Creating A One Sheet for Development

One SheetOne of the most common tools used by a producer looking for investors and a creative team to produce his story as a movie is a “One Sheet.” This is not to be confused with the poster, which is also called a one sheet. This tool not only helps in pitch sessions, but it also works as a great leave-behind.

Example One Sheet – The King’s Speech

One sheets include:

1. The Title: The movie’s title is centered at the top of the page and is in bold type. It uses the same type  (Times Roman or Arial 12 pts.) as the entire sheet.

2. Contact Info: Directly under the title is the producer’s name. Directly under his or her name is the phone number and email address. Both lines are centered.

3. Logline: The logline is one sentence that represents the essence of the story. The Hunger Games logline might have been something like: When a young woman’s sister is chosen randomly to be placed in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death, she volunteers to go in her stead.

The logline reveals:

  1. The main character.
  2. His or her flaw.
  3. The obstacle he or she has to overcome.
  4. What’s at stake.

If possible, the logline should also reveal the irony of the story.

4. Story Synopsis: The synopsis is broken into four paragraphs representing content from Act 1, Act 2A, Act 2B, and Act 3. The content is broken down into the following paragraphs of information:

Paragraph One: This represents the background of the story and all of the key set ups. Anything put into this paragraph must be paid off by the fourth paragraph. Since the One Sheet is limited to one page, it’s important that the focus stay on the action plotline only.

The first paragraph should answer the following questions:

    • What is the world like?
    • Who is the main character?
    • What does he or she want and why?
    • What is his or her obstacle?

Paragraph Two: The second paragraph needs to address the following:

    • The steps the main character takes to achieve his or her goal.
    • The complications that make his or her goal difficult to obtain.
    • A focus on his or her objective and whether or not he or she is getting closer or farther from obtaining it.

Paragraph Three: The third paragraph needs to raise the stakes and put the main character at a point of no return. The idea is to make sure the main character can’t turn back and is forced to move forward because of the bigger stakes he or she faces.

Paragraph Four: The fourth paragraph is all about the pay-offs. Anything that is set up in earlier paragraphs must be paid off at the end. The paragraph also includes the climax and any lesson the theme of the story might bring out in the main character.

Some suggest the ending should never be given, but that is only true in movies without answers, thrillers and horror films. All other types of movies require the reader to comprehend the importance of the ending.

Copyright © 2013 by CJ Powers





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