An old, abusive slave owner switches body with his slave who gives him a taste of his own medicine
What is the inciting incident? Why would an abusive slave owner willing switch bodys with his slave? Or does something force the body switch?
What you have given us is the setting. It might be good as a tagline. A logline, however, needs to succinctly convey the story’s essential elements. Check out the Formula and Generator tabs at the top of the page.
I agree with yqwertz.
Bodyswitch films are pretty common and the most important thing is that BOTH sides learn something from the experience (usually seeing the situation from another perspective) and end up wanting to switch back. I can see what the slave owner would learn about how he treats his slaves, but what does the slave learn? If the slave resorts to treating the slave owner like a slave, is he really any better? What you’d have to do is get the slave to empathise with the slave owner… and in turn get the audience to. That might be tough. What is happening in the slave owner’s life that is going to redeem him to the slave and the audience?
Hope this helps.
In spite of the work it needs (as pointed out by others), the logline has an interesting hook. Ergo, it has potential. A logline with a good hook can always be salvaged. (A logline without a good hook is, IMHO, DOA.)
So what might be done to to improve this logline?
Well, as pointed out it needs a credible inciting incident. It does not seem credible to me that a slave master would voluntarily switch roles with his slave. Why would he? On the other hand, it is credible that a slave would want to switch places with his slave owner.
But how could that happen? Well, there would need to be some magic hocus pocus (voodoo?) that the slave has a once in a lifetime opportunity to exploit. What could that be? I dunno. I suggest some spade work is in order; research superstitions and magical beliefs that prevailed in the slave culture.
Since the impetus for the inciting incident would entail some magic, the story doesn’t really qualify as an historical genre piece. More accurately, it should be tagged as a fantastical drama. Or a dark comedy if that’s how you want to play it.
Finally, I suggest incorporating some gender role issues into the master-slave relationship. That is make the slave a female. The form of abuse he inflicts on her could be sexual. But when roles are switched, and she becomes now the master and he the slave, it’s pay back time, a #MeToo reckoning.
Hope this helps.
I think the real question is, is this story, torture porn or not?
If that is what the story is about, logline actually works.
A mean white slave owner switches bodies with his slave, and then the audience watches in glee as the former slave owner is beaten, whipped, degraded, and abuse, end of story…
However, if this is a morality tale, then you need to give your lead character a goal.
So what goal would be the irony of ironies?
Perhaps after he is transformed into a slave, and beaten by his former slave turned white, he must escape and find the underground railroad, the very people that in the beginning of the story he called traitors to the south.
And on top of that all his slave owner buddies are now after him with dogs and shotguns, and he realizes that skin color is just that, and nothing more, he is still the same person on the inside but just because his skin is now black he is seen as less than human.
Perhaps the key is crossing the Mason Dixon line.
Once the lead character crosses the line into the north he’s is changed back, but with a new perspective on race and what makes a person human, because the people who helped him were more human than his former friends who turned on him the moment his skin changed.
Agreed with the above.
It would be better if both slave and owner learn something. The lesson the owner undergoes is obvious, but the slave’s isn’t.
What if after the slave inhabits the owner’s body, he becomes hell-bent on revenge, gets it, but then wants more. The audience should be happy to see the owner get his comeuppance, but then if structured well, things change around the mid-point. The slave ventures on a dark path, and the more he keeps trying to avenge the injustice he received, the more he realises that he’s crossed a line and is becoming as bad as his former tormentor.
Just a thought.