write a synopsis, The first step to make a good film

écrire un synopsis, La première étape pour faire un bon film

Write a Synopsis

How to do it ?

The Synopsis...write a synopsis, here we are in the heart of the matter my friends. You have managed to synthesize your idea/ story into 2 or 3 sentences. This means that you have set already your subject as well as one or two characters and its problems.

Take the example of Peter and Mary in the previous article. If you write a short film, the 3 sentences you have written are sufficient to take the place of a synopsis.

If you write for television or the cinema, you will have to do a little more. That the things are clear, what you write now can be changed at any time. Few writers or filmmakers are able to’write their movie deals. This is not a lot of change, provided that this does not change the whole story and especially the structure. What we are about to do is a sort of monster that we’re going to embellish it day after day.

So, if your synopsis is not perfect, it is not serious. You will be able to improve it progressively. Write a synopsis or a screenplay, it is always a challenge.

Some of you are already at the’top step or have simply ignored this step, wanting at all costs begin by the continuity of dialogue (the screenplay with the dialogues). The advantage of this is that one has the impression to move forward and see what it looks like. We say, with a good layout, that we already have a scenario. I do not throw stones, because I just made this mistake myself too.

But very quickly the returns of the first readings risks to be

  • why a such-and-such did this or that
  • I don’t understand what you mean
  • or even, the end is strange

As I’ve lived, I know that the first thing you think is : they don’t understand, yet it is clear. They are jealous, and the list goes on…

And if they were right. We want to go fast to make his film, this is not a bad thing, but that doesn’t mean rushing.

Let us return to our sheep. What is the difference between the 2 or 3 sentences of the previous article, this is called a pitch, and a synopsis worthy of the name. A scenario is like a human being, without a combination of exactly, this is not the scenario. It takes him a skeleton, organs. Let’s say that the synopsis is the brain of your scenario. He is going to order the rest of the body to develop. As the synopsis tells the plot of your film in contrast to the treatment that goes into more depth in the story and tells how the plot, the quest, and your characters evolve. The treatment is a bit of a summary of almost all the scenes of your story, as the synopsis explains the idea more general.

So we’ll have to write your story in the outline. Caution : do not lose yourself in details for the moment without importance. This is a short summary! So, you should sketch your characters (main and secondary) and their developments, to tell us what their happens simply. And especially how it all ends.

In this way, you will know how to begin your story, what’s happening there, that is to say, the trials, the adventures that your characters live in and, especially, how to end their quest. To go to the most simple : a beginning, a middle and an end.

ATTENTION : Your hero must have thatone quest, that’a main objective.

Let me explain. Let’s take an example that everyone knows : Indiana Jones. In raiders of the ark lost / raiders of the lost ark. Indiana to recover the ark of the covenant. All the rest only contains the tests that he must pass in order to find the ark. These are not other quests, these are just means to get there.

Your synopsis is going to do between 3 and 5 pages (this can be more, if you have your film in mind, but no less). It will be written in the present tense. Character 12, in times new roman.

You will begin by describing the ordinary world in which your heroes live. If it is a welder or banker describe his life.

And then show the problem to be solved : he has been made redundant. Or an atomic bomb has exploded.

Introduce the enemies, the companions of the road. Tell the various trials he goes through. The tests that your hero’s face should be more and more strong. For the last test to be outstanding ( cf : star wars : the last test of Luke’s battle against Vader ). And especially what goal should it achieve.

Your hero must have an evolution. Ask yourself the question : what is the adventure that he lives transforms him. (This is the theme of your film).

Then find an end. That is what your hero has learned ? (On him, on the world)

You are ? It is fact ?! Then bravo !

Now you know :

  • Your hero / your hero
  • His goal / his quest
  • What are the obstacles that he has to go / what he needs to fight to get there
  • You know the allies of your hero
  • And the end : if he succeeds or not

Now you know how to write a synopsis, it remains for you to apply the tips from this article. I always try to be as clear as possible in my explanations but if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a little message.

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Good Luck,


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