One-Sheet for Feature Film Scripts

By request.  This one’s for you, Shaun!

When you pitch a feature script, just as with your television projects, you need to have a one-sheet to leave with execs.  I briefly touched on it in an article from the Creative Screenwriting Expo (click for full article)     I have a more detailed description below, so scroll down to check it out!

Here’s the one-sheet info as provided by Danny Manus at the Expo:

One Sheet:

  • Name, email, contact info.
    • Mucho importante.  They need to get in touch with you.
  • Bio.
    • Keep it short
  • Title, genre, logline, 1-2 paragraphs on your story
    • Yes! Make sure it’s tight!
  • Loglines for other projects
    • I disagree.  I think it’s best to leave one project per page.  If you’re pitching one company and you have five projects, how are you to know which other projects suit them?  You don’t have time at a pitchfest to tailor your one-sheets to each company.  Keep it simple.
  • Make it visual – paper stock, font, images, poster
    • I disagree.  Several other people have said this is gimmicky.  If your story stands out, you won’t need all this fancy stuff for them to remember you.
  • No typos
    • Duh.

Final word – Don’t follow up with them unless they ask you to!  They will contact you in 3 weeks if they are interested.

Here’s my take on the feature film one-sheet:

There is no single way to write a one-sheet.  Its purpose is to sell your project, so whatever accomplishes that in the simplest, most impactful and memorable way is for you to decide.  Some people use visuals, I prefer simple text with a lot of white space.  If you use visuals, make sure they are professional.

Title – make it bold and big.

Like the TV one-sheet, I identify Title, Product (feature and running time), Audience, Genre, Writer, Contact, WGA# all at the top.  It makes it easy for execs to identify what it’s about without having to read your synopsis again.

LOGLINE

I normally put a tagline after the logline, but it’s not necessary.

The body of the pitch document is your synopsis.  Make it creative, captivating, punchy and make sure it sells your story!  You want to tease your reader into wanting to know more so they ask for your script.  Tell them as much as you need to for the story to make sense then hint at the ending.  When you pitch live and the exec asks you for the ending, TELL THEM!  Do not hold anything back expecting them to read it because they won’t.

Make sure your synopsis identifies what is truly unique about your story.  Also, if it’s based on a true story, make sure they know you have the rights to that story.  If there’s a special action scene or visual effects that’s never been seen before on screen you might want to include a description or hint at it.  I tend to steer clear of cliche phrases like “hilarity ensues” because it’s vague and means nothing.  Tell the story, don’t get side-tracked into subplots and unnecessary details.  If your script is a comedy, make them laugh, if it’s a horror, scare them.  Inject some emotion, blow them away.  It’s like writing for a book jacket.

The final paragraph I summarize the essence of the project, address the theme of the story and compare it to another similar hit film.  Never compare it to a flop.  Something like: ‘In the vein of ‘Toy Story”, “Garbage Men” is a lighthearted revenge story in a world where the only disposable item is friendship.

Like I said, there’s no one way to do this and it can be harder to write than your script.  Sit on it for a while, have people proofread it but also ask them to read your script to be sure what you have on the page matches what’s in the script.  Don’t send it out before it’s ready.

Good luck!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.  I know what a nightmare this can be.