I’m trying to write a script for a short film. Not a native speaker so I need help with writing my logline. Struggling with her economic situation, a lonely melancholic woman gets a one-day job to watch over a man with Alzheimer’s . Turns out that this man is her ex-husband who she got separated from 20 years ago, after their young child died.

Penpusher Posted on March 14, 2019 in Drama.
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3 Review(s)

>> Turns out that this man is her ex-husband..
Interesting. After what duration of the film is this information revealed? Since it is a one day job, I’m guessing it is the Inciting event. If it isn’t, that needs to be clear.

Since we don’t know what she must do after the discovery, It’s hard to imagine what could be holding her back (the conflict). While the death of their child and separation is important for the narrative, it remains a passive information for the logline (unless it feeds into the conflict). Stories don’t exist without Conflict. Conflicts don’t exist without Goal. What becomes her goal after discovering his identity?

More importantly, how is your film being played out on screen when he would have trouble remembering her? It could be good conflict. If their relation is narrated through her memories, the form of the film changes, and so does your logline.

Summitry Answered on March 14, 2019.

Hey, thanks for replying, you’ve brought up some great points.

However, I don’t think I fully understood when you said “More importantly, how is your film being played out on screen when he would have trouble remembering her? It could be good conflict. ”

If you could explain this a little bit more in detail so I can better understand the conflict you’re pointing at, I’d be very grateful.

on March 14, 2019.
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First of all, I find this story idea intriguing.

As for the logline
What is the main conflict in the story?
Your logline should revolve around the main conflict.

Does the main conflict revolve around the lead characters struggle with her economic situation?
Does the main conflict revolve around the death of the child?
Or does it revolve around her ex’s loss of memory due to Alzheimer’s disease?

And once we know what the main conflict is, the next question will be…
What is the lead character’s goal?
Now that the lead character finds herself in this situation, what does the lead character want? What does, resolution look like, in the mind of the lead character.

Singularity Answered on March 14, 2019.

Thanks for replying, all the points you’ve brought up are quite valid. To be honest I knew my logline isn’t good enough yet, I posted this because I wanted some other opinions to help me find a deeper conflict in this story and more importantly to figure out this woman’s goal.


I think giving her a particular goal in the story, and showing flashbacks of their past in between and ending the movie with her meeting her ex-husband in the present could be the way to go.

If anything crossed your mind regarding the story structure when you read the idea, I’d be happy to hear it out :). Thanks!

on March 14, 2019.
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In my checklist, the story hook is the most necessary element to having a winning logline.  And the story hook for this film project is a great one.  Strip away the superfluous information and the logline might be:

A destitute woman takes the only job she can find, caring for a man with Alzheimer’s, only to discover he’s the husband who abandoned her 20 years ago.
(28 words)

Though  this logline  may be lacking in  strict logical  conformity to the standard formula, I suggest it more than compensates with a story hook that is loaded with emotional turmoil.  And as the great director Billy Wilder used to say: “Don’t give me the logic, give me the emotion .”

The discovery is a story twist that immediately escalates the dramatic tension. And it places her in a dramatic dilemma, trapped between her dramatic need (money to subsist) and her want (to have nothing to do with him).  And it implicitly raises a dramatic question replete with irony: will she abandon her job to take care of the man who now needs her most, the man who abandoned his marriage to her when she needed him most?

I do have one suggestion  in respect to the dramatic question.  Even though  it’s a short film covering (I presume) only one day, I suggest the actual time span of the job be left open ended.  Thus, the dramatic question to be answered at the end of the film would be:  will she quit after one day? Or will she do what he didn’t,  fulfill her marriage vow to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do them part?

This is a film I want to see. I want to know what she finally decides. Very best wishes with your project!

Singularity Answered on March 14, 2019.

Hey there! Wow this is a great review!

The idea of leaving the time span of the job open ended is actually brilliant! That way, I can make the protagonist make the ultimate decision in the end.

Which gives me the idea now, maybe this is a way to go:

The story starts with an argument with her landlord or landlady. Right in the middle of an argument that reveals during the dialogue how much she’s having issues with getting a job and landing on her feet and having difficulties with paying her rent in time and maybe even missing few payments.
The scene ends with Landlord giving her some deadline to meet the payment or the landlord will kick her out within a week or end of the month.

While she struggles to find the job and meet the deadline, we see flashbacks in between showing their past being together with their child. As the story progresses and we find out that their child died and he left her after this, in the present she finds this job and once she sees who the man is, she has to make the ultimate decision.

My English isn’t as great as yours, but you probably understood my idea. Would you care to share any thoughts on this? Thanks again!!!

on March 14, 2019.


FWIW: I  like  establishing a deadline , a ticking clock, to come up with enough money for the rent.  However, I suggest leaving all the flashbacks  about the child until  after the discovery.   As they say in Hollyweird, cut to the chase — the main action of the plot — ASAP.    And the main action is what happens after the discovery.

Those flashbacks make more sense emotionally and structurally (in terms of the audience understanding their import) after she’s discovered the patient is her derelict husband.

Again, I think you’ve got a compelling concept loaded with emotional conflict. Best wishes.

on March 14, 2019.

Thanks! Well the flashbacks will not actually reveal much until the very end.

The flashbacks while she struggles would be very short, only showing that she’s always thinking about her past.

Anyway, regarding the concept that I suggested earlier, do you think that her struggles with finding the job without actually revealing anything until the very end is enough to keep audience interested?

on March 14, 2019.

I think it creates more dramatic tension if the audience knows as soon as she does the identity of the patient.  It gets the audience wondering, worrying in a way they won’t if you hold back that information until the end.  And getting the audience to worry and wonder is always a good thing.  (Knowing that he’s her derelict husband got me to worry and wonder!)

That is not to say the audience immediately needs to know  all the  details (like the death of the daughter) leading to their estrangement.  Those reveals could unfold through flashbacks as the plot progresses.

on March 14, 2019.

Not sure if I got it right. The audience will know the man’s identity because also the woman will find out at the end of the movie, once she gets this job.  If I understood you correctly earlier, you suggested that it should be more dramatic if they meet at the end, and then she has to make the decision whether she takes the job or leaves it.

Please correct me if I’m wrong.

on March 15, 2019.

I am under the impression that the main action  entails the events (and flashbacks) that unfold as she actually shows up for the job , takes care of him (at least for 1 day).  She doesn’t find out who he is until she shows up for work and complications ensue.

Frankly I think there is enough meat on the bone of  your concept to fill out a feature film.   (Alzheimer’s is so topical).  But it’s your concept.

on March 15, 2019.

Thank you very very much, I will give it some more thought. You’ve been a great help!

on March 15, 2019.
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