A reticent young mother, grieving the death of her husband on 9 11 joins three widows who take on the U.S. government, looking for answers to the century’s most heinous crime
As far as potent subject matter goes this is right up there.
Subject matter aside I think the plot described in the logline is weak because the actions and goal are vague and the descriptions are too wordy.
“A reticent young mother, grieving the death of her husband on 9 11…” could be changed into: “A reticent widow after 911…”. The reader can fill in the necessary gaps to make sense of her husband dieing in 911 and young mother dosn’t add enough to justify being in the logline.
If the main action for her is to “…take on the U.S. government…” best to describe in what way. Will she pursue legal action in the high courts? Or try to instigate an official inquiry? etc…
This is important because the main action she takes is whats going to make this an interesting story to watch through.
Lastly her goal being “…answers to the century’s most heinous crime.” is not clear as to what she actually wants. Answers to what exactly? And from whom specifically? Once she gets these answers what will she do with them? How will they benefit her or society?
As a goal satisfying curiosity alone is not worthy of a story being told because ultimately nothing much will change for her after she gets the knowledge she wants. But if she can use the knowledge she seeks to better her and others lives some how then it becomes a noble goal worth of a story.
Hope this helps.
As Nir Shelter said.
Particularly with regard to being more specific about the “questions” they want answers to. There are already “answers” — an official government narrative based upon an official government inquiry.
So the women don’t buy it. Why? Although it is conceded that “mistakes were made”, many people accept the official narrative. Why don’t these women?
And what are the stakes? What difference will it make if they get satisfactory answers? (And from whom? Bush? Cheney? The heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA?) How it will it change or improve their lives?
What’s the time frame of the story, their quest for “answers”?
Thanks for the feedback guys — both of you are right of course, in that the main goal and action are weak/ vague atm…
I need to research this story some more — which is essentially the true story of these four woman (from the pov of the youngest/ most private) who want an official investigation — they struggle to get any attention and put themselves into the mainstream media to get it… their efforts lead to the creation of the 9 11 commission (without these four woman there would not have been one…) and find themselves at the head of the steering committee for it.
You ask some great questions dpg — they are not satisfied with the governments response of “no one could have seen this coming…” and want to know that something like this will not happen on American soil again.
I’ll continue to look into it and will play around with the logline.
>>which is essentially the true story of these four woman (from the pov of the youngest/ most private)
Right, the historical hook.
The women accomplished something. I guess. At least, they frustrated the efforts of the administration to sweep the dirty details of neglect and incompetence under the rug in the name of patriotism and national security.
Did the women get definitive answers? Well… The government succeeded in suppressing critical information in the name of national security; so the full story may not come out for decades.
And the 911 Commission report changed nothing. No heads (of consequence) rolled. And a majority of the American electorate didn’t seem outraged about what was revealed in the report: they gave the Bush-Cheney administration 4 more years.
So, when it comes time for the credit roll, it seems to me the story would not have a satisfactory ending. It would end on an unresolved note.
One cynical Yankee’s opinion.
Regards and best wishes.
…or Oliver Stones’ JFK? In the end of the film Jim Garrison lost the case against Clay Shaw — in real life Garrison’s career and reputation was in tatters… but because of the movie and the publics reaction to it thousands upon thousands of previously classified documents were eventually made available to the public… (a cynic could ask – “well, what’s the point of that?”)
Not to say I, or my proposed film, could ever reach those dizzying heights of success (one can dream though 😉 ) — I see their plight, that these four ordinary housewives managed to call the U.S. government to account (even though, yes, the eventual report was a crock, no heads rolled — in fact most involved in high places got elevated to higher places — Bush/ Cheney got 4 more years etc etc etc… and three of the four woman have nothing to do with activism anymore) the stuff of a potentially compelling David v Goliath story.
Anyway — thanks again for your, as always, much appreciated feedback.
Tony, I agree with previous comments but I would add the following: consider recasting the ‘real life’ setting into a fictional world. You will be less encumbered by the past and what really happened.
For example, use a setting similar to ‘Hunger Games’ or some other dystopian world (very popular right now). Done skillfully, the viewer will connect the story to the parallel setting.
It also frees your mind and helps the creative juices flow.
Thanks Fugal Writer — but I am attracted to this story because of the factual nature of it — I’m not against allegory in general, but feel my imagination is piqued because of this very specific event in history — much appreciated though.
Despite thoughts that this would entail a ‘down’ ending, below is just another spin on the logline, in an attempt for a clearer plot…fwiw and such:
“Four widowed New Jersey housewives battle an unsympathetic media and an evasive Bush administration when they lobby for an independent commission into the events of 9/11.”
I think your revision contains the nut of the story. That it’s a “ensemble” protagonist doesn’t bother me. That’s a fundamental feature of the story — a group effort.
It’s a daunting project. A big reveal, a smoking gun that would vindicate their struggle, provide a strong denouement to the story, may come out until key documents are declassified which may not be for decades. Best wishes.
Thanks dpg — I think going down the ensemble route is the right direction; but, I have been reading Kirsten Breitweiser’s book on the subject — she’s an ex lawyer and I’d see her as the possible lead of the four… I’ll continue to play with the logline.
Daunting, definitely — but I think I have a good handle on the angle I would take with it… It’s something that I plan on developing for awhile and want to do a bagload of research on it.
Hope you and your own writings are going well.