Legends of Hainted Ditch
At a truck stop in Arkansas, a retired alcoholic cop turned paranormal investigator on a quest to reunite with his deceased son warns a brother and sister not to check into the Hardin Hill Bed and Breakfast.
This is a scene not a story.
Something happens to them
This creates a goal
Something stands in the way of that goal
Who is the lead character?
What do they want?
What is standing in their way?
I agree now that I read the logline again.
The overall message of the script questions the reality of the characters and highlights how the truth of urban legends are not always 100% most times they are mixtures of half-truths and combined histories into one bit of historical folklore.
I suppose I am approaching the story the wrong way in an attempt be like Hitchcock and have the main character die which allows a minor main character to become the true protagonist.
I think as a starting point for the logline, I am not sure if the cop is the lead character or the young couple.
You say you are going to start off with a death, I assume the cop’s son.
But then the police officer warns the young couple about staying in the hotel. Usually, the warning comes to the lead character/s. Since they are the ones being warned it seems like they might be the lead characters.
So definitely a little confusing and obviously because you also seem to want to start the story off with a misdirect, that will make the logline a little bit tricky to write as well.
Most definitely, Moses is a main character who sets the visual scene for what is to come and until the breakout to the second act his is the protagonist. His son is his motivation and it drives the story until his death.
At his death Laura will assemble the final bits of information Moses has left then which begins to unravel a story which questions Laura’s reality as she assumes the protagonist role and faces off with the antagonist which is another misdirect for until we learn the perceived antagonist was not the true antagonist.
I do believe you are correct the misdirects make the logline difficult to write.
Consider the following:
1. A head-scratcher is that his son’s spirit can appear “reunite” anywhere – why the B&B?
2. Is the B&B where a dark entity caused his son’s death?
3. Why now? Is it the son’s deathiversary?
4. Optional hype: Who doesn’t like baddie nicknames in horror movies? Find something you can build an urban legend around. A quick Arkansas baddie search talked about an infamous dude known as the “Deacon” – you get the idea.
“On the deathiversary of his son, a retired alcoholic cop turned paranormal investigator returns to [rural Arkansas B&B] in order to [GOAL] e.g., free his firstborn from a mischievous soul collecting entity [Optional hype] known as the Deacon”
BTW: Years ago, I sent a horror logline off to “Hollywood” for their input and the one gem that came back was “deathiversary”. So, if you use this – you owe me a “40” of Community Mosaic IPA 😉 j/k.
The script was written first and when I went to develop the logline I have discovered the story is weak so you are spot on when how this isn’t a great logline.
The retired paranormal investigator is the most fleshed-out character and is the protagonist who achieves his goal of being reunited with his son but his story is not this story more of a prequel for another time.
Of the brother and sister, the sister becomes the protagonist and must question the reality she is thrust into which serves as a way to explain how the legends surrounding Jonathan Hardin and Hardin Hill are a composite of his history and another (ultimate antagonist) character’s history.
The Bed and Breakfast is just a tool used to get all the characters in one location and serves as a source for Laura’s confusion concerning what is real or not. This aspect of the story I am wanting to leave out of the logline because I want the audience to question along with Laura as to what is real.
I suppose, there may not be a way to write a logline without clearly showing Laura is the protagonist even though the audience will not find out until the break into act two.
A retired alcoholic cop turned paranormal investigator, meets a brother and sister Alex and Laura Norvin at an Arkansas truck stop, and after narrowly escaping an active shooter event the three travel to a haunted bed and breakfast where the three question their perception of reality.