ultimately your script’s biggest selling points.

      11. Think Cinematically.

      Use nouns, verbs and adjectives that have strong visual elements. Painting word pictures helps the reader see not just your story, but your movie.

      12. Go Out with a Bang.

      As noted earlier, good endings help sell a screenplay. Even more so, a synopsis. Leave your reader with the feelings you want paying audiences to experience at your final fade out. Ultimately, your synopsis is your movie in miniature, so it must necessarily suggest the intellectual/emotional/spiritual impact of the full, final product.

      Any professional screenwriter will tell you that half this job is selling. When you master the art of the synopsis, you will find that sales become much easier to come by.

      13. Feedback.

      Give your synopsis to other people to read. If they have any questions or if something isn't clear to them, change your synopsis to make the story clearer. If an agent, producer or director finds something in your synopsis that is unclear or confusing, he or she will not request your full screenplay.

      Now go do your thing.

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