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Old 05-20-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
iknownuffin
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Default "One page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

I queried a production company re. my script and they replied back:
"We received your submission request and would like to review a one page synopsis and/or treatment (8 pages maximum) of your material."

What's a one page synopsis other than being, you know, one page?

And in case I decide to also add the treatment, what the heck is that?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: "one page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

This is probably one of the best treatments I've seen.

http://www.mypdfscripts.com/treatmen...mith-treatment

And a one page synopsis is exactly what it means.

Good luck.
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: "one page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

Quote:
Originally Posted by huge_tree View Post
This is probably one of the best treatments I've seen.

http://www.mypdfscripts.com/treatmen...mith-treatment

And a one page synopsis is exactly what it means.

Good luck.
Thanks for the lead. It'll come in handy.
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: "one page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

I definitely recommend the one-page synopsis. It's easier to write the one page synopsis, and it's easier to READ a one-page synopsis.

A synopsis is usually written as a marketing tool after the script is written. It's the story in a nutshell. It's like your logline with a little extra meat on it so they get a good overview of the story.

Treatments are usually written before you write the script, either because that's how you like to outline, in a sort of novelized form, or because you're writing on assignment and the producer wants you to write a treatment before you write the script. The producer wants to see everything you're going to write before you write it. But it's difficult to write a treatment that makes your script seem appealing.

Reading a synopsis is like seeing a map of the entire forest. You can see how it fits together and it makes sense. Reading many people's treatments is like getting lost in all the boring trees and losing sight of the overall picture.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: "one page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

Assume they're only going to read the shortest thing you send them.

I would send them either a 1 pager, or an 8 pager, depending on which one you think was the most exciting, visceral, fun thing to read which will get them the MOST excited about reading your script.

My general opinion on this - although others may have different opinion - is that it's easier to get someone excited, the longer the thing you give them. A one-pager is going to describe exciting scenes, but it won't dramatize them - it won't make the people FEEL scared or tense or excited.

It's hard enough to do this in 8 pages. Unless the concept is so amazing that you know they're going to want to read it, and you can write an amazing one-pager, I think your best hope is to tell the story in a way that actually gets them to feel things ... and you can't do that in one page.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: "one page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

I agree with Ronaldinho that you should do the one you do best. It's likely that he has a lot of experience writing treatments for producers. They have to be -- and surely are -- well-dramatized.

Sometimes I have to write treatments for producers, and of course I make sure they are dramatized, but what I write day in and day out for my customers are loglines, query letters and one-page synopses. And I do make sure the reader feels the story's emotion. It is possible to do that, just as it is possible to put emotion in a one-page poem or song.

I assumed that it's easier for most people to write a one-page synopsis that works than to write a treatment that works for two reasons: It's easier for me to write a one-pager that works. And when someone in my writing group
who is not a professional writer stands up and reads aloud an 8 or 10 page treatment, it tends to be difficult to stay awake through it. They're usually not dramatized, and they're often confusing and overloaded with detail and no big picture.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: "one page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

Always err on the side of brevity.

I'd suggest the one page synopsis. I recently fired off an 8 page treatment for a project. Not because they specified that amount of pages. It just worked out that way once I'd translated all the ideas and notes I had.

I quickly found out that there are two problems with an 8 page synopsis-

1) Producers would rather 2-4 pages outlining primarily the important story beats. 8 pages is a chunk out of their valuable time.

2) 8 pages gives you more rope to hang yourself. What I mean by this is, I included so much detail- including dialogue- that it not only confused the issue. It allowed for more instances where, because I couldn't convey it in actual script form, it didn't come across right in the treatment.

A classic case of shooting myself in the foot.

One page synopsis is just as it states. With the treatment, even though it says 8 pages, I'd suggest breaking it down to 4 pages.

The first page is your first act, hiting all the appropriate beats. So as an example a third of the way down the page, you should hit your catalyst. Bottom of page, you hit your incident breaking into Act Two.

Second page the escalation that makes up your first half of the Second Act. Bottom of this second page, you hit your midway plotpoint/Point of no return.

Third page is your second half of the Second Act leading up (most of the time) to an all is seemingly lost moment at the bottom of the page.

Forth page is your Third Act climax and resolution.

All in all, 4 pages is easily enough to sum up the important beats of the story and won't alienate your reader. Trust me. They say maximum 8 pages, but that's not what they want!

Good luck with it
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: "one page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

My method used to be exclusively logline, outline, script. A real system.

Now, I insert a detailed synopsis between outline and script, or right after the script's done.

In January, I was lucky enough to have a producer ask for "detailed synopses, 4 pages each", of everything I'd done. The problem was, I only had a couple, for the 11 scripts I'd done to that point, and I had to spend the next week typing them up.

Now I do them as a matter of course, and advertise them in the query along with the script. I get more bites than ever.

And just yesterday I had a request for a synopsis, 2 page max, and I sent the 4 pager that was prepared. No complaints.

Personally, although it's been a long time since I've even tried, I think it'd be really hard to write a 1 page synopsis. My scripts are a little too dense and allegorical, and such a brief doc just wouldn't make much sense to any reader.
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Old 05-21-2011, 08:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: "One page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

**** the synop. **** the treatment.

Send them the script.

Anything else just gives them another reason to pass.
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: "One page synopsis or an 8 page treatment"

Thanks for all your help. I think I'll go with the one-pager first and hopefully get them interested. Thanks again.
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