Log lines aren't quite as hard. I've done a few versions now, and I think I might be getting the hang of it. Keep it short (1-2 lines), simple, to the point, and leaving them hanging on something they need to know the answer to.
Synopsis are not so easy to grasp. I found some great tips on Inktip.com's site. Here was what they said on one particular synopsis that worked...
1) There is always an interest in a script that can result in many more films, based upon the same premise and characters with a different situation (franchise potential - like the Bond, Mission Impossible, Die Hard, Superman movies, etc).
2) It told the basic idea of the story in a page or less. (The industry standard for a synopsis is usually one page.)
3) Even an idiot could read it and know what the story was about.
4) The development person or producer could easily pitch the story to others (such as: an American James Bond).
5) It did not contain specific details which would factually require further explanation, causing the synopsis to be longer than it should be. Nor did it leave the reader wondering what the writer meant by a particular paragraph or sentence.
6) It did not unnecessarily complicate the explanation of the story by including every important character or detail in the script.
Keep it simple stupid. The KISS principle. BUT... make it intriguing, emotional, commercial, and have that "I gotta read this" quality about it.
Treatments have whole books written on them. I've started reading up on it, but as well, I've signed up for an online course with the Writer's University, which I found through The Writer's Store on Writing the Screenplay Treatment.
It's just started, and so far, so good. There are a dozen or so of us "in" the class, and a mix from everywhere, doing everything. We got our first assignment...
Week One: Exercise 1Write a brief (1 page) description of the project you’ll be working on for this class. Describe the genre, plot and characters, and discuss the theme – what is this movie about? Write it as if you were telling a friend about your upcoming project – answer the question: “So, what are you writing next?”
I'm late already... I will submit mine at the last minute. Thank God NZ is a day ahead.
The idea is that we'll start with something really crap, and then end up with a brilliant, script-selling treatment. wicked. Bring it on!!
Any tips/thoughts are most welcome on this elusive and tricky writing art form.