A reclusive ornithologist finds his life turned upside down when everybody mistakes him for his namesake famous secret agent. He must escape dangerous people and evil henchmen to stop the villain before his plan destroys the habitat of an extremely rare bird.
“…finds his life turned upside down…” is another way of saying “has an inciting incident happen to him” better to specify what the incident is than proclaim it had occurred.
What was the defining event that forced him into action?
I will admit having needed to look up ornithologist (I’d like to think I am sufficiently educated and well read enough to qualify as an at least average logline reader…) is there another description you could use for his profession? Simply as it is best for he reader to get a handle on the MC with out needing to invest time beyond the read itself.
The premise of a simple Joe Shmo finding himself thrust into being a secret agent like guy worked well in comedy (The Man Who Knew Too Little, The In-Laws) is this a comedy?
The stakes seam rather low are there other elements or stake characters you could include to raise the stakes?
Hope this help.
Thank you. I guess there are a few things I can improve in this logline.
He travels to an exotic location to find this extremely rare bird, with the intention of not having to deal with other people at all. But since the spy, who is his namesake, is expected to arrive as well and he provides the correct answer to the code word greeting, everybody assumes he is the spy and checks him into the luxury hotel suite booked for the spy. Then the spy arrives and nearly kills him, tries to seduce him and finally decides to exploit the fact that people thinks he is the spy.
Maybe if I somehow state that his goal is peace and quiet, solitude or something like that, and then gets the opposite because of the confusion.
I tried using a thesaurus to find another word for ornithologist, but none of the thesauruses I’ve tried had any entry for that word, or any derivation of it. The closest word I can think of is “bird watcher” but that isn’t as accurate. That suggests somebody who does it for a hobby, while an ornithologist studies birds scientifically, for a living. I suspect you might even need an academic degree to become an ornithologist.
If you know something of the origins of where Ian Flemming got the name James Bond from, it makes sense… I think… But I will, of course, come up with some different name for the two characters.
Yes, it is comedy. I even put Comedy as genre for this one, though I could easily have put Science Fiction as well, since I’m setting it in this space opera story universe that I’ve written about before.
I had higher stakes in mind, but those clearly didn’t come through. I guess I might add something like: “… before the villain’s plans for world domination destroys the habitat of a very rare bird.” – Is that better?
In spy stories the stakes are normally life and death, I believe this to be important in order to help raise the tension in the story but in this instance if what’s at stake is the natural habitat of a bird it falls short and doesn’t have the same effect as life and death. So best to clarify how the MC’s action will relate to the world domination or equivalent stakes. Problem is if you pin the two up against each other: save a bird’s natural habitat and WORLD DOMINATION the former pails in comparison and should not be mentioned because his priority should be to save the world as appose to one species habitat there in.
I don’t see how this concept relates in any way to a space opera or world domination not from the logline anyhow so you may have to re think the concept to better clarify this in the logline.
“…peace and quiet…” don’t make for good goals because they are un defined and lack specificity. What will peace and quiet look like? How will he achieve this? Alone in the forest? Alone in a hotel room? Alone in an apartment? Alone in a cabin in the woods? The multiple options to manifest this ambition and the lack of detail in its description make it generic so best to specify the details of the exact way in which he must find peace and quiet providing this will be his goal.
Thanks again Nir Shelter.
The idea was that he kills two birds with one stone, as it were. By stopping the villain’s plans for world domination he also saves the bird’s habitat, or vice versa. I guess that wasn’t clear enough either. Basically his priorities might be a bit askew – caring more for the birds than people – in the beginning, but storytelling is about change occurring in the protagonist, so obviously he gets the priorities right in the end. I guess that could be more clearly stated in the logline.
I suppose I could try to bake the space opera nature of it in with the goal, just as long as it doesn’t make the logline even longer than it is.
I was going to have him travel to a certain planet to find and study a totally fictional type of bird, the Volcano Phoenix, which lays its eggs in a volcano and the eggs only hatch when there’s an eruption, only that can’t happen since the villain has built his secret lair in the volcano.
I think I may have to work on the logline some more.
Thank you dpg. I like your version.