- Remember your TWO audiences - the Presenter you want to choose your show and the people you want to come see your show. The synopsis should help the Presenter understand what your show is about, how they would market it and who it is for.
- Jump right into the story or concept - long preambles about you and your process of creation may be interesting background reading, but it isn't going to grab the attention of the reader instantly.
- Don't use jargon or industry terminology - it can put your audience off and make them think its too 'thinky' and not for them.
- Know the key point of difference and appeal for your show and really focus on it. Don't write a shopping list. Spontaneous audience feedback is a goldmine of insight, be sure to use it.
- Hold something back. Resist the urge to blurt out every element of the performance. We love a surprise.
Many thanks to Craig Wood from One of a Pair for volunteering his [Disordered] Action of the Heart synopsis for a makeover. There is no one right answer nor the perfect synopsis, but here's my suggestion on how it could work harder for the show:
Before: Damaged by war and haunted by home Private Dylan Moxley left more than his heart on the pier at Pinkenba. As he attempts to comes to terms with the loss of his best mate in the No.2 Australian General Hospital in Cairo under the care of Sister Nellie Morrice. She bravely guides Dylan through a series of experimental cures for shell shock hoping to alleviate the horrors of 'Snipers Ridge' and taking his first Turk, only to be hindered in her duty by constant reminders of home.
Layered throughout with verbatim text and Queensland history [Disordered] Action of the Heart is foray into the mind and suffering of our soldiers and nurses during WW1. Experimenting with non-linear structure, elements of the surreal and live harmonica One of a Pair bring you the story of many men and women, told through two with themes as appropriate now as they were a hundred years ago.
After: Damaged by war and haunted by home Private Dylan Moxley's life changed forever the moment he steps from the Pinkenba wharf. Under the care of Sister Nellie Morrice, he attempts to come to terms with the loss of his best mate in the No.2 Australian General Hospital in Cairo. Nellie bravely guides Dylan through a series of experimental cures for shell shock hoping to alleviate the horrors of 'Snipers Ridge' and taking his first Turk, only to be hindered in her duties by constant reminders of home.
[Disordered] Action of the Heart is a touching foray into the minds and personal struggles of our soldiers and nurses during WW1. One of a Pair brings to life an unforgettable story; a tale of two that tells the tale of many. Told through real letters, music and moments of surrealism, its resonance is unchanged by the passage of time. These moving themes of return, consequence and loss are as relevant to today's returning servicemen and women, as they were a hundred years ago.