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To Synopsis or Not to Synopsis

Every week we receive emails from writers asking about the best way to query a production company through our newsletter.  We decided to go straight to the source and ask our producers.  The number one thing they said was to submit a complete query.  This includes a personal message, logline, one page synopsis and resume. 

Many writers don't submit a synopsis when using our newsletter.  Some feel that the logline is sufficient.  Others are nervous about their ideas being stolen.  But the truth is that a logline is just a glimpse of your story.  The synopsis, in fact, is where the decision to request a script happens. 

Skipping this step of uploading a synopsis could be detrimental to your query.  Many producers delete submissions without consideration when no synopsis is listed.  The synopsis is an important element that helps them decide if the script is worth taking the time to read.  A submission without a synopsis wastes the producers' time.  But (I would eliminate this "But" and begin with "More importantly") more importantly, it is a loss for you - the writer - who has a great script but just needs the right company to back it.

  1. Here are reasons why a synopsis is essential: A synopsis is an industry standard.  Writers who submit one present themselves as more professional to a producer than those who do not. 

  2. The synopsis provides a producer with more information about the script that helps them decide if it fits into their budget, actor needs, location specifications, if it is adaptable, or simply if it is a storyline for which they are interested in investing years of their life.
  3. The synopsis helps the producer decide if the writing style of the scribe matches what they are looking for.

When submitting to a lead, consider the producer's point of view.  When a producer reads a submission that contains a logline and no synopsis, the producer may think, "I'm not going to spend two hours reading a script without knowing the structure and characters first."  Asking someone to request a script from a logline is like asking someone to buy a house after seeing a photo online.  Shouldn't the potential buyer go and check out the house first?  The synopsis is this crucial second step. 

We hope the above will help you with your submission process and lead to potential success with your scripts.  If you have questions on how to write a synopsis, please see our Resource Center for tips and articles.

- InkTip


Written by: Chris Cookson
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