A movie tagline is a one-sentence screenplay summary, which is often requested within the agent’s film submission package. The film agent can decide at a glance whether to read the screenplay in its entirety and if they are able to sell the screenplay to film producers.
Pitching a Movie in a One Sentence Summary
Completing a screenplay is one thing, but summing it up in one sentence is a mean feat. When one considers that an average ninety-minute film contains lots of action, dialogue, several characters, climaxes and plot twists, this challenge can seem impossible. However, this is what many writers have had to do to promote their project. It also comes in useful for when someone asks what the screenplay is about.
What is a Tagline?
Summing up a screenplay in 25 words or less provides a stepping-stone for producers in conceiving a tagline when they promote the film. A tagline is a little different to the one liner, as it provides a catchy phrase and a teaser for a potential audience. Taglines are often seen on movie posters. A famous example is from the 1979 film Alien directed by Ridley Scott, where the tagline goes: "In space, no one can hear you scream."
How to Sum Up a Screenplay in One Line
However, when looking for a way to sum up a screenplay for agents and producers, the following items and pieces of information might make it easier on the writer:
Selling a Movie to Film Agents and Producers
The following pointers might provide a starting point for the writer.
The final one liner might read like this:
"A bank heist is hampered when the ringleader learns that one of the hostages is his long-lost son."
A Film Summary to Promote the Screenplay
Using a punchy one liner to summarise a screenplay is a useful device for pitching a screenplay to film agents. It also provides a stepping-stone to conceiving a tagline if it ever becomes a move. The thesaurus is an invaluable tool for seeking out relevant nouns and active verbs to make the one liner memorable.