What is a movie synopsis?

November 16th, 2020  |  by Amalie Luthra

What’s a movie synopsis?

A movie synopsis is an integral part of the pre-production element of filmmaking. It brings a foundation to your project and can also be the determining factor of whether or not a production company will move forward with your project – it’s that important.

A well written and crafted synopsis can also help bolster the thought process and develop your idea into a full-blown script.

We get asked a lot about how to write a good synopsis, or tips to make your synopsis stand out. So, we decided in this article we will look at what a movie synopsis is, what you need to include in a synopsis and tips on how to write a good synopsis.

What is a movie synopsis?

A movie synopsis is a summary usually only a couple of paragraphs long (a page maximum) that summarises what the script is about, and displays the overall plot and story arc.

This snapshot will compliment your logline and film treatment well – this will provide you with enough pitch material to approach potential suitors and help sell your idea.

What do I need to include in a movie synopsis?

Every synopsis follows the same rules really, it’s a simple formula that contains the following:

  • A header – this needs to include all your details and the title of your script.
  • Your movies logline.
  •  The movies overview, that summarises what the script is about and displays the overall plot and story arc.

When describing your movies overview, be as creative as you can, this is really what sells the idea and will keep the production company wanting to read more. A couple of additional points to consider in the overview is:

  • Include a compact but complete summary of the ending.
  • Use the three-act structure to guide your summary.
  • Make sure you proofread and the grammar is impeccable, a misspelt word and it can be curtains.

How do I write a great synopsis?

Once you nail the formalities in your synopsis, adding your name, email, address and so forth, it leads you into the summary. This is where you want to wow them, leave a mark and really sell your script to the production company.

These few tips will help your synopsis go from average to great in minutes.

  • Focus on the flow and beats of your sentences.
  • Define your protagonist and any key characters, try to leave out insignificant characters in the synopsis, as this will only lengthen your synopsis and take it away from the core points.
  • Understand the genre and where your movie will add value.
  • Finish the last paragraph with a strong ending, ensure all key parts are answered and the story arc is complete. 

If you enjoyed this article on how to write a great synopsis, please check out more of our articles on screenwriting here.

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