Views From Your Muse

Your One-Sheet
and 7 Script-Selling Tools

by Dave Trottier

While at Expo6 last October, more than one writer asked me about "one-sheets." More and more, agents and producers are asking writers for a one-sheet after hearing an intriguing pitch.

A one-sheet is different things to different people, but for most agents and producers, it is a written pitch on one piece of paper. It is sometimes defined as a "title, premise, and synopsis." It can be formatted in a variety of ways; there are no hard-fast rules. You can use your own letterhead or a blank page; in the latter case, make sure your contact information is on the one-sheet.

In a way, a one-sheet is similar to a query. If you have crafted a great logline or premise ("what if" question) or hook, then lead with that, followed by a wonderfully written summary of your core story. Be careful not to jam so much information into the one-sheet that it looks unattractive to read or too complex to comprehend.

In the movie distribution business, a one-sheet usually refers to the movie poster. The movie poster is designed to sell the movie. A writer's one-sheet is designed to sell the story idea and entice the reader to ask for the screenplay.

A one-sheet is one of the seven selling tools that you may wish to develop as part of an overall marketing campaign for your script. Here are those seven tools.

1. A showcase script.

2. A provocative pitch hook and compelling story summary that can be used in any oral or written pitch (such as a query letter or one-sheet).

3. An awesome oral pitch.

4. A captivating query letter.

5. A scintillating one-sheet.

6. A tantalizing treatment, usually about 3-8 pages. Occasionally, an agent or producer may ask for this prior to asking for the script.

7. A convincing telephone script if you use the phone to make contacts or to follow-up.

To the magnificent seven selling tools listed, let's add an eighth - a positive, professional, and enthusiastic attitude driven by your passion.