In a dystopian right wing world. A terrorist group is planting boxes holding either cash or explosives, opening it makes you rich or dead. A poor man and his friend find one and try to figure out what to do.
It is a completed script now called “Love, Money, Bombs”. It will be available on Script Revolution is a few days.
Here is a final logline. But would love suggestions
Two strangers discover a terrorist trap which is either a barrel of money or a bomb. One needs the money for his crime boss the other to escape poverty. They must open it to survive, but can’t bring themselves to do it.
1] Your latest revision may be a useful as a tool for developing the plot. But you’re past the development phase. You said the script is complete. So what you need now is a marketing logline to pitch the script, one that emphasizes the story hook, one that grabs reader’s eyeballs, makes them want to read the script.
What you want now is a killer logline to pitch your killer script . And let me make it clear that I think you have a killer premise. (Otherwise I wouldn’t bother posting repeatedly on this logline.)
But, IMHO, your latest logline is not a killer, not an eye ball grabber. As I said earlier, ending on the phrase “rich or dead” could be deployed as an effective button beat. Or at least as a concise statement of the dramatic dilemma. But it’s nowhere in sight.
2] I’m not enslaved to the idea that a logline must have one–and only one-sentence. No exceptions. However, when a logline has more than one sentence, I suggest the logline is more effective if the cadence imitates the way a good joke is delivered. That is, the first sentence sets up the premise. The last sentence delivers a punchline, ends on a button beat.
“They must open it to survive, but can’t bring themselves to do it” is not a punch line, not a button beat.
3] However, I am “enslaved” to the notion that logline length matters– a lot. Less is more effective, more is less effective. Your current version is 42 words long. I am aware of your opinion as to what constitutes an acceptable logline length. So I presume you don’t consider 42 words to be an issue Well, you are entitled to your opinion. But I suggest the facts, the statistical data, say otherwise. And in any case, it can easily be trimmed to under 40 words.
My 2.5 cents worth.
How about something like:
Participants in a reality TV show have two hours to find and disarm a timer attached to ‘trick or treat’ boxes. When the timer reaches zero, either a lethal bomb explodes or acid dissolves a million dollars.
I think it enhances the stakes if there’s the possibility of the money being lost as well as their lives. And unlike the original logline, it has an explicit sense of urgency, a ticking clock.
This would work as an ensemble film with the climax and outcomes for all the characters being revealed in the final moments. (And maybe they work in teams, too, so there can be plenty of frantic and angry dialogue.
How many characters will the story need? Well, here are possible outcomes:
Fail to disarm the timer: “Boom!” — a bomb kills the player
Fail to disarm the timer: “Boom!” — a bomb explodes, but the player scrambles away just in time to survive (wounded).
Successfully disarm the timer: No “Boom!” — there’s no bomb — but there’s no money either.
Fail to disarm the timer: Acid released, dissolving the money. At least the player has the consolation prize of still being alive.
Successfully disarm the timer: No bomb, no acid released – the player wins the grand prize
I am still struggling with the theme. I have the story and even the mood and tone in my head. But the theme, is escaping me. The central dramatic question. Something like “would you kill for love?”
I write around theme and question. I can’t find it in this story. I would appreciate if you would tell me the questions this logline poses for you (theme questions).
His final decision…
>>>it is better to die than live on your knees.
…doesn’t seem to follow from his initial state of mind.
>>>When a poor yet content man
And in “Children of Men” the character goes from despair to hope, from having nothing worthwhile to live for to dying for something worthwhile.
In a post-apocalyptic future, two men desperately needing money discover a box that contains either gold bullion or a terrorist bomb. They must figure out whether opening it will make them rich or dead.
* Re: “post-apocalyptic”. Or dystopian. Whatever. My primary point is: For the purpose of the logline –as distinct from the script –the politics (right wing, left wing, buffalo wing) is extraneous. More important is to convey the impression of a story world of anarchy and disorder.
*Re: “desperately need money”. Again for the purpose of the logline –as distinct from the script– why they need the money isn’t important. What is important is that their need is desperate. Consequently, they are highly motivated to incur the risk.
*Re: “terrorist bomb” rather than the yada-yada about it being deliberately planted by terrorists. For the purpose of the logline [brevity, less is more] — as distinct from the script –I suggest the yada-yada may be optional. The motivations of the terrorists in planting the boxes can be expounded in the script. The motivations of the two characters is more important information than the motivation of terrorists. (And in any case, the word “terrorists” connotes people who operate with malice aforethought. So there’s that.)
*Re: “gold bullion” If it’s a time of chaos and disorder, isn’t paper money likely to be worthless? Gold, however, not only holds its value in times of uncertainty and disorder, it increases in value. So…
BTW: “Rich or dead” is a good, strong button beat to the logline.
I have the theme/question
“It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees”
The man doesn’t believe this in the beginning. But after having the opportunity for wealth tease him. He begins to see his life for what it is comprise and suffering. Here is the logline:
When a poor yet content man finds a box that may contain money or a bomb left by a terrorists, and after failed attempts to discover its contents he finally deciding it is better to die than live on your knees.
Thanks for any feedback. For tone think “Children of Men”.