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Author Topic: Spec Logline Workshop, GITS Jan-Jun 2017  (Read 399 times)
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Pitchpatch
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« on: July 14, 2017, 06:00 AM »

Scott Myers at Go Into the Story posted his regular spec deals summary for January through June, 2017.  Let's take a look.  I'll cherry-pick the ones I think are terrific and the ones I think need work.  I won't review all 34, but I will slowly chip away at the list for a couple days, see how far we get.

Kicking off with...



Title: Slayer

Writer: Joel Dorland, @joeldorland

Logline: A simple fisherman who, when his wife is kidnapped and his village slaughtered, trains for 20 years to become the greatest warrior alive in order to wreak vengeance on the four demonic knights responsible.

-----

It's a crisp, black-and-white LL.  Overall, I love it.  It promises popcorn action from FADE IN to OUT.

There are things about the LL structure that make me itch.  "... who, when..., trains..." feels like unnecessarily convoluted grammar, ducking and weaving to get from A to B.  The passive "is kidnapped" warrants scrutiny -- always take a second look at passive language to make sure it's there for a purpose.  And "in order to" always gives me a sense of cold, mechanical efficiency.  The shorter "to" and "so" do a perfectly fine job without the sterility.

I wonder about the setting.  The only indicators are "demon knights" and the title itself.  These tilt toward fantasy, maybe folklore, or likely medieval.  The possibility of Modern-day ignites my imagination more than the other settings, being harder to pull off.  A sense of setting/period here could help the LL.

The story's not really about getting revenge on the demonic knights, right?  I mean, yes, that's what happens at the end, and that's what motivates the protag from start to finish, same as STAR WARS is all about blowing up the Death Star.  But this logline suggests the real story -- the journey, not the destination -- is all about the protag fighting worthy and increasingly challenging opponents across those 20 years of training.  That's what we'll see on screen for most of those 90+ minutes, I'm guessing.  The battle with the demonic knights will come in the final Act.  We probably won't see them much during the middle.

So, let's experiment with placing more focus on the journey rather than the destination...

Logline: A simple fisherman trains 20 years and fights 20 enemies to become the greatest warrior alive before seeking vengeance on the demonic knights who kidnapped his wife.

(Reduced by seven words)

That's what he'll be doing across the movie: fighting, fighting, and more fighting.  It's implied in the original LL, of course, but diluted, I think, because of "trains" with no mention of "fights."  Conceivably, he could train with little actual fighting, which could be a dull and tedious affair.

For me, the added detail of "trains 20 years, fights 20 opponents" brings structure and order to that long training period.  It gives the reader an expectation, a road map, something to muse over: these 20 enemies, presumably all unique and uniquely dangerous.  And the implied cadence of a fight capping each year of training: an annual test of worthiness before he can start training for the next unique confrontation.  That's pretty good scaffolding around this "hero undergoes extreme training for revenge" story.

I omitted "slaughtered village" for brevity and because it's secondary to the overshadowing and more personal "wife kidnapped" motivation.

I've not read Joel's screenplay.  My extrapolation could be muddy boots tracking across his pristine as-is story.  Nevertheless, if the movie is about the journey then I'd like to get a taste of that in the logline.

« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 01:05 PM by Pitchpatch » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 07:31 AM »



Title: Little America

Writer: Rowan Athale, @RowanAthale

Logline: In a dystopian future, a former American Force Recon member is hired by a Chinese billionaire to go into an American ghetto and rescue his daughter.

-----

This LL is okay.  Not awful, not good.  We've got period, protag, and goal.  No sense of opposition or stakes.  Passive "is hired" needs justification.  Before we attempt to fill in the gaps, let's strip the LL to its essentials...

Logline: In a dystopian future, a former U.S. SpecOps soldier infiltrates an American ghetto to rescue a Chinese billionaire's daughter.

Now we can think about introducing opposition, aka the Bad Guys.  "American ghetto."  Okay, that paints some broad beige strokes.  What color can we add?  Drug king is too easy.  How about...  

Logline: In a dystopian future, an ex-U.S. SpecOps soldier infiltrates an American ghetto to rescue a Chinese billionaire's daughter from a charismatic doomsday survivalist.

How about that: we add an antagonist and yet we save two words in LL length (26 to 24).  "Charismatic doomsday survivalist" hints that the daughter might be there of her own volition, under the spell of our charming, apocalyptic antagonist.  In the original LL we don't learn the circumstances that led to her situation.  Kidnapped for ransom?  I would guess so.  But rescuing her against her will creates a more interesting extraction.  Now the protag will be tangling with her as well as the ghetto thugs.  I've no clue who Rowan's on-the-page bad guy is, but including the antag in the logline really makes it pop by establishing clear lines of conflict, I reckon.

We could go a small step further and color our protag with a trait, to better help the reader feel the shape of the story.

Logline: In a dystopian future, a mute ex-U.S. SpecOps soldier infiltrates an American ghetto to rescue a Chinese billionaire's daughter from a charismatic doomsday survivalist.

Silent and inscrutable protag versus chatty and charismatic antag.  Not bad, not bad.  Not revolutionary, but it does seed the reader's imagination with story possibilities.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 08:30 AM by Pitchpatch » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2017, 03:07 AM »



Title: Unfit

Writer: Melissa London Hilfers, @melissahilfers

Logline: The shocking true story of Carrie Buck, a young Virginia woman who became a lightning rod for that movement and was forced to singlehandedly fight against it for the one thing she desperately wanted — to be a mother.

-----

Until now I've skipped the list's "true story" loglines.  These are tricky to compose, and this one proves it.  This one I don't like at all.  The GITS entry says it sparked a bidding war, so my antipathy for the LL has no bearing on the screenplay.  I expect the screenplay is very good.

My first problem is "that movement."  The LL assumes the reader knows about Carrie Buck and her movement.  I am familiar with neither.  So this logline makes very little sense to me.  Rereading it a few times, it seems to say Carrie conceived a Movement, but then Carrie had to fight that same Movement to become a mother.  But I'm not sure.  Confusion and frustration are not emotions your logline should arouse in the reader.

Can we rewrite for clarity and ditch the confusion?  Sure, after some googling to fill in the parts the LL leaves out.

Okay.  Hooboy, that's a story, and an important one -- culturally and politically.  Bidding war?  I get it now.  Total Oscar bait, and I say that without sarcasm.  But wow, does this logline do a disservice to the true story.  I find it hard to reconcile this bizarre, nebulous logline with Carrie's true-life story.  I see now that "the movement" probably means the State of Virginia's eugenics movement of the 1920s.

Anyhow, having studied the story's essence, we can now compose a logline that provokes curiosity rather than confusion...

Logline: The shocking true story of Carrie Buck and her desperate fight to be a mother after the State of Virginia and the U.S. Supreme Court order her sterilized for the crime of being 'feeble-minded.'

Something like that.  Something to make us go "What the hell?" instead of "What the hell is going on with this logline!"  Probably I would omit "shocking" and instead let the reader grasp that outrage on their own.  There's no need to promise a shocking story after introducing the shocking facts into the LL itself.
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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2017, 05:25 AM »



Title: /reddoor

Writers: Teddy Tenenbaum, Minsun Park

Logline: A journalist discovers a new game app can kill people in real life once they enter the game. He then needs to race to save both he and his sister before they meet their demise.

-----

Simple high concept.  Clearly written.  No challenging aspects.  An easy LL win -- and there's no disgrace in that.  I have three comments:

"... a new game app... once they enter the game..." -- 10PTT readers know I dislike repetition.  "Don't tell us something we already know" is my mantra.  Furthermore, don't tell us something we'll very likely assume or figure out ourselves.  Doing so wastes valuable LL length.

"... race to save..." is one of those vague "insert your imagination here" phrases I really don't like.  Why be vague when explaining your through-line?  Sure, sometimes you need to hide key story developments.  You can reveal too much in a LL, leave no intrigue, no reason for the reader to scream "I gotta know what happens next!"  But let me tell you, being vague will hurt all but the craftiest loglines.

"... before they meet their demise."  There's a time to be cute and play with words.  This is not the time.  What's at stake is Death.  Let it hit hard like a slap, not like a cluster of colorful balloons gently bumping into the reader.

BONUS: "... to save both he and his sister..." -- ugh, just no.  "He and his sister" is correct for the subject of a subject-verb-object sentence.  I would argue the correct grammar in this case as written is "... to save both himself and his sister..."  In any case it feels clunky, so let's write around it.

Logline: When a  journalist discovers the hot new app he's playing with his sister kills in real life, he has 60 minutes to beat the game or they both die.

Boom.  35 words down to 29.  Protag, antag, stakes -- and we added a ticking clock for urgency.  Despite this being a fairly rote high concept, punching up the LL gives it a delicious sting.  The LL promises a fast, thrilling, zig-zagging story.  The script sold, so Teddy and Minsun must've delivered the goods.  Great job!
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2017, 08:19 AM »



Title: The New Neighbors

Writers: Leslye Headland, David Schickler

Logline: A couple moves into an affluent suburban community only to find out that their enclave is filled with dirty secrets.

-----

Feels.  Very.  Lazy.  Don't blink or you'll miss the tiny quiver this LL registers on the excite-o-meter.  "Dirty secrets" promise none of the intense "psychological thriller" genre this script purports to be -- not the way the logline's fashioned now.  I think we can goose it, bring more substance to those inceptive dirty secrets.

Starkly missing is a sense of who this couple is.  Why are they the perfect foil for this story?  What qualities do they bring that will create a fascinating mix with the stakes, goals, and opposition?

Logline: A soon-to-divorce couple moves into an affluent suburban community and learns their new religious neighbours strictly enforce the "till death do us part" part.

Ah, no.  That's a comedy.  Especially with that clownish "part part" part [giggle].  I'll try again...

Logline: After a couple with a three-year-old son moves to an affluent suburban community, their strange new neighbours start to worship the boy as if he's Satan reincarnated.

Still reeks of comedy, but could be interpreted as a thriller?  Let's circle back to the "dirty secrets" hook...

Logline: When a notorious blogging couple moves into an affluent suburban community to dig for dirty secrets among the rich and famous, the first thing they unearth is the dead girl in their basement.

Only a faint whiff of comedy now.  "Dead girl" is too sobering to be played for laughs.  Had I used "dead body" the logline would still have one tongue firmly planted in cheek, and the other tongue -- wait, there's another tongue?

The point is, this logline needs to dance more keenly and sincerely if it wants to earn the reader's attention.

Fun fact: Headland and Schickler are industry pros.  (The jaded Me thinks that's why it feels like the lackluster LL didn't have to compete in the marketplace.   Shutup now, jaded Me, and back in the cage with you!)  Headland to direct this one.
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2017, 12:21 PM »



Title: Reckless

Writer: John Swetnam

Logline: When a legendary retired assassin is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, she must return to the life she left behind and complete one final job in order to secure a future for her young daughter.

-----

You could almost shoehorn that into the John Wick mythology: a prequel starring his wife.  All you gotta do is retcon the daughter.

What's fresh about this premise?  Zero and zip, with a splash of zilch.  Retired assassin forced back into service for one last selfless job: it's so safely high concept it should come with a side-effects label about the nosebleeds.  Understandably, risk-averse execs love this stuff.  Who knows, maybe Swetnam gets a new dance out of this tattered old pair of blue suede shoes.

The ironic thing is, the LL ticks most of the boxes: protag, inciting incident, goal, stakes, ticking clock.  We could squeeze in the antag, but the LL bulges precariously as is.  Honestly, stuffing opposition in there is probably a bad idea.  But, seeing how Bad Idea are my two middle names, let's first tidy the LL to make room for our reckless addition. (Now do you believe me?)

Logline: Diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, a legendary retired assassin returns for one final job to secure her young daughter's future.

Too easy.  35 words crushed down to 20.  Zipped that sucker with brutal efficiency.  Let's hit the slow-mo button and review how we compressed the LL by removing redundant information:

1. We restructured to lose the passive "... is diagnosed with..."

2. We saved a big chunk by reducing "... she must return to the life she left behind... " to just "returns."  It all hinges on the preceding use of "retired."  That's the only word we need to understand, in context, that "returns" means she's going back to her old job.  The "must" we intuit from the inescapable bookends of "terminal brain cancer" and "secure her daughter's future."  We understand without elaboration that the clock is ticking.

3. We simplified the bejesus out of lots of stuff: "... and complete one final job..." becomes "... for one final job..."; "... in order to..." shrivels to "... to..."; "... a future for her young daughter" packs neatly into "... her young daughter's future."

That's how we shaved 43% off the original length, without losing any substance.  The edits do nothing to make the LL more original, but at least it really zings now and doesn't overstay its welcome.

[EDIT] Um, did I forget something?  Rereading this post some days later, why yes, yes I did.  I promised to wedge a little opposition in there, and never mind how the LL is already packed tighter than a Japanese commuter train.  Let me get right on that now.

Logline: Dying from brain cancer, a legendary retired assassin takes one last job to secure her young daughter's future: kill the Russian spy she once married.

Wait!  Hey, you can't stop there!  The Russian guy, the target -- if she married him and she's got a daughter, does that mean what I think it means?  She's going after the man who fathered her daughter?

Ambiguity ain't all bad -- when used deliberately.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 04:44 PM by Pitchpatch » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 03:56 PM »

[No pretty picture for you]

Title: The Hard Way Out

Writer: Brad Mirman, @BradMirman

Logline: A wrongfully convicted man returns to his small town in Texas and gets involved with a vulnerable, free spirit.

-----

Brad Mirman.  Why do I know that name?  Oh yeah: KNIGHT MOVES and BODY OF EVIDENCE.  I have hazy but fond memories of finding and reading those screenplays back in the day.

Sadly, this logline is terrible.  The only intriguing element is the "wrongfully convicted" bit.  "Gets involved with" is a middle finger in the reader's face: "Fuck you, dear reader.  I don't want you to read this and I don't need you to read this."  "Gets involved with" is one rung above "then stuff happens."

And in that same spirit of No Fucks Given, let's jump right ahead...
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2017, 04:41 PM »



Title: Marian

Writer: Pete Barry

Logline: After a conspiracy to conquer England in which the love of her life Robin Hood dies before her eyes, Marian picks up the cause to lead her people into a pivotal war. She comes to power, charging into a battle that will not only decide the fate of the kingdom but will see her don the mantle of the man she loved. In the process, she rises as a legend herself.

-----

Yes!  Something to sink my teeth into.  Be warned: I am going to rip and tear.  There's much fat to carve from the meat and bone.

Logline: After Robin Hood dies trying to conquer England, Marian dons the mantle of the man she loved and leads her people into a war that will decide the fate of the kingdom -- and forge her own legend.

70-ish words slimmed to just 37.  That's close to half the original size, meaning it takes half as long to comprehend the whole story.  The key to unlocking this LL was its structure.  Taking it apart revealed a better, leaner arrangement.

Note: I might have it wrong about Robin Hood leading the conspiracy to conquer England.  Maybe he's on the side repelling it.  The latter needs only a small change to the LL, with little effect on the word count.
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2017, 06:08 PM »



Title: The Shitheads

Writer: Macon Blair

Logline: A pair of deeply unqualified bozos who have been hired to transport a troubled teenage millionaire to rehab.

-----

I'm finishing on this one for today, because Macon Blair is a wonderful writer and only getting better.  Go read HOLD THE DARK and tell me I'm wrong.  His writing is cocky (uh, title!) but charming, laconic yet lavish.  In other words, a joy to read.

The logline as quoted here looks to be a partial logline cribbed from the trades.  First, let's clean it up.

Logline: A pair of deeply unqualified bozos get hired to transport a troubled teenage millionaire to rehab.

Good.  Now, the three elements standing tall in this LL are: the "deeply unqualified bozos" -- which sets the tone beautifully -- then "troubled teenage millionaire," and finally "rehab."  Those three things tell us everything: protagonists, teenage antagonist, goal, stakes, opposition, tone.  The LL pulls off a very high concept without feeling lazy or insincere.  There's a lot of "familiar" here, but somehow that doesn't seem like a bad thing.  For me it's those casual and clever opening six words.  It reads like this is your friend describing that movie he saw yesterday and liked.

Nope, I'm not touching a thing.  I did consider alternatives to "transport" then realized (a) it connotes moving cargo, which suggests a particular relationship between the bozos and the teen at the start, and (b) I love the alliteration of "transport a troubled teenage..."

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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2017, 03:30 PM »

How about a twofer?  One writer gazing into the sunset of his career; the other basking in a golden dawn...



Title: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Writer: Joe Eszterhas

Logline: In 1531, the visitation of the Virgin Mary in a small town in Mexico leads a humble man named Juan Diego to push the local bishop to get a temple erected in her name.

-----

There's little to do here.  It's a respectable -- if uninspiring -- logline.  Period and place, inciting incident, a protag with a characteristic, a likely antagonist in the bishop, and a clear goal.

As with the UNFIT logline, I had to consult google to learn Juan Diego's true story.

Perhaps some verbs can be punched up: "inspires" or "drives" for the insipid "leads"; "urge" or "implore" in place of "push."  And I would go with "... to erect a temple in her name" over "... to get a temple erected in her name."  Let's try it...

Logline: In 1531, the visitation of the Virgin Mary in a small town in Mexico inspires a humble man named Juan Diego to urge the local bishop to erect a temple in her name.

To me, the through-line still feels oddly indirect and kind of bureaucratic.  It's like if somebody got inspired to cross the Atlantic paddling a canoe and the first thing they do is hire a pro canoeist to perform the feat by proxy.  Similarly, this logline does not seem as strong compared to the one where Juan struggles to erect the temple with his own hands.


-----



Title: The Claim

Writer: Damien Chazelle

Logline: A single father with a criminal background must uncover the whereabouts of his kidnapped daughter while fighting the mysterious claims of another couple who insist that the child is theirs.

-----

Not a problem to whittle this down to its essence, thanks to "uncover the whereabouts" and "another couple who insist that the child is theirs."

Logline: A single father with a criminal past must find his kidnapped daughter while fighting a mysterious couple who claim the child is theirs.

(7 words vaporized from 30.)
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 05:01 PM »



Title: Twin Blades

Writer: Ingrid Eskeland-Adetuyi

Logline: Zoe, an American tech entrepreneur who relocates her company to China, and Maylin, a local female bodyguard hired to protect her struggle to coexist in their daily routine. When Zoe’s life is threatened, the two must put aside their differences and join forces to survive.

-----

That's all setup and no payoff.  I like the Odd Couple premise, but I don't like how the LL loses its nerve at the end.  Who or what threatens Zoe's life and why?  How exactly do they join forces?

There's plenty of useless crap clogging the pipes here:  "... struggle to coexist in their daily routine" is word salad for butt heads; "... the two must put aside their differences and join forces to survive" is saying one thing two ways.  All we need to know is: an American new to China gets a bodyguard and it's on!

Logline: When American tech innovator Zoe, new to China, meets her company-assigned bodyguard Maylin, they clash in every way until forced to team up against the triad enforcer sent to kill them.

Whack-a-word score: 45 down to 32.

The names unequivocally convey female in both cases, so we don't need gender qualification.

I think it's important to emphasize that Zoey has no control over choosing her bodyguard.  If she had the power she'd replace Maylin soon as that relationship proved untenable.

My first pass ended with "to kill Zoe."  The repetition of Zoe's name at the start and end troubled me, so I used "to kill them" instead.  Obviously the bad guy has to go through Maylin to get to Zoe.  And "them" underlines how they will grow into a team.

Let's go over this again because it's important.  Consider:

- "When Zoe’s life is threatened, the two must put aside their differences and join forces to survive."

- "... until forced to team up against the triad enforcer sent to kill them."

Which sentence creates the sharper image in your mind?  Which sentence ripples with purpose?  Uh-huh, the one that includes the bad guy.

Loglines are puzzles. Build your logline with bright and colorful pieces cut from sturdy paperboard and people will want to discover the big picture.
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2017, 10:27 AM »



Title: Infinite

Writer: Ian Shorr, @IanShorr

Logline: A schizophrenic discovers his hallucinations are actually memories of past lives that he can access as well as the skills he possessed in those time periods.

-----

Instantly evokes ASSASSIN'S CREED.  We won't dwell on whether that's a good or bad thing.

It's a limber logline, coiled tight within those 26 words.  The LL describes the sword, not the person wielding the sword -- meaning we have the MacGuffin but no story.  Usually that would worry me greatly.  But this thing pricks the imagination and draws blood.  Sometimes it's enough for a logline to do nothing more than yank your crank a couple times.  

I feel the end can be tightened.  The first reveal about the memories is Cinderella-good.  The passive "that he can access" and its sibling "as well as..." bumble into view, arm in arm, like two ugly step-sisters.

How about:

Logline: A schizophrenic discovers his hallucinations are really memories of a hundred past lives -- with skills he can use.

And still we managed to lop off eight words.  One thing I don't want to lose is the sense of these past lives scattered throughout history, and the many different time periods traversed.  That rich variety is what makes this premise appealing.  A soldier in Rome, a soldier in the Wild West, a soldier in WWII -- basically the same skill set.  We don't want that.  An Edo-period Japanese chef, a Summer of Love New Zealand pearl diver, a 1920s getaway driver -- that is the delicious, spicy brew we want filling our cups.

I'm counting on "memories of a hundred past lives" to create that sense of historical latitude.  Hopefully your mind does the math intuitively: 100 x 50 (factoring for life expectancy and unnatural endings) suggests a five-millennia slice of history.  That's a vast historical canvas.  Too vast?

The story title "Infinite" makes me wonder if Ian really does leave the door wide open, imposing no limits on how far back these past lives go.  I would be concerned about that.  Limits are good.  Limits and story rules create a retaining wall your characters can (and should) bump into.  Limitless stories -- e.g. characters with limitless resources -- leave no room for suspense, for surprise, for empathy.  Neo finds a kind of limitless power only at the end of THE MATRIX.  I expect Ian follows a similar path here.
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2017, 05:54 PM »



Title: Darker Saints

Writer: Tony Kayden

Logline: A female FBI forensics expert is called in to assist the police in profiling a vicious serial killer. She is stunned to discover that this killer is wiping out the entire female bloodline of another family — her own — and she’s his next victim.

-----

Too eager to reach the reveal, this LL trips over its shoelaces.  I think the problem lies with "another family."  It comes right before "her own."  The two ideas, clumped together like this, give us no time to understand each individually, that: (1) the killer previously wiped out the entire female bloodline of one or more families; (2) her family is his new victim.  The first element supports our understanding of the second.   I'm going to put some thinking room between them:

Logline: FBI forensics expert Donna thinks there's a killer wiping out entire female bloodlines.  When Donna's grandmother dies, then her mother, she's convinced she's next -- ahead of her three daughters.

Gone: the passive parts, i.e. "is called in to," "is stunned to," "is wiping out."

Gone: gender/pronoun confusion.  Usually we steer clear of using character names in LLs.  But sometimes they're the solution when things get messy.  The parade of female characters in my revision pretty much demanded it.

Gone: "vicious serial killer" -- seems redundant to say serial killers are vicious.  I dropped "serial" for several reasons -- save space,  serial killer fatigue, whatever.  Anything to make it less "YIPPEE, ANOTHER SERIAL KILLER PREMISE!"

Gone: "another family" -- I figured "female bloodline" does enough to elicit a sense of family.

Gone: "she is stunned to discover" -- a predictable reaction.  Might as well save our breath and whitespace.

Gone: "she's his next victim" -- I grabbed an opportunity to pack in more characters, more stakes.  Grandmother, mother, daughter.  Three generations, top to bottom.  Yes, the killer could pluck females from the family tree at random, but isn't it more interesting for him to proceed in this orderly, compulsive manner?

The other thing I did with the LL was introduce a smidge of uncertainty surrounding the protagonist.  Is this happening the way she thinks it's happening?  Could it be a simple, sad coincidence, her grandmother and mother dying like that while she's investigating the case?  Do her superiors wonder if she's cracking under that double helping of grief?  For them it would explain her sudden extreme need to protect her three daughters.

That's just me riffing, of course.  Go find and read the script to experience the story Tony wanted to tell.

So far, lots of badass lady protags in this spec list.
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2017, 02:36 PM »



Title: Body Cam

Writer: Richmond Riedel

Logline: Several LAPD officers are haunted by a malevolent spirit that is tied to the murder of a black youth at the hands of two white cops… all of which was caught on a body cam video that was destroyed in a cover up.

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We just witnessed a felony crime against readability.  Not on my watch.  I'm arresting 23 words.  The rest are free to go.

Logline: A malevolent spirit haunts four white cops after they kill a black youth and destroy the incriminating body cam video.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 02:38 PM by Pitchpatch » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2017, 03:54 PM »



Title: Fragment

Writers: Noah Griffith @NoahVariety, Daniel Stewart @thenarrator314

Logline: An Air Force jet breaks up over the desert. A mysterious radio beacon draws the pilot from the crash site. A discovery is waiting. And it is not of this Earth.

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A good example of innocent ambiguity.  "A mysterious radio beacon draws the pilot from the crash site."  Answer me this: is the beacon drawing the pilot toward the crash site or away from it?  Thanks to "from the crash site" we can reasonably argue both.  

- The pilot ejects, watches his disintegrating plane spiral down toward a big sand dune.  After safely parachuting to the desert floor, his banged-up helmet radio squawks from a weird radio beacon.  He follows the signal to the big dune his jet slammed into…

- The pilot ejects, watches her disintegrating plane spiral down.  After safely parachuting to the desert floor, she reunites with her wrecked jet to salvage radio comms.  The radio's banged up and useless -- other than pinging a weird beacon.  She follows the signal to a big sand dune that almost looks manmade...

See?  We can interpret it both ways without stretching credulity.  That's not good.  Ambiguity brings readers to a dead stop while they try to figure out what the writer intended.  Got to eliminate that confusion.

Look, this is not a logline that wants to hook you with plot specifics.  It's all about the tease, the promise of a nifty sci-fi story.  I'm not going to rewrite it to include the usual elements.  It requires three things only: crashed pilot, strange beacon, otherworldly discovery...

Logline: After an air force jet crashes in the desert, a mysterious radio beacon leads the pilot to a discovery not of this earth.

That's it.  That's all you need.  If you have one of these "trust me, this will be cool" loglines, don't try to puff it up with fancy clothes.  It is what it is.  Let it stand plain and tall.

Oh, and the change to capitalization?  Proper nouns.  "U.S. Air Force" -- that you capitalize.  "Earth" is much trickier, but I believe "this" works the same as "the" to make "earth" a common noun.

This is neat: the writers produced a short teaser for it.  Well, there's my question answered.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 04:52 PM by Pitchpatch » Logged

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