An ambitious app developer must work at his late father’s winery before he can inherit it and cash out for the money he needs to stop a megalomaniac venture capitalist from stealing his latest app.

    Penpusher Posted on January 9, 2019 in Comedy.
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      “A money hungry app developer must work at his late father’s winery before he can cash out and stop a megalomaniac venture capitalist from stealing his latest app.” (29 words)

      In your post you provide a breakdown of the elements. But the logline itself does not necessarily contain all of those elements:

      Inciting incident: The logline does not describe one. You mention “father’s death” in your post, but this logline does not even include that specific event. It does mention “late father” but that does not equal “father’s death”. And looking at the logline, the death of the father isn’t the inciting incident. It seems likely that it’s when he discovers the antagonist trying to steal his app.

      Protagonist: “A money hungry app developer ” —-> Perhaps use ‘greedy’ or ‘ambitious’ instead of “money hungry”. In other words, try to use a one-word adjective.

      Goal: “must work at his late father’s winery before he can cash out and stop a megalomaniac venture capitalist from stealing his latest app.” —->  It sounds like the stuff with the winery is just an event that occurs in the story, it may not be necessary to include in the logline. It seems the goal of the story is to stop the antagonist form stealing the app. Okay. What does he specifically do to stop the theft? The logline should describe a clear, visual objective. In addition, it should have a causal relationship with the inciting incident.

      For example, to use another comedy movie(since logline is categorized as comedy): In “Finding Nemo“, Marlin’s goal is to find Nemo and bring him home. Why does he set out on this goal?: Nemo is captured. —-> That is the inciting incident, and it has a causal relationship with the goal. So, for your story, try reversing the order. Say what the goal is, and then answer why the protagonist pursues it.
      So: Goal: stop a megalomaniac venture capitalist from stealing his latest app. Why does he pursue his goal?: His father died. —-> Does that make sense? How does his father dying directly lead to him trying to prevent the theft of his app?

      Antagonist: “megalomaniac venture capitalist ” —-> Okay. Again, I suggest trying to reduce the number of adjectives.

      Summitry Answered on January 9, 2019.
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        Agree with Dkpough1 on all his points.

        Currently the inciting incident and the goal do not match up. Thing of it in these terms: The inciting incident is the event that upsets the balance in the protagonist’s life and the goal is to correct that balance. So the goal has to be directly related to the inciting incident. Shark kills person / kill shark, lost son / find son, wife’s office building taken over by terrorists / save wife by stopping terrorists. Cause and effect.

        My bigger question is why is the audience going to care? What does this app do? There are countless app developers with countless apps – why do we want this guy to succeed? I feel like it’s a very selfish goal and potentially selling his dead father’s winery to fund it could make him difficult for the audience to get behind. He wants to cash in on his father’s legacy simply to produce his app…

        If he’s developed this app already is it not protected by some form of intellectual property laws? I don’t understand why he needs the cash? The app’s built already right? As an app developer surely all he has to do is release it and watch the money (hopefully) roll in?

        You’ve put this in the comedy genre. I think there needs to be some clue from the logline as to where the comedy is coming from. My personal feeling is that you shouldn’t be able to change the genre without having to change the logline. With yours, I could switch it to a drama and not have to change a thing. Give us some clue as to what sort of comedy we’re looking at.

        Hope this helps.

        Overlord Answered on January 9, 2019.

        Valid comments and I understand the points you make.

        You are right that this story is more drama than comedy, but it’s a pretty light drama…tech boy learns that there’s more to life than making money (i.e. character arc)  by working in a  fish-out-of-water environment (i.e. winery).   Not really sure if it fits cleanly into a single genre.

        With respect to the Incident, I have always understood the inciting incident to be the catalyst that forces the protagonist to make the decision to either stay in his current world and face the existing crisis or enter a new world with the prospect of overcoming the crisis.  If this is the case, then the catalyst is his father’s death because it forces him to choose between:

        A)  Staying in his old world with current crisis (no money to complete the app before a deadline where the antagonist (venture capitalist)) takes ownership or
        B)  Working at the winery so he can inherit it and sell it to fund his project.

        At stake for the protagonist is losing the app which when finished could be worth millions, which is his old world goal (i.e. make money), but I guess what is really at stake is that if he chooses to sell the winery for money then he’ll lose everything of real value in his new world (i.e. friends, girl, etc).  This is perhaps why I’m struggling so much with this logline.

        I’ll keep plugging away.  Thanks again for taking the time to offer your thoughts.


        on January 10, 2019.

        Not a problem at all. Happy to help out.

        It’s an interesting concept and definitely worth exploring. I like Richiev’s suggestions as they help tie the whole thing together a bit better.

        The inciting incident, as you said, is the catalyst that forces the protagonist to choose between the status quo or the unknown. His father’s death isn’t the event that forces that decision – it’s when he realises he’s broke and the only way to develop the app is to get the money in the winery. That’s when he knows he has to be proactive to achieve his goal – it’s an event that asks a question of the protagonist. As Richiev has suggested, the father doesn’t even need to be dead for your story to still work. If you can adjust this element and still retain the majority of your story then it’s not your inciting incident. In The Lion King, it’s not the death of his father that’s the inciting incident – it’s probably the moment he discovers that Scar has taken over and the kingdom is a bit of a mess. Mufasa’s death is absolutely critical BUT it’s not the inciting incident.

        Hope this helps too. Good luck with it!

        on January 10, 2019.

        Think of the inciting incident in terms of the climax. The climax should be the inevitable outcome formed by the inciting incident. It is not the same as the ‘Catalyst’.

        In your story:
        Inciting incident: father’s death
        Climax: Confrontation between protagonist and antagonist. —> How is this inevitable, based on the inciting incident? The inciting incident does not cause the outcome of the climax. If it were the fact that the antagonist himself killed the protagonist’s father, it may work, but that does not seem to be the case.

        on January 11, 2019.
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          Oops, I copied and pasted too much in the logline.  Admin…I would appreciate it if you could strip away the part starting with Protagonist to the end.  Thanks.

          Logline:  A money hungry app developer must work at his late father’s winery before he can cash out and stop a megalomaniac venture capitalist from stealing his latest app.

          Protagonist:  A money hungry software developer

          Antagonist:  A megalomaniac venture capitalist

          Inciting Incident:  Father’s death

          Goal:  Sell winery to bankroll and safeguard his app

          Penpusher Answered on January 9, 2019.

          You should be able to edit the post yourself. Under the logline to the right, there should be a pencil if you hover over it. Click the pencil and you can edit.

          on January 9, 2019.


          on January 9, 2019.
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            This is not a critique of the logline.

            Instead, I just wanted to say, I think the story should end with the lead saving the winery by creating a wine selling app.

            In other words, the leads app gets stolen from him, he loses his job and is forced to work at the family winery. (The last place he wants to work)  However, the winery is losing money.
            So he saves the day by bringing the winery into the modern age.

            Plus this ties the beginning of the movie (Losing his app) with the end of the movie (Creating a successful app)

            I also don’t think his father should be dead. I think he has a bad relationship with his father.
            His father wanted him to take over the family winery because it’s in his blood. But the lead turned his back on the winery and his father to go join a tech company.

            So what the lead thinks he wants is to get his app back or possibly his old job back.
            But what he really needs is to repair his relationship with his family and save the winery.

            You should also have a fiance who dumps the lead after he loses everything. When the lead goes to the winery he meets the real love interest of the movie.
            However, in the third act the old ‘fiance’ should show back up, telling the lead she wants him back and that the company that fired him wants him back as well.
            This is everything the lead thinks he wants… but of course, in the end, the lead chooses the winery and the real love interest.

            I also think this would work very well if the lead was Hispanic.  (A nod to the movie, “A Walk in the Clouds”) A Hispanic family that believes very strongly that nothing is more important than family.

            Anyway, I think there is a story here. I like the premise. And anything I wrote is just a suggestion.

            Singularity Answered on January 10, 2019.
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