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Old 07-26-2019, 08:24 PM   #21
catcon
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

Here's a thing called a 'selling synopsis':

The Journeyman Thief

I get how this would be something investors would like. Again, quite a different animal from what a producer or rep might want to see.
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:38 PM   #22
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

Writing a synopsis is a bit of its own art form. It takes a few drafts to truly make them sing, especially if it's a sales document and not just coverage. It's really easy for a reader's eyes to start glazing over when they read a synopsis (just try reading the plot summary for any movie on Wikipedia).

If I'm doing a synopsis for a story that's somewhat complicated, I'll lead off with a few sections that cover the main character, the themes, the world, etc. That way, the reader has a foundation so that they don't get lost in the actual plot.

Experiment around. There are only two rules:
1. Don't Confuse
2. Don't Bore

Also, I'm curious by this offer to produce. What did he mean by that? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but it sounds like he's saying, "Well, I could pay you now... or you can have a percentage later." He's not actually offering you producing responsibilities, is he? That doesn't make any sense. All I can think is that he's trying to sell you on some sort of deferred compensation, in which case it goes without saying, but you want a lawyer to review anything before you sign.
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Old 07-27-2019, 07:54 AM   #23
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunker View Post
Writing a synopsis is a bit of its own art form. It takes a few drafts to truly make them sing, especially if it's a sales document and not just coverage. It's really easy for a reader's eyes to start glazing over when they read a synopsis (just try reading the plot summary for any movie on Wikipedia).

If I'm doing a synopsis for a story that's somewhat complicated, I'll lead off with a few sections that cover the main character, the themes, the world, etc. That way, the reader has a foundation so that they don't get lost in the actual plot.

Experiment around. There are only two rules:
1. Don't Confuse
2. Don't Bore

Also, I'm curious by this offer to produce. What did he mean by that? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but it sounds like he's saying, "Well, I could pay you now... or you can have a percentage later." He's not actually offering you producing responsibilities, is he? That doesn't make any sense. All I can think is that he's trying to sell you on some sort of deferred compensation, in which case it goes without saying, but you want a lawyer to review anything before you sign.
hey Bunker—
thank you for your advice. it is a complex story that does require careful thought as to not confuse. it has few elements that need to be explained in order to really understand the depth of the psychological thriller. it truly is “Silence of the Lambs” meets “Minority Report.”

i don’t believe he was trying to defer payment at all— and i believe in my excitement i was unclear. he was asking what level of involvement i wanted or expected. he said, “ tell me what your intension are for it, did you write this to direct it yourself? do you want to be a producer on it or did you write it to just to sell it outright and be done with it? imean, i liked him and his energy and excitement about the material a lot.

he seems straight forward.

i told him, “i’m sure you can tell by my writing style that it’s written with an eye on directing, i would love to direct it, but I haven’t even directed a short at this point and have no experience. i want to do what it takes to make the best possible film.”

he said good and asked if i had a synopsis written and i said no but could get it to him in a couple of days. he said he wanted to get it to some of his financiers before asking them to read the entire spec. I asked him what he wanted included in the synopsis and he said to cover the story and explain the characters and their motivations and what they want. he specifically said not to reveal the twist ending.

this spec has a couple of strong a-list actor roles. and will easily attract actors looking for material to challenge their skills. two main characters and two supporting characters. it’s cutting-edge (his words) and has some unique visual story telling aspects that should attract a director who might want to make a name for themselves with a standout piece. it has an action packed plot that does not relent until the end. it has a high budget, north of $40 mil.

a challenge to synopsis for sure. ugh.

i was working with a lawyer at Stone Genow Smelkinson Binder and Christopher, i don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t help me on a new contract. unless they were just doing me a favor for my old manager? have some contract negotiation experience as well, so i’m pretty good with the language of them.

the first option i received took a month to negotiate only to end with parties unable to come to agreeable terms. i declined to rewrite for free. it’s too valuable an IP to give away simply because i’m unknown. it’s a great sample, too.

i’m on my iPhone— screen is so f’ing small, so forgive any typos.
thanks for your great advice, i’m grateful for the help.
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Last edited by finalact4 : 07-27-2019 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:03 AM   #24
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

I should add, I get why he wants a synopsis. Because he wants to pitch your script but he's afraid that they won't take the time to read the spec. Isn't that annoying? They first need to read a 2 page summary? They can't hear the logline and the producer's passion, then say "Send us the spec."

I'm just saying, whenever possible, push to get them to read the source material. I hate it when they go out of their way to avoid just getting to the damn thing we use.

We aren't going to improv this **** and use the outline to make the movie. So if you're asking me for money, just send me the damn script.

Last edited by Bono : 07-27-2019 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:44 AM   #25
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

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I should add, a get why he wants a synopsis. Because he wants to pitch your script but he's afraid that they won't take the time to read the spec. Isn't that annoying? They first need to read a 2 page summary? They can't hear the logline and the producer's passion, then say "Send us the spec."

I'm just saying, whenever possible, push to get them to read the source material. I hate it when they go out of their way to avoid just getting to the damn thing we use.

We aren't going to improv this **** and use the outline to make the movie. So if you're asking me for money, just send me the damn script.
these are people he works with, so i'm thinking they have a process and perhaps he's following it. they're his contacts. i don't want to make any assumptions and pretty easy going until there's a contract. i'm fine with sending him the synopsis.

i'm not sure that all "money" people are industry people, either. thanks for the comments. will keep all this in mind.

we'll see.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:11 AM   #26
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

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Originally Posted by Done Deal Pro View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by catcon May not be of much help to you, but my writing follows this pattern:

- outline (40 pages or more)
- synopsis (3-4 pages; mine are long, which is just my style)
- screenplay (105 pages)
I just noticed this. Though normally I would just let it go, I'm going to have to note something. No one on this planet should be writing a 40 page or more outline. No one. Some treatments can be long or longer in nature, of course...
Synopses, outlines, treatments, scriptments...

The 'outline' I'm referring to is my script-organizing document. It is private and has never gone out to anyone. So maybe the terminology is causing a problem, but I'd never even try to write the darn script without at least a 40-page preparatory outline beforehand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
I should add, a get why he wants a synopsis. Because he wants to pitch your script but he's afraid that they won't take the time to read the spec. Isn't that annoying? They first need to read a 2 page summary? They can't hear the logline and the producer's passion, then say "Send us the spec."...
And now 'summary', too?

Of course our goal is to get the full script read. For me, it's:

1. Accept Logline/query:

2. Accept Synopsis:

3. Accept Script:
4. Pass on script, but request another, or "look forward to more queries" in future:
5. Deal on script:

(This is my natural order for contacts with producers; for contests you usually don't even have to do 2, and sometimes 1 is merely an afterthought, and I have no clue what potential reps want.)

The thing is, we're at the requester's mercy, so we take what we can get.

But to me, a synopsis is the logical next step in the process (1-sentence log, 1-page query, 2-3 page synopsis) in getting the recipient to take the 100-page script. That's why I always have a synopsis at-the-ready, in case they ask. There have also been times when I've read my synopsis, and realized a small problem that had to be corrected in the screenplay! So it serves as another critical filter for the whole writing process!

So, when someone asks for the script, directly from the query or any other source (InkTip, VPF, LinkedIn, etc.), I always send the synopsis along with it. Why? Because it's something sort-of substantial that helps them pitch to financiers or co-pros, without having to do their own synopsis from the script. I'm pretty sure everyone who's ever received my synopses has appreciated them.

Oh, as well, for some of my more allegorical scripts, I put in the actual "what the hell just happened here" notes right in the synopsis. For one, I have an note at the end about the 4-5 possible interpretations of the ambiguous finale (even though there's one that's most likely).

This brings up another point: I've read and been told not to hide anything in the synopsis (reveals, trick endings, etc.).

In the end, I wouldn't sweat the task of writing a synopsis. For me, and most everyone else I've encountered in my journey, it's just another way to sell yourself and your material!

G'luck!
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:16 AM   #27
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
...i'm not sure that all "money" people are industry people, either...
Geez no. Films are big write-offs and money-makers, especially when, more and more, you throw in all the grant handouts that producers are experts at extracting from governments at state/provincial and federal levels. Tie it all together, and lots of financiers, who haven't a clue about movies, are attracted to the "Hollywood accounting" that we're all familiar with, in which they get their return before anybody else. Throw in the fact they or their little incorporated entity gets an on-screen credit, and it's absolutely true that there's lots of money around, in large and small amounts, in the forms of bonds and equity shares and all that crap. The era when the only way to get movies made was by Studio participation is as outdated as stop-motion animation dinosaurs.
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Old 07-27-2019, 01:22 PM   #28
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

If someone request your spec, send ONLY your spec. never send more. it just gives them reasons to pass. trust me if you send them the spec and the synopsis, if they read either after that move as it's screams this person doesn't know what they're doing, they'll probably choose the synopsis which will never read as well as your spec. Hopefully that is. You want your script to be the thing.

I write comedies mostly. it's hard enough on the page to make it funny for readers, but in prose land? It dies on the page a lot of the times w/o dialogue. You action/thriller writers are very very lucky.

A synopsis is a summary. I assume most of you know that.

Yes anyone with money can make a movie. Your dentist can be a financier. Your rich uncle. Your drug dealer.

I think I just read something about explaining the 4-5 endings to your script? What is that? Let the audience interrupt your story and it can be ambiguous, but pick an ending.

Outlines -- everyone is different. John August says he doesn't like them and Craig Mazin does.. and if you listen to the podcast that seems like it should be the exact opposite.

Outline for myself are usually just the scenes written out.

- Bob wakes up
- Bob goes to work
- Bob dies at work
- Bob realizes he's a ghost

You can do whatever you want for yourself. But if other people are reading it, you have to think about them. There are so many hard to read posts on this board and we are all writers -- all trying to help even if we bust balls sometimes. But if you can't write clear thoughts on here, that tells me your scripts will be just as messy.

So if you're sending a 2 page synopsis to a producer, write it so well that you wouldn't be upset if everyone in Hollywood read it. Write it like it is the script you wrote. Put passion in it. Don't do it like homework you hate. Do it like you are so excited to tell the story. Sell sell sell.
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:16 PM   #29
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

can i just say 3 words...

not ****ing easy.

first draft, 7 pages. **** me.

work out then edit the **** out of it.

i'm thinking one sentence for each paragraph. ugh
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:43 PM   #30
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Default Re: Synopsis -- Producer to Financiers

That makes more sense, regarding the question about being a producer.

As for the synopsis length, see if there are any subplots or extraneous characters you can cut. Try keeping things as narrowly focused on your protagonist's journey as possible. There's a whole lot of nuance in a script that just won't make it into a two page summary. Good luck!
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