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Questions. About Logline and Synopsis

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  • Questions. About Logline and Synopsis

    I have not written a script before but I have an idea for one I really want to write. I was wondering if someone could give me some advice about how long a logline and a synopsis should be. How much of the plot do I want to give away in the logline and the synopsis? Also while we're on the subject. What exactly is a treatment?

  • #2
    A logline is typically a sentence long, and just kind of gives a quick summary. A synopsis is usually about a page long, and goes over the major points of the story.


    • #3
      To expand a tad on NHummel's reply...

      A log line should be as concise as possible (as NHummel says, one or two sentences, max). It is basically your pitch. It conveys the big idea of the script and is your #1 sales tool. It is the hand that grabs the reader by the throat and screams, "Watch my movie!" Don't underestimate its importance.

      A synopsis is also a sales tool. There are varying schools of thought on how much plot to give away in a synopsis. My feeling is that, like the log line, you should only divulge as much info as is necessary to interest the reader in your script/movie. For example, I try not to give away the major plot twists or the ending. Check out synopses on IMDb for some examples.

      A treatment is the full script in prose format. You're telling the story without dialogue, basically, and without the screenplay structure. It can be a beneficial tool for writers who are more comfortable hammering out a story using prose format, but is not required. I prefer outlines to treatments, but that's just me. Do whatever works best for you.
      2001 Productions Web Site


      • #4
        Thank you guys for the responses. I started by writing an outline of what I wanted to happen in the script so I believe I will skip the treatment route. Thank you guys for the help on what a log line is and a synopsis. I had a general idea but I really was unsure on how much information I should release in them about the film. Also I hope this thread will help others with similar questions.


        • #5
          My understanding of a logline is that it's a short teaser sentence or two that sets up the story to a reader, but doesn't tell the whole story...kind of like a written trailer.

          For my Batman animated script, for instance, the logline was:

          All indicators suggest a gang war is brewing in the City of Gotham. The truth, however,
          is a more personal tragedy. It's up to the Dark Knight to find out what's really going on ––
          and to stop it –– if he can.

          Anyone interested in writing who wants a copy of this script to study the format or storytelling, feel free to contact me directly, and I'll send it over.


          The logline is intended to get a reader excited about the story by laying out what's at stake, propose a mystery, etc......but without telling the whole story or how it ends.

          This was on the front title page of the script as is the custom.

          A synopsis would be a beat-by-beat telling of the story from opening scene to final scene. A half-hour script synopsis might be a page or two.

          My understanding of a treatment is the synopsis fleshed out more in dramatic terms, adding details. This would be about 10 pages or so for a half-hour script.

          Final script would be about 22-25 pages for a half-hour script [TV, that is]. A page is equal to a minute.

          Kurt Hathaway
          VikingDream7 Productions
          Video Production & Editing