A retired spy living the high life on the French Riviera must confront his dark, shameful past when he is blackmailed into entrapping a Nazi war criminal.

    Mentor Posted on April 13, 2019 in Thriller.
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      A spy for who? America? Russia? England? France?
      Who blackmails him? America? Russia? England? France?

      Singularity Answered on April 13, 2019.
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        >> must confront his dark, shameful past when

        Vague.  I think this needs to be spelled out because it’s an integral component of the inciting incident and the moral dilemma he faces.

        As an example,  consider the logline for the film “The Debt”.  New information, a  clue,  is the inciting incident that compels  a retired Mossad agent to confront her dark, shameful past.  Specifically, that she failed to assassinate the Nazi war criminal.  And worse, that she and her fellow operatives lied about it.  For 30 years she has been hailed as a national hero for a job she botched.

        That’s her “dark shameful past”.  And it’s also the story hook.  I suggest that  the vague phrase “confront his dark shameful past”  is. in effect, hiding the juicy bait on the story hook.  Instead, it ought to be dangled in plain view to tempt movie makers to bite, to read the script.


        Singularity Answered on April 13, 2019.
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          As well…

          >> living the high life on the French Riviera

          Can be replaced with one or two words, like “comfortably retired.”  The details are for the script.

          Say more for the mental picture. For example, “After being blackmailed into it, (the protag) befriends a  Nazi war criminal in (location) as part of a scheme to….

          Add the year.

          Make sure the stakes are clear.

          Mentor Answered on April 15, 2019.
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            Hi everyone. Thanks for the feedback.

            How about this one?

            After being blackmailed by a former colleague, a British double agent from WWII is forced out of retirement to spy on on his American counterpart, a Nazi war criminal hiding on the French Riviera. 

            I dropped the dark, shameful past. I’m hoping “blackmailed” is enough. Do you need to know what the blackmail is? If so I might say “blackmailed with treason”?

            The former colleague tells him he’ll expose him to the Nazi’s who he worked alongside and who believe him to be dead. At this point I think I need to change my script to suit my logline. I like treason – I think that would add real stakes.

            Mentor Answered on April 16, 2019.
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              So now the other guy lives in the FR?

              At least for now or yourself, go with a longer logline to nail the essentials.

              In 1962, a retired British agent living a life of pennance over collaborating with the Nazis is blackmailed into spying on an American agent with the same past and who’s living large in the French Riviera. After… and here is the bulk of the story, no?

              Does something go wrong after he starts spying? Since spying isn’t difficult for him, what is the conflict? What is the purpose of the spying, to capture the antag? The purpose sounds like the real stakes, not the protag’s life.

              Pennance is an example of why we should care about this protag when he worked alongside the Germans.Though can anything make us care enough? We want him to succeed, right? Consider revealing his past near the end of the script, which would mean removing it from the logline. If it is removed, still paint more of the picture and, assuming, contrast between the two.

              Assuming he still feels shame, does he need to be blackmailed into it? Seems he would take on the job because he sees it as a way to redeem some of his past.

              Mentor Answered on April 17, 2019.
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