Everything you need to know about writing an important movie synopsis to get your projects off the ground.
In the world of filmmaking, sometimes a single sentence can mean the difference between getting the go-ahead for a multi-million dollar blockbuster or sending a project off to development hell. And while we all don't script mega-franchisees, there is something to be said about the general importance of a well-designed, carefully crafted movie recap.
Okay, what exactly is a film overview? What purpose does it serve and, most importantly, what makes a good one? These are the questions we want to answer here! Before sending your next script to Marvel Studios for review, you should study the basics and best practices for writing a proper movie synopsis.
What is a film overview?
First of all, when we define a “movie review” we usually speak of scripts and scriptwriting, as this is where most conversations about a movie project begin. From this perspective, a movie review is a brief summary that summarizes what a script is about. It contains a snapshot of the entire plot structure and history of the film.
A movie guide (or movie guide) is usually about a page long. In addition to providing all relevant information about the plot and story, it should actually be a document that "sells" the project. A movie recap is often seen or heard by a studio manager, talent agent, manager, or actor who is considering whether to continue with the movie.
What should be included in a film overview
So when you get into how to write your movie summary and what to actually include, you need to have really strict rules and open guidelines in place. Every movie summary should be formulaic and easy to read, while being unique and interesting. It really comes down to finding the right balance between the two. From a formulaic point of view, here are the key points:
- Include a header (title, screenwriter name, email address, or contact information).
- Add a log line.
- Write in the third person and present tense.
From there, you can summarize with focus and creativity however you like. While you definitely want to make your movie summary unique enough to stand out, there are a few additional unwritten rules to keep in mind:
- Clearly define the main characters.
- Introduce the central conflict of the story.
- Focus on a three file structure.
- Include a solid final statement.
- Proofreading for grammar and readability.
Tips for Writing a Good Movie Review
However, these are just the basics. So what can you do to take your movie overview one step further? I'm a huge fan of acclaimed screenwriter John August, who is a wonderful resource for anyone studying the specifics of writing a movie synopsis. He was very receptive to his scriptwriting success after writing big films like Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as the live-action remake of Aladdin. If you'd like to see some recent examples of movie reviews as well as many other real-world case studies, visit his library.
Once you've covered the basics and followed the general rules, the goal is to remove the synopsis of your movie with the key elements of its story. These tips can help:
- Try to instantly connect your reader to the biggest and best parts of the story.
- Don't get caught up in unnecessary or superfluous information.
- Focus on the flow of sales and the narrative beats.
- Define your main characters, but don't waste a lot of time on minor characters.
- Understand the genre of your film and how that story goes with or against it.
- Hammer things home with a strong ending that leaves no questions unanswered.
Along with the above, I would also advise aspiring screenwriters or filmmakers to rely on their own instincts and always focus on your voice. Having a strong voice can overcome all of the pros and cons that you can find online. Remember, a movie review isn't just any story you sell – it's your story.
For more scriptwriting tips, tricks, and resources, see the additional articles below.
Cover photo from VGstockstudio.