England 1962. Two teenage sisters, sibling rivals who argue over everything, go to an all-night party that launches their career as pop singers. Will they rocket to stardom or fizzle out like a defective cherry bomb?
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Is one of these sisters the protagonist? Or is it a dual protagonist story? Or is one more of the antagonist? Who discovers them? What must they do to get the stardom they want (assuming that’s what they want)?
At the moment, simply based on this logline, these two characters feel like they’re being dragged through the story. They are discovered accidentally and whether they are successful or not doesn’t seem to be determined by them. The protagonist(s) must be proactive. They must be making choices and though the conflicts that arise from these choices we get our story.
How is this going to be different to films like A Star is Born or Bohemian Rhapsody?
Hope this helps.
I don’t believe loglines are helped by writing them in the form of a question. They read too much like the old Batman show, “Is this the end for the dynamic duo, or will they live to fight another day…” “Will they rocket to stardom, or will they fizzle out like a defective cherry bomb?”
Tune in same bat time, same bat channel.
Instead of writing it as a question, you should give us the lead character’s goal then tell us what is standing in their way.
Agree with the others. The inciting incident can be (from the character point of view) accidental, sheer coincidence, but after that they must respond proactively. That’s the job of a protagonist, to be proactive. So the logline (and plot) needs to be framed in terms of how they proactively seize the opportunity created by the inciting incident and run with it to build a singing career. (Although ultimately, what’s at stake is more than fame and fortune.)
Thanks for the elaboration on your story idea.
Here is how I understand your revised logline. The story starts off along one plot path:
England 1962. When two teenage sisters, sibling rivals, make a demo disc, it launches their singing career.
And then takes a detour down a seemingly different plot path:
The naïve, younger sister is a problem drinker and loses her virginity. She finds out she’s pregnant and that her boyfriend is married. He persuades her to have an illegal abortion that ends up impacting her whole family.
Now I’m confused. What is the plot? What is your story really about? Is it about two sisters who struggle to have a singing career? Or is it about a sister who aspires to be a singer but instead must deal with a lot of personal problems? Or…?
I’m going to repeat an anecdote I read about a script writing technique Francis Ford Coppola used to write the screenplay for “The Godfather”. About a year ago I read “The Godfather Notebook”, a collection of notes Coppola made while writing and directing “The Godfather”. His technique for condensing the sprawling book down to a shooting script was to come up with a one word description of the theme. After wrestling with the book for weeks, the one word description he came up with was:
The Godfather was a story of a struggle to determine who would succeed Don Vito Corleone. That one word became his creative clothesline on which he hung all the subplots, all the locations, all the cast of characters.
He wrote the word on an index card and fixed it next to his typewriter. That index card became his North Star for navigating through the book, for writing the script and for directing the movie.
That technique, which I dub “the Coppola”, is what I try to use for my own projects. Operative word: try. It isn’t easy. But it is clarifying; it forces me to prune, cut, slash until I discover the essence, the core concept of the story. I can’t say I’ve been able to summarize all my projects in just one word. But at least I’ve been able to prune, cut, slash them down to a thematic phrase of 2-3 words.
IOW: shift your mental gears into reverse: Don’t try to describe your story in more words; instead, describe it in fewer words, as few as possible.
So give it a try. What do you consider to be a one or two or three word phrase of your operative theme for this story?
Thanks for your input. Here’s another version, but it’s much longer:
England 1962. When two teenage sisters, sibling rivals, make a demo disc, it launches their singing career. The naïve, younger sister is a problem drinker and loses her virginity. She finds out she’s pregnant and that her boyfriend is married. He persuades her to have an illegal abortion that ends up impacting her whole family.