Deep in the trenches of a secret war against monsters that threaten humanity, a battle-weary young woman struggles to prepare her new trainee for combat when the truth behind her sister’s death on the frontlines comes to light.

Gruntilda Penpusher Asked on October 2, 2015 in SciFi.

Previously: When the laws of the universe fracture, a battle-weary young woman must train her new partner to combat the onslaught of monsters born from that instability.

on October 8, 2015.
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4 Review(s)

Shouldn’t the woman need some training herself?   That’s the usual m.o. for the heroic motif— the designated story hero needs to go through a period of training, of trials and tests, to get ready to do mortal combat with the antagonist.  (She is the main character, isn’t she?)

Stars Wars Episodes IV & V are not stories about how and whether 2 Jedi knights, Obi-wan and Yoda,  can train a raw recruit the ways of  the Force to do battle with the evil Empire.   It’s about how and whether  a raw recruit can learn the ways of the Force from 2 Jedi knights (in time) to do battle against the evil Empire.  A slightly different wording puts the focus where it belongs:  on the main character.

If her plot task is to train the new guy then she’s being cast  in the role of the mentor, which kind of shifts suspense — hence, story focus — away from her to him.  Because the dramatic question becomes:  can he — not her —  get ready in time for the Act3/High Noon showdown with the forces of evil?

If she needs a partner — okay, but assuming she’s the main character, the protagonist, than it’s important to  keep the  focus (in the logline and in the story itself)  on her plot struggle , not his.

In addition to refocusing the logline on the main character, I suggest add  a ticking clock to create a sense of urgency and raise the stakes.   IOW: she doesn’t have the luxury of enough time to get herself — or anyone — ready.  She must get ready before the impeding “onslaught”.

dpg Singularity Reviewed on October 2, 2015.

Thanks for your insights, dpg.

It’s clear from the misunderstanding that I need to rework the logline a bit to focus more on her character. When I first started tossing characters around for this project, I knew I wanted to explore the motivations of a mentor character. I didn’t want to write a hero’s journey necessarily. So this woman has been fighting these monsters for some time, she has lost a previous partner to the monsters under strange circumstances, and now she is being tasked by her boss to train this new partner. She’s scared of failing yet another person, so she puts up a guard between herself and her new partner.

I guess part of my problem arises from the shift in focus at the mid point of the movie. It goes from her reluctantly training her new partner to the pair uncovering something more sinister about these monster creation events (think the flip in Wanted where the organization turns out to be evil). Incorporating that flip in the logline is something I found quite difficult.

How would you suggest I focus the logline more on her journey while maintaining her status as the mentor figure? Maybe incorporating a bit about her coming to terms with her past partner’s death? Perhaps if I were to phrase it more closely to something like a buddy cop movie?

Thank you for your help! I have a lot to think about.

on October 2, 2015.

Hmm.  First reaction is that the story pivots on the relationship that develops between her and the new partner — aka: the “B” Story.  If it doesn’t work out, if they don’t become a team, a dynamic duo, they are doomed to fail — and die.

The movie that immediately comes to mind is “Edge of Tomorrow” where the female lead, Rita (Emily Blunt), must train the male lead Cage (Tom Cruise).  She’s the mentor.

But it’s his story, it begins and ends from his pov  I strongly suspect the Rita role wasn’t written to be the lead because Tom Cruise was the bigger star, the bankable actor, the one whose attachment to the script got it green lighted. I would have loved for her to be the lead character in desperate need of a partner whom she must train, but…. that’s show business.

Have you considered reversing roles?  Make him the mentor, make her  the main character who needs to be trained?  He has to overcome his male biases  (and the industry’s, alas) to realize that she’s The One, the only candidate for the job.

IOW: what are you trying to explore by making her a mentor who needs to train a male partner?   It seems to me that making her the mentor,  him the trainee shifts the burden of the plot onto him.  Because implicit in that scenario is that eventual success  is contingent on his actions, his ability to become good enough, rather than on hers.  If she can’t do it alone, if she needs him, then the story pivots on him — not her. He becomes the fulcrum character , the one  on whom rests the outcome of the plot. 

And even if you do sell the script with her as mentor, having lost creative control of the script,  you might (unintentionally, of course) set up a situation where a male actor hijacks the focus and main role, demands the script be rewritten to make him the main character.  As , again, I strongly suspect to be the case in “Edge of Tomorrow”.

Are you sure you’re giving  your female protagonist an unassailable , indisputable role as the main character?

on October 2, 2015.

I understand where you’re coming from with your critique, but I don’t think this is a script that is meant to sell. I haven’t written a script before. First scripts don’t sell as a rule anyway so I wanted to use it for an opportunity to explore a story I’ve grown rather attached to.

I do think I will need to really strengthen her position as the lead though. I mean, fighting monsters is her daily life, but that isn’t coming across in the logline so that’s a problem. If you’ve seen Dredd, I was hoping the pair would have a dynamic similar to that of Dredd and Anderson, where Dredd COULD do it on his own but his job requires him to take trainees on board. Once again, that’s a movie about the trainee more than the mentor, but it’s the best way I can think to explain it.

I’m not sure if her role is that concrete, but I know I can work the script to get it there.

I haven’t had a chance to watch Edge of Tomorrow, but it looks like I ought to check it out. Thanks again for your advice! I’m going to chew on all this info for the next day and then have a crack at the logline again, refocusing her character and making the inciting incident more clear.

on October 3, 2015.
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One more thing, about the “laws of the universe fracture”…
I would prefere to read what “visually” and concretely put the story in motion than an abstract analysis of the causes. Monsters? So start with “When monsters arise from a fracture in the space-time continuum” or something like that – I don’t care about the laws of the universe broken as far as my life is not affected. Not in an action movie. Try to give a better description of the monsters.

FFF Mentor Reviewed on October 2, 2015.
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Any way you can be more specific about what “laws of the universe” have fractured?  It is dramatically written, I’m just not clear enough on exactly what has taken place.  Battle weary makes it sound like there is a war going on.  Is there?  Between monsters and humanity?

sloanpeterson Samurai Reviewed on October 2, 2015.

Thanks for your thoughts, sloanpeterson. I had considered adding the specific mechanics by which the monsters are created but I had trouble keeping the focus clear.

Essentially, the concept boils down to this: The Second Law of Thermodynamics can be temporarily reversed. When this happens, there is a sudden surplus of energy and the universe, in an attempt to balance the cosmic scales, produces monsters to account for the enegetic overload. The young woman is a part of a group of individuals who can sense when and where these events are going to occur. So yes, there is a war of sorts going on even before the movie begins. The rest of the world isn’t necessarily aware of the conflict.

Knowing a little more about the concept, do you still suggest I add in more of the specifics?

Thank you for your help! I apologize for any typos; I’m writing from my phone.

on October 2, 2015.
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Hello,
I just want to join those who said that a mentor as main character is less “strong” than a training hero- Try to make clear who is the hero and write the logline from his point of view.

FFF Mentor Reviewed on October 2, 2015.
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