FMP: Synopsis and Logline

In order to distribute my film I need to have a solid logline that will explain the film and draw an audience in, in just one line.

What is a Logline?

‘ It’s a one- or two-sentence description of the overall idea of the story. It’s the main goal of the story that you want to convey to your audience.’

Make Your Logline Memorable

‘The main point to remember about this exercise is that you have to try to boil down your own high concept ideas into something that’s easy for people to understand. If you can’t relate to an agent, a publisher, a producer or even a studio executive what your story is about in one or two sentences, then it will be difficult to get them interested in reading your work, and more importantly, wanting to buy it.

Keep in mind however, that a good logline doesn’t tell someone too much. It’s always good to leave a little something to the imagination. In the case of Spy Kids, you want the person you’re pitching, to ask you, “Hey, what does happen when the kids have to save their parents?” And that’s when you can say, “Well, you’ll have to read my screenplay to find out.”‘

Examples

Logline #1 – The extraordinary story of a thoroughbred racehorse – from his humble beginnings as an under-fed workhorse to his unlikely rise and triumphant victory over the Triple Crown winner, War Admiral.

Logline #2 – A 17th Century tale of adventure on the Caribbean Sea where the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow joins forces with a young blacksmith in a gallant attempt to rescue the Governor of England’s daughter and reclaim his ship.

Are you getting the hang of it so far? Here’s a few more:

Logline #3 – After segueing from a life of espionage to raising a family, Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez are called back into action. But when they are kidnapped by their evil nemesis, there are only two people in the world who can rescue them… their kids!

Logline #4 – Toula’s family has exactly three traditional values – “Marry a Greek boy, have Greek babies, and feed everyone.” When she falls in love with a sweet, but WASPy guy, Toula struggles to get her family to accept her fiancée, while she comes to terms with her own heritage.

Logline #5 – A young man and woman from different social classes fall in love aboard an ill-fated voyage at sea.

Answers:

1. Seabiscuit
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
3. Spy Kids
4. My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding
5. Titanic

I came up with……

*There is no defining point in life as to when your world will turn upside down.

*From waking up in a hospital and wishing she hadn’t woken up at all, to treasuring her life and looking forward to the future, brings this compelling and emotional true story.

These both give a sense of what the story is a short snappy one that is easy to remember and a slightly longer one that shocks and intrigues.

[Writing Loglines That Sell] http://www.writersstore.com/writing-loglines-that-sell/

I also need to have a synopsis that can be released as part of a press release so that people can read what my film is about before watching it and gain a sense of what to expect when watching it. For a press release kit you should have a long version, a medium version, and a short version. So far I have only created a short version as I feel that there is not much more to say about the film without repeating myself over and over. I have also written a paragraph summary in order to sum up the film and story behind it that can be used on marketing material that may not be able to fit the synopsis on, the back of the DVD perhaps.

The one paragraph synopsis
‘The one paragraph synopsis is useful in finding the essence of the story because it must state very
briefly and simply WHO, WHAT and HOW.
Within the space of two to four sentences, the one paragraph synopsis should set out whose story it is
(the protagonist), what his or her problem is, what they do about it and the outcome.
For example, here is a one paragraph synopsis of The Boys:
Brett Sprague is released from gaol and returns home to a family he feels has disintegrated in his absence. His attempts to dominate his brothers, his brothers’ girlfriends, his own girlfriend and his mother by violence and the assertion of masculine solidarity result in the alienation and escape of the women. Finally, Brett leads his brothers in an act of revenge on one anonymous female, the scapegoat for their failures as men.
What is implied in this synopsis of The Boys is not just ‘what happens’, but the story’s thematic concerns as well.’

Summary

A shocking awakening from a true story of a girl who became mentally unstable. She describes how, with numerous mental illness she fought a battle of emotions and how her devastating actions became a normal part of trying to escape life. This experimental film not only compels you through the story of the girl told in her own words, but helps you understand visually the roller-coaster of the ups and downs and erratic thoughts and actions of those who are mentally ill.

The one page synopsis
‘The generally accepted idea of a synopsis is a one – or at most two – page document. (‘One page’ really does mean one page. Noone is fooled by attempts to squeeze more onto a page by using a compressed font in 10 point with no paragraph breaks.)

To summarise, the one page synopsis must include: the event, without which the story would not begin; the decisions and actions the characters make in pursuit of their goals; the obstacles and barriers they encounter and what they do about them; whether they win or lose; and where we leave them in the end. Despite its very compressed form, the synopsis does give the reader a sense of the characters because it includes their key choices and actions. And in a drama, choices and actions define character.
Finally, screen drama (and we include documentary here) demands a story which develops in a causeand-effect way. The reader of the one page synopsis will want to see that the story develops and builds with rising tension, ever more loaded conflict and something of value riding on the outcome.’

Synopsis – short

This is an experimental film inspired by Clio Barnard’s ‘The Arbor’ (2010), which takes the audio from a real interview and combines it with visuals that do not match but are able to tell a story if the audio was to be taken away. It is done in this way in order to give the audience a sense of what it is like to be mentally unstable, the way they think, the actions they take, and the feelings they encounter. Instability is a true story about a young girl who describes her life and what it was like when she became mentally unstable. She explains the roller-coaster of emotions she endured and the drastic actions that she took to ensure that she was no longer hurting people and no longer hurting herself. Having mental health problems can be draining of all the family and it is told how each of her family reacted to her illness and everything that went along with it. This interview is cut up and repositioned randomly and therefore not linear to true events. My voice is featured in some parts, that offers another emotional out-pour that this situation brought about, however, I preferred to have my contributors voice tell the story as it is hers to tell and her emotional connection to it is brought out a lot more without myself asking lots of questions. My contributor faced fatal life conditions and still faces some battle every now and then but the fact is despite all the upheaval she has reached a point where she now feels well and in control, enough to share a story that has not been shared in detail with others before in order to help make people aware that mental illnesses can be dealt with and overcome. From waking up in a hospital and wishing she hadn’t woken up at all, to treasuring her life and looking forward to the future brings this compelling and emotional story. A hard hitting experience and a personal journey has undergone whilst making this film that is close to both mine and my contributors heart bring us even closer together as friends.

[What is a Synopsis? an Outline? Treatment?] http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/documents/sa_publications/ig/whatisasynopsis.pdf

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About gailenepierre

Ambitious and driven but knows how to have funnnn :)

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