The note of intent : guidance and examples to present your film

Small practice guide to the statement of intent, this document is crucial for all writers.

Often, the scenarios are sent to the producers are not read. It is a great pity, but it is unfortunately the truth. In any case, this is not what is read in first. In order for a producer to take the time to read your scenario among the many that he receives, he must convince him with your synopsis, but especially with your statement of intent.

What is a notice of intent ?

The note of intent is the document indispensable and of paramount importance, it is often perceived as a chore by the writers in the grass – wrongly of course – that must make you want to and you open the doors. It’s going to be a sesame. It is therefore very important to heal the most possible. But more concretely, it corresponds to what the notice of intent ?

It is a short writing – not less than one page, no more than two in general – in which you’re going to sell your film. Why you want to do, how you intend to make it visually, the characters, the themes, laying the foundations of his universe if need be… All this must be in the notice of intent. It is also to defend the interest of its history as well as its originality and the impact that it can have.

Write a note of intent is not an easy exercise. This requires both knowing how to take a step back from what we could write to explain it better, but at the same time it is a very personal document, in which the author unfolds. This is the part the more personal of a project – which in part explains the difficulty that some to bend to the exercise. Much more than to write a script for a short film !

Thus, there is no typical plan to follow it to the letter, but let everyone give you a few writing tips for you get out the better, as well as what you should absolutely avoid. First of all, know that it is essential to remain sincere and simple in a note of intent.

How to write a note of intent ?

  • So quick and brief, present the situation of the start of your story. This is not a synopsis, but should quickly summarize the plot of your film.
  • Then, it is necessary to tell why your movie must be produced, why it is him that we will choose one rather than another. It will be necessary to present the strengths of your scenario : is there a social theme important, originality is important, are you personally involved in this story… This is obviously not the easiest part.
  • Then, the aim is to involve the reader – and therefore the producer into your story. It must explain why your theme is unifying, why is it that it’s going to work. It is good to rely on concrete examples, and talk about feeling. It is necessary to try to give a universality to her story.
  • Now you need to introduce your characters and the relationships they have with each other. However, do not go to explain what you need to understand the scenario. In reading, we must be able to understand it, is that if it is poorly written.
  • For a small part, it may be good to talk about your influences, make comparisons, and explain the pleasure taken in the writing of this scenario.
  • If you are going to also realize your story, talk about the realization that you want to make, write a short note of intention, visual, meaning to go into too many details either. The purpose is not to present a cutting technique !
  • Finally, you conclude it all in few lines.

Of course, it is only trails to be followed, what should be included in a notice of intent. Retain that before you be describable, it should be explanatory and the answer to ” why “, then ” how “. Introduce your personality is still what is best for the success of your note.

The mistakes to avoid

For a note of intent to be successful, it must also take into account some very important points that are absolutely to banish, under penalty of being disqualified from the outset. The most important of them is to know how to show humble. This comes in several ways. Thus, it is unnecessary to denigrate the work of others to glorify the own. In the same spirit, compare himself to great writers like Aaron Sorkin or steven Spielberg is just hateful to everyone.

It’s also important not to be too obtuse about his scenario. Doing psychoanalysis of the counter or of the philosophy of the bottom floor is also strictly useless, you are not there for that. You are not there to tell your life, but to talk about the scenario.

Stop with the theory, let us now turn to concrete examples, with notes of intent short film then notes of intention-length film.

Example of notice of intent short film

Notice Of INTENT



I go out of the supermarket. The cold wind of the winter in quebec is freezing my face. I pass quickly near a car parked in the parking lot of the shopping center. Sitting in the car, a woman waits. The lost gaze, the sadness and melancholy are visible on his face. It attracts my attention. It does not move, motionless, trapped in his car. She is talking to herself. The engine is running, classical music is audible from outside the vehicle. She waits. She waits for something. The image of this woman in her car comes back to me in the head. Tirelessly. Later, on a cold day of February, a young teen disappears under the snow near me. It is not found. The search for the child last until spring. The population speaks only of this. The image of this woman, who waits in his car appears again.

Strangely, this time, I know what she expects. She wants to find her missing son. These two memories that I featured are my starting point. Gently, I let myself be tamed by this woman. His destiny and his goals are emerging. The character of Carole was born, and then comes that of Diane. Left to determine the contrast of emotions between the mother who has lost her son and the one who seeks him. This incredible force, almost animal emanating from the mothers when their child is in danger fascinates me. They are also able to lock for a very long time in their mourning and to remain fixed in the memory of their missing child. As if they did not have the right to their own existence, that they were going to die they also. I love movies who are interested in the fate of the woman going through the grieving process.

I think The Exchange of Eastwood, but also in their mourning, but the pain closer. No matter that their sons are in two opposing camps. In The Hours White there is also a mirror game. Carole inflicts the worst of Diana, another mother. To avenge or not to be the only one who suffers ? And sink at two?… The voice of Carol, which tells of the research of Patrick, it is also the voice of Diane, it is the voice of all mothers. I wanted to at the end we had the feeling that Diane and Carol are one and the same person. Two women are discovered in a day, but at two different times of their lives. The time of the research and the time of mourning. The murderous act of Carol is ambivalent. Perhaps such a need to kill Patrick to feel live again. The anger and thirst for vengeance are the impulses of life are also very powerful. But once the murder committed, Carole is linked to new death.

Hours White it’s time that stops. What are these endless hours of expectations when a loved one disappears. These hours are atrocious, where time seems suspended, distended, and where the very notion of temporality no longer exists. Hours White it is also the life that freezes in the universe ice in quebec. Nature plays a vital role in this story. It is a character that is hostile, who is constantly putting man to the test. A Nature that hides of the dead under the snow. This even thick snow that makes access impassable, and which can confine people in their homes. I deeply love the Nature and great spaces in which I grew up, but I am convinced that they are holders of great violence. Nature releases the instincts of the man and returns to his solitude, to his actual size. We often forget the power of this nature and the smallness of man in front of her…

I think in The films The Pledge and Into the wild of Sean Penn, who speak precisely of this complexity. At the cinema I love when the voice-overs and flashbacks become a narrative device. I have in mind Boulevard of Twilight and Insurance on the Death, two films of Wilder, entirely built on flashbacks, voice-overs and playing with the temporality. First, it is this form that I wanted to address in my scenario, much more than the story it tells, also involved is it. I use a narrative voice that are known to be directly attached to the story but that is first unknown to the viewer ; a voice that gives a certain warmth in this cold universe. Then, slowly, we become more intimate with it. This voice leads us into his daily life and draws new images completely different from those that are presented on the screen. The picture and sound stand out a bit and evolve into two temporalities are different : the image keeps us in the present moment and then the sound of the voice brings us into a deep intimacy, in the head and in the secrets of the character. She tells a story, while overlapping to a present that echoes this.

Sitting in his taxi, Carole recalls his last moments with his son and then his death she never accepted, never understood, taking a large share of the responsibility. We follow the progression of emotional Carol, the way psychological which leads her to act as she does ; which leads him to kill Patrick. By presenting the scenes of the murder to Patrick, who located the day before, my objective is not to make a foot of nose to the viewer, when we discover that it’s Carol that tells the story and not Diane, but just playing with the points of view. I want to drag from one perspective to another as the story moves forward. As well, Carole goes from simple spectator, victim and executioner, and Diane is sometimes the heroine of the time, the victim and the executioner. The roles and the perception of the characters change. It becomes increasingly hard to judge. Slip the point of view, a change of moral outlook in the viewer.

Hours White is a story that only finds its meaning in the Quebec cold where I grew up ; in these small cities with low density, where the nature is queen. Transpose the scenario would have distorted the very identity of the project and we quickly agreed on the importance of locating the story there. But this “dough” north american is not only in the decor, one can feel it also in the characterization of the characters and the dialogues. A phrase, short, chopped, a syntax that is characteristic of Quebec. The question has arisen a time to translate or “translating” the dialogue of the voice-off, but then again it would have been at the expense of authenticity.

There has never been a question for me to realize The Hours White. First of all, because I feel that I am above all a writer and that in Canada it is a craft completely dissociated from the achievement.

Examples of statement of intent for feature film

The life that disarms

This film is meant to showcase the ability to create the human being. “Nothing is lost, everything is transformed “, can we read at the beginning of the film, or further the key phrase : “the union of differences is strength “. This is the central message of the film, through the staging of a creative state in turmoil that brings all these actors. Within the differences and conflicts, the experience of art, in its diversity, is accountable, and makes sound the option has to be set. This film is filled with nods to american cinema including West Side Story a remake of the famous scene of confrontation choreographed between the two clans. A way to echo some scenes of mythical, universal and timeless, cinema classic.

The presence of the stylist who transforms jean’s in new clothes, and dressed all actors, is one of the strands of this short film. Of the same fabric without borders, all the singularities appear. The garment allows you to say something of this creativity permanent. The dress, the style, it is the art of giving, in daily life, other behaviors, and a new flavor. American films have made jean’s a symbol of rebellion, existential and social ; today it has become the garment of all. Here, he brings together art and life and brings to life the specific colors of each.

The film is set up like one long clip, a great musical odyssey, where they meet different styles, a priori, very different. The life that disarms actually mingle with and overlap the artistic worlds of everyone (dancers, designers, visual artists, etc). Where do these different sound textures (rock, hip hop, tribal, traditional songs), woven to each other and which can resonate the union of differences. The sound creation from The life that disarms is only one music track, echoing the adventures rock of the 70’s, where fit also other styles according to the diversity of the artists present and the clamours of the crowd, representing the voices of all populations. The music, the vector of encounter of all peoples, brings together the songs of the world and gives here a dimension of the multiplicity of forms in motion.


Maxime, barely out of childhood, tries by all means to convince Melanie not to give up their child. Beyond a story that moves me, I felt the need to film the adolescence, in its beauty, its complexity. I wanted to show the fragility of these teens, their lightness, their recklessness, and their love above all else.

It is through the prism of Maxim that we follow this story. This is the trajectory of fatherhood that I chose here to film, because it is the one that inherently, as a father of two children, speaks to me the most.

Through these young teenagers, I’m looking to share an emotion, to feel things as they exist without the explain. Away from me, so the idea of making a film to claim or activist, just this urge to film characters, to follow them, cling to them…

I am not looking for originality but it is correct. The correctness of a point of view on this trajectory, male and a teenager. But also the correctness of the game in a film form realistic. I don’t give the script to my actors, we set off together in search of an authenticity of emotion. I don’t direct my actors, I accompany them. I try not to build characters within a frame, but reveal well beyond. Reveal a story from the life. This honesty of life so rare to capture.

“Keeper “, in Belgium and in many other English-speaking countries, means ” goalkeeper “. I found it interesting to compare Maxim to this post pretty ungrateful in terms of powerlessness echoes the non-power-of-Maxim face of the pregnancy of Melanie. “A keeper can’t win a game. He can only save it. “Starting from a situation of powerlessness, “Keeper” is, in the end, a film about the desire.

Ready to write your own note of intent now ? Please do not hesitate to re-read our dossier on the entry for the short film or to view examples of scenarios.

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