Getting my play produced, #8: a shorter synopsis

Creating a logline

A playwright friend of mine who read my synopsis sent me a checklist for making a shorter, “teaser” synopsis. It goes like this:

CHECKLIST FOR YOUR LOGLINE

  •  Reveal the star’s SITUATION
  •  Reveal the important COMPLICATIONS
  •  Describe the ACTION the star takes
  •  Describe the star’s CRISIS decision
  •  Hint at the CLIMAX – the danger, the ‘showdown’
  •  Hint at the star’s potential TRANSFORMATION
  •  Identify SIZZLE: sex, greed, humor, danger, thrills, satisfaction
  •  Identify GENRE
  •  Keep it to three sentences
  •  Use present tense

Creating a logline for “Lessons from Moonshine”

The main character is Sister Joseph.

Situation: she has lost her inner peace; she can’t keep the convent in business.

Complications: rural economic slump after World War I; a plain, ugly chapel; the youngest Sister has the winning plan, not she herself.

Action: she takes over operations of the still, and makes it her project; she makes ambitious plans for the money.

Crisis decision: to push the still beyond what it can produce.

Climax (a hint at): a disastrous accident with the still.

Transformation (a hint at): she admits she has lost her inner peace; she understands that a beautiful church will not bring it back.

Sizzle: breaking the law; greed for wealth, contrary to her vows.

Genre: drama/comedy.

Short synopsis #1

During Prohibition, a lonely nun who has lost her faith tries desperately to keep in business the convent she belongs to. When the youngest nun has the winning suggestion – to run a still – she ignores the danger of breaking the law, and takes over the project and causes a disastrous accident. Lying in her hospital bed, she finally confesses the desperate need that drove her to break her vow of poverty.

Short synopsis #2

During Prohibition, a nun lives a lonely and spiritually dead life, trying desperately to keep the convent she’s a member of from going bankrupt. When the youngest nun has the winning suggestion – break the law and run a still – she takes over the project and pushes the still past its capacity. A disastrous accident puts her in the hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she finally confesses the desperate need that drove her to break her vows to God.

What do you think?

If you were the artistic director of a theater, would this synopsis make you more interested in the play?

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About playwrightsmuse

Get produced, get published, let your brilliance shine! Follow along as we go through a step-by-step process for getting plays produced with the least amount of heartbreak and wasted postage and printing costs.
This entry was posted in Getting my play produced -- "Lessons from Moonshine", How to find Theaters who will Love your Plays, How to write a Synopsis. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Getting my play produced, #8: a shorter synopsis

  1. rangeryee says:

    I found your logline useful. I had to write a play synopsis and it really helped to focus my thinking!

  2. andybayiates says:

    You just helped me write the first good synopsis of my career. THANK YOU for sharing this.

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