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Thread: I WROTE A 120 PAGE SCRIPT BUT CAN'T WRITE A LOGLINE

  1. #1
    New kid, be gentle!
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    I WROTE A 120 PAGE SCRIPT BUT CAN'T WRITE A LOGLINE

    I updated my logline article.

    You can find the link here:


    http://twoadverbs.blogspot.com/2012/...ant-write.html
    Last edited by creativexec; 01-23-2012 at 10:04 PM.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Deepspirit's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot for this great share

    Btw, clicking the link given in your post takes to a 'page not found' page. But the article can be accessed from the actual blog post.

  3. #3
    New kid, be gentle!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deepspirit View Post
    Thanks a lot for this great share

    Btw, clicking the link given in your post takes to a 'page not found' page. But the article can be accessed from the actual blog post.
    Sorry about that. I fixed the link. Thanks.

    And I forgot there was already a link to the blog in my signature.



  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW Architectus's Avatar
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    Loglines can be tricky.

    Main character
    Goal
    Stakes
    Opposition.

    I think what is at stake is far more important than the opposition. What is at stakes makes us feel invested in the story, whereas the opposition, not so much. For this reason the following logline is not as good as it can be.

    After a twister transports a lonely Kansas farm girl to a magical land, she sets out on a dangerous journey to find a wizard with the power to send her home.
    Main Character = Dorthy, lonely farm girl.
    Goal = to get home.
    Stakes = lost forever in OZ?
    Opposition = Witch, others.

    The above doesn't show stakes or opposition. It does tell us it is a dangerous journey, but that doesn't tell us who the opposition is. It hints at the danger of being lost in Oz forever, or losing her family forever, which is often enough.

    After a twister sucks a lonely farm girl to a magical land, she struggles against witches, evil flying monkeys, and other fantastical beings in order to find a wizard with the power to send her home.

    That now shows some oposition, but perhaps only the witch is necessary to mention.

    or

    After a twister sucks a lonely farm girl to a magical land, she struggles against a witch on her dangerous journey to find the wizard that can send her home.

    As a psychiatrist races against time to prevent the suicide of a patient, he unexpectedly finds himself trapped in a surreal and frightening world.
    This one is good because it shows the stakes: a patient commiting suicide.

    A doctor - falsely accused of murdering his wife - struggles on the lam as he desperately searches for the killer with a relentless federal agent hot on his trail.
    This could be reworded to name the stakes.

    A doctor -- falsely accused of murdering his wife -- struggles to find her killer before a relentless FBI agent throws him in prison.

    Silence of the Lambs


    A restless FBI agent, who struggles for a promotion, must consult with a brilliant forensic psychiatrist, who is also a cannibal killer, to save the Senator's daughter before Buffalo Bill kills her.

    But maybe it is stronger with just saying cannibal killer, as that is the real hook.

    A restless FBI agent, who struggles for a promotion, must consult a cannibal killer to save the Senator's daughter before Buffalo Bill kills her.

    It seems to be her goal is a promotion, leveling up in the FBI, but her need is to save the daughter in order to silence her lambs.


    My logline for my recently screenplay:

    A troubled ancient must reincarnate to save his lover from annihilation, all while uncovering the universes’ best kept secret: God is a deceiver. Now every soul will be annihilated unless he can find the key to survival.


    I don't know if I should put the second sentence in or not. Without it, we don't know the stakes for God being a deceiver.



  5. #5
    What happened?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectus View Post
    Loglines can be tricky.

    Main character
    Goal
    Stakes
    Opposition.

    I think what is at stake is far more important than the opposition. What is at stakes makes us feel invested in the story, whereas the opposition, not so much. For this reason the following logline is not as good as it can be.



    Main Character = Dorthy, lonely farm girl.
    Goal = to get home.
    Stakes = lost forever in OZ?
    Opposition = Witch, others.

    The above doesn't show stakes or opposition. It does tell us it is a dangerous journey, but that doesn't tell us who the opposition is. It hints at the danger of being lost in Oz forever, or losing her family forever, which is often enough.

    After a twister sucks a lonely farm girl to a magical land, she struggles against witches, evil flying monkeys, and other fantastical beings in order to find a wizard with the power to send her home.

    That now shows some oposition, but perhaps only the witch is necessary to mention.

    or

    After a twister sucks a lonely farm girl to a magical land, she struggles against a witch on her dangerous journey to find the wizard that can send her home.



    This one is good because it shows the stakes: a patient commiting suicide.



    This could be reworded to name the stakes.

    A doctor -- falsely accused of murdering his wife -- struggles to find her killer before a relentless FBI agent throws him in prison.

    Silence of the Lambs


    A restless FBI agent, who struggles for a promotion, must consult with a brilliant forensic psychiatrist, who is also a cannibal killer, to save the Senator's daughter before Buffalo Bill kills her.

    But maybe it is stronger with just saying cannibal killer, as that is the real hook.

    A restless FBI agent, who struggles for a promotion, must consult a cannibal killer to save the Senator's daughter before Buffalo Bill kills her.

    It seems to be her goal is a promotion, leveling up in the FBI, but her need is to save the daughter in order to silence her lambs.


    My logline for my recently screenplay:

    A troubled ancient must reincarnate to save his lover from annihilation, all while uncovering the universesí best kept secret: God is a deceiver. Now every soul will be annihilated unless he can find the key to survival.


    I don't know if I should put the second sentence in or not. Without it, we don't know the stakes for God being a deceiver.


    I'm also not sure that you want to give away the Universe's best kept secret in the logline -- it sort of doesn't leave much in the way of twists for the movie.

    NMS

  6. #6
    New kid, be gentle!
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    In a well conceived dramatic story, the stakes are most often implied in the logline. One can simply read between the lines. It's when stories are loosely constructed that additional words or an extra line might need to be included.

    As I say in the article, one can include the Wicked Witch in the logline. It's the writer's choice. But it doesn't make or break the logline, because the heart and soul of the story (the dramatic throughline) is about the farm's girl's dangerous journey to get home.

    And I don't think one should include a twist in a logline - just the hook.

    A hook is part of the concept, so it needs to be in the logline.

    A twist is a reversal, it often creates surprise or shock.

    As an example:

    The boy sees dead people is the hook of the script.

    The psychiatrist is dead is the twist.

    One wouldn't include the twist in the logline.

    Most loglines basically sum of the first act. A conceptual hook would most likely be found in the first act. Twists would occur later.

    A troubled ancient must reincarnate to save his lover from annihilation, all while uncovering the universes’ best kept secret: God is a deceiver. Now every soul will be annihilated unless he can find the key to survival.
    I think this is cryptic and too wordy. I don't know what an "ancient" is and I don't know what he is reincarnated into. So, I can't even imagine casting possibilities. And the final sentence feels tacked on. This is why, IMO, finding a way to imply the stakes - rather than writing them out - is often a smoother way to handle a logline.



    Last edited by creativexec; 01-28-2012 at 09:15 AM.

  7. #7
    υπείκωphobe Wilde_at_heart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectus View Post
    Loglines can be tricky.

    Main character
    Goal
    Stakes
    Opposition.
    One of my loglines has all those elements and yet it still feels like there's something lacking...

    Only one thing stands in the way of Alex and Marissa’s dream wedding: his obsessed ex-girlfriend.

    Basically the ex-gf is still hung up on him and is determined to ruin their wedding (and tries to kill the bride even).

    Fantastic pdf btw, OP, bookmarking it to read later...

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Is this depressing?: "IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is a screenplay that would be severely rewritten today, because modern story executives would insist that the intriguing hook be introduced at the end of the first act and not the beginning of the third."

  9. #9
    Old movies are written diffently than modern ones. You can bet that The Graduate and Citizen Kane would be rewritten too.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW brianjanuary's Avatar
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    The logline is all about the (high concept) hook, which hopefully will also be contained by the title.

    "Legally Blonde"--to get her boyfriend back, a dumb blonde gets accepted to Harvard law school.

    One sentence and you see the entire movie.

  11. #11

  12. #12
    Makes useful distinctions Lady Ice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianjanuary View Post
    The logline is all about the (high concept) hook, which hopefully will also be contained by the title.

    "Legally Blonde"--to get her boyfriend back, a dumb blonde gets accepted to Harvard law school.

    One sentence and you see the entire movie.
    This basically. The logline is what makes the reader think "That sounds cool- wish I thought of that". It should be vague to widen appeal but it should also have some key buzz words. For example, things like 'true story' will always have an appeal, particularly if the true story is quirky.
    "We work in the dark--we do what we can--we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art." (Henry James)

    "Either you think--or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you." (Tender is The Night)

    http://stagebystage.weebly.com/

  13. #13
    MonumentalWords.com MonumentalWords's Avatar
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    There's some great advice here on writing loglines.

    I like Blake Snyder's idea that loglines should contain an element of irony. There definitely needs to be conflict implied and I always like the use of an adjective to paint a picture about the character. In the Legally Blonde example above, 'Dumb' is perfect and the irony is the fact that the 'dumb blonde' gets accepted into Harvard!

    Considering we could have written 120 pages of screenplay, it's funny how one sentence can prove so challenging... but it does.

    Essentially, the logline defines what the movie is actually about... it's the journey of the main character and hints how he/she grows and also, areas of conflict.

    I've just posted a couple of blogs on writing loglines that may be useful. One is the theory and one is a case study for my own project.

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin scriptbully's Avatar
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    I agree with you guys. The Graduate and Citizen Kane would be written differently. (Mostly because Orson Welles wouldn't be able to steal credit for a script he didn't write.)

    Re: Loglines: I like to usually go with...

    A SOMEBODY who MUST do a THING they don't want to do...or else this OTHER BAD THING will happen.

    And the more you can get specific about the somebody, and make the MUST really opposite to who they are, the better off will be. (The lounge singer who has to join a nunnery; a type-a lawyer has to live on an Amish farm, etc.)

    Hope that helps!
    Michael Rogan
    Editor, ScriptBully Magazine

    For a FREE copy of my new eBook "7 Secrets to a Kick Ass and Marketable Screenplay" head over to ScriptBully.com.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    How to write a great logline -- more

    I didn't read Creativexec's article, but here is some more information:

    When I set up and ran a contest called the "Great Movie and TV Loglines Contest," I researched and posted for entrants a how-to article. It is still available at this page:

    http://insideinfo.com/greatloglines.com/details.html

    Scroll down past "Contest Details" to the "How To Write A Great Logline" header. There are links in the text to multiple articles on how to write a great logline.
    Bill Donovan
    Writer, Editor of Publications For Screenwriters
    Take my survey on the best contests, pitchfests, consultants, books, and other services for screenwriters and receive the e-book based on the survey free:
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/screenwritingratings

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW
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    Thank you so much for linking the article. It was a big boost in helping me understand the logline.


    Saulisa

  17. #17
    Write? I can barely read... G.G. Rebimik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectus View Post
    Loglines can be tricky.

    Main character
    Goal
    Stakes
    Opposition.

    I think what is at stake is far more important than the opposition. What is at stakes makes us feel invested in the story, whereas the opposition, not so much. For this reason the following logline is not as good as it can be.



    Main Character = Dorthy, lonely farm girl.
    Goal = to get home.
    Stakes = lost forever in OZ?
    Opposition = Witch, others.

    The above doesn't show stakes or opposition. It does tell us it is a dangerous journey, but that doesn't tell us who the opposition is. It hints at the danger of being lost in Oz forever, or losing her family forever, which is often enough.

    After a twister sucks a lonely farm girl to a magical land, she struggles against witches, evil flying monkeys, and other fantastical beings in order to find a wizard with the power to send her home.

    That now shows some oposition, but perhaps only the witch is necessary to mention.

    or

    After a twister sucks a lonely farm girl to a magical land, she struggles against a witch on her dangerous journey to find the wizard that can send her home.



    This one is good because it shows the stakes: a patient commiting suicide.



    This could be reworded to name the stakes.

    A doctor -- falsely accused of murdering his wife -- struggles to find her killer before a relentless FBI agent throws him in prison.

    Silence of the Lambs


    A restless FBI agent, who struggles for a promotion, must consult with a brilliant forensic psychiatrist, who is also a cannibal killer, to save the Senator's daughter before Buffalo Bill kills her.

    But maybe it is stronger with just saying cannibal killer, as that is the real hook.

    A restless FBI agent, who struggles for a promotion, must consult a cannibal killer to save the Senator's daughter before Buffalo Bill kills her.

    It seems to be her goal is a promotion, leveling up in the FBI, but her need is to save the daughter in order to silence her lambs.


    My logline for my recently screenplay:

    A troubled ancient must reincarnate to save his lover from annihilation, all while uncovering the universesí best kept secret: God is a deceiver. Now every soul will be annihilated unless he can find the key to survival.


    I don't know if I should put the second sentence in or not. Without it, we don't know the stakes for God being a deceiver.


    EXCELLENT POST!! I learned a great deal.. THANK YOU Architectus!!

  18. #18
    Ex everything; trying something new DrDoc's Avatar
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    Chris:

    Your log line: A troubled ancient must reincarnate to save his lover from annihilation, all while uncovering the universes’ best kept secret: God is a deceiver. Now every soul will be annihilated unless he can find the key to survival.


    I'm not sure anyone needs to know the ancient is troubled or needs to reincarnate. And saving his lover is the B story.

    How about: An ancient being discovers the Universes' deepest secret and thereby dooms the Universe to extinction. He has one chance to stop the doomsday clock.


    or: An ancient being discovers the Universes' deepest secret and thereby dooms the Universe to extinction. He has one chance to stop God's doomsday clock.

    I like he first one better. Including 'god' seems to be adding one of the twists.

    FWIW,

    DrDoc
    I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by.

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