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A Few Excerpts from the Screenwriter’s Dictionary

May 28, 2009

casablanca

If you’ve written a screenplay or a television pilot, sooner or later you’re going to have to pitch it somewhere.  Unlike manuscripts, there are no hard and fast rules about where and to whom you submit your queries, but there are a number of terms you need to familiarize yourself with.

Generally speaking a query for a screenplay contains a logline, sometimes a synopsis, and very little else. Spend your time and energy toward getting the logline right because most of the time, that’s your one and only chance. 

Logline (n.) – a one-to-two sentence description of your story, carefully crafted to hook a person into reading your screenplay.  Should be short, but descriptive and specific. See also: pitch.

GOOD EXAMPLE: An ex-pat American in Morocco finds himself unable to keep World War II at bay when a former lover and her resistance leader husband come to his cafe seeking help in getting out of the country.

BAD EXAMPLE: A  World War II drama about a man and the ex-lover who dumped him in Paris.

BAD EXAMPLE: In the 1940s a man named Rick owns a bar in Casablanca, and keeps to himself. He runs into Ilsa Lund, a woman he fell in love with in Paris, only now she’s married to a rebel fighter from Czechoslovakia who needs to get to America to keep fighting the Nazis, and Rick has the letters of transit they need to flee the country hidden in a piano.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

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