Sell It, Don’t Tell It

You’re on the couch, at the end of some kind of quasi-soul crushing week that has left you in a state of agitation. You pick up the remote and fire up your favorite app. Destination: Complete and Utter Escape. You’re seeking a cheesy rom-com guilty-pleasure (that you would never admit to having watched) — and you need it STAT!

You browse the rows upon rows of tantalizing movie posters, expanding those that show promise (or that you haven’t already watched). Your eyes stop at the attractive couple on the artwork for a new indie film called The Love Errand. Okay, you think…and you pause to skim the text that will guide your journey’s next step.

And you read: “Gina, a secretary who is also a single mom, is angry when her boss, David, asks her to run an errand that takes her to a sketchy part of town when she is supposed to be at her son’s school but ends up finding love with a shopkeeper at a bookstore.”

…and you return to the main menu with a shudder.

Womp-womp…wilted romance-like.

The above (entirely fictitious) example meets the “250 characters-including-spaces” long synopsis limit. And that is the only thing it is doing right. But stay tuned, rom-com fan and savvy marketer…help is on the way:

An effective synopsis that fits within common character-count restrictions is the goal…and fortunately, with a sense of imagination, a thorough knowledge of the content, and thesaurus.com, there are a few basic rules to go from ‘meh’ to “yeah!”

  1. Don’t include character names. No one cares about fictitious characters and they eat up valuable story-telling space. (Exception: your documentary. For sure include the name of a notable subject!)
  2. Sell It – Don’t Tell It! (As they say in the biz) You want to intrigue the audience so that they feel that little spark of “wonder what happens next” and dive into the super amazing trailer you created.
  3. Be judicious with adjectives. Don’t overdo it, quantity-wise — and use words that will appeal to the genre’s target audience. Again, the ‘synonyms’ function in Microsoft Word is your friend…you can whittle away quite a bit of character count by choosing wisely here.

Easy-peasy!

Now, let’s rewind…to that moment when The Love Errand was still under consideration. You click and read:

“A single mom, working for a top publisher, finds herself in a race against time‚Ķwith a daunting list of errands for her demanding boss. Sparks fly when her tasks put her on a collision course with a handsome bookseller with a To-Do list of his own.”

We both know what happens next…

Enjoy your movie! (Your secret’s safe with us.)

For more exciting tips like this, drop us a line…we’ve got a million of ’em. studios@ds.aent.com!

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