On the eve of his gay uncle’s anniversary dinner, Marcus must again struggle with alcohol and the impact it continues to have on the family.
I like the premise of of this story; especially since alcoholism affects the families (as per AA Big Book & RA Multilith Big Book).
I would like to know something more about the uncles that gives me a sense of their personalities, persona, or position in the family as a couple. Or perhaps we don’t know that they are a gay couple until later in the story (A REVEAL!).
Maybe they don’t socialize with the family much, however decide to bite the bullet and do so for their 50th Anniversary (I was working on a previous version of the logline that included 50th Anniversary and their names, and for some weird reason the page refreshed on me, and I can’t find it!).
Also would suggest doing the same for either the family and/or the nephew to give us some sense of his issue, or what he’s up to AND against in this life.
For example: “On the eve of his RECLUSIVE Uncles’ anniversary dinner, a NEUROTIC Marcus, continues to alienate family members as he spirals deeper into his alcoholism by manipulating and attacking each one.
What can I say? I grew up watching many engrossing, psychological, dark, Ingmar Bergman films.
Of course you know the story, so add what’s representative of the characters and starting points for the arcs.
I haven’t read any of the other replies so I hope I’m not being redundant. Just signed up here and jumped in right away!
>>the impact it continues to have on the family
The impact needs to be specific and a worst possible event that could happen to the main character (Since this story constitutes the crisis/climax of his protracted bout with alcoholism, right?) Like he killed his uncle in an auto accident while driving him to the surprise party, got arrested for DUI and manslaughter and is now sobering up in jail, doesn’t have the money to post bail, as everyone else is arriving for the party.
If Marcus is the central character and alcoholism and its consequences the central problem, then the fact that his uncle is gay seems incidental. To be sure, it’s a character shading that would certainly enrich the story — but I don’t see how it’s pivotal for the purposes of the logline; hence, I don’t see why it would need to be mentioned in the logline.
Given the constraints for the length of a logline, every syllable takes up valuable reading real estate and should not occupy the space unless it is absolutely central to selling the plot.
>>>you confuse me with your advise.
My SOP ;-), alas.
I asked for an earlier clarification on the uncles when it seemed to me that they might be central characters of the plot. But as it now seems that the central character is the nephew and the central dramatic problem is his alcoholism, the sexual orientation of the uncles seems to be incidental.
Which is not to say their sexual orientation can’t be part of the story. It certainly can. Again, my only issue is in respect to the logline. The logline is a brief description of the basic elements of the plot, elements linked together in a causal relationship. (The most obvious example of story where the sexual orientation of the main characters is central and causal to the plot would be “Brokeback Mountain”.)
Is there a causal relationship between the nephew’s alcoholism and the uncles being gay? Does the plot of your story turn on the sexual orientation of the uncles? If the answer to those 2 questions is no, then what is the necessity, the value added to the logline by including that piece of information?
With most stories there needs to be a believable incident to trigger change, especially in stories of addiction. Gay Uncles cool, but is the anniversary enough of a trigger? Perhaps he is on his last chance with the family? Perhaps he is using this party to prove to them he isn’t a complete train wreck?
Getting sober is a goal, but why is it his goal? Why now? What are the special challenges? Get sober is an everyday story, what makes this compelling?
Just an example (I don’t know your story)
Desparate to get his life back together a twenty something alcoholic tries to cut ties with his drunk life so he can announce his sobriety at his gay uncles anniversary.
Hope this helps.
I think CraigDGriffiths has a good approach. I think your concept has an interesting collection of dramatic ideas, but I would like to suggest two other constellations of those ideas for your consideration:
1] The nephew’s family writes him off, wants nothing to do with him because he has fallen off the wagon so many times, caused so much trouble (broken marriage, repeated DUI arrests, car accidents, lost his job). Only the gay uncle, the family outcast because of his sexual orientation, takes pity on him, bails him out of his latest DUI arrest, takes him in helps him recover. [A modern day playing out of the parable of the Good Samaritan.]
2] The gay uncle is the alcoholic. He’s been written off by the family because he has fallen off the wagon so many times, caused so much trouble. And his gay orientation so offends the traditional values of his kin. So he’s an outcast. Everybody has given up on him, consigned him to jail (he’s just been arrested again for DUI) and hell, want nothing to do with him.
Except one (uber-straight) nephew. For whom the gay uncle has always been his favorite relative. Who over the strenuous objections of everyone else in the family (including his wife) and in spite of his own traditional values, bails his uncle out, takes him in, helps him recover.
Either way, the uncle’s gay orientation becomes central to the story. (Which would pique my interest as a script reader or producer more than a story where the uncle’s sexual orientation seems somewhat incidental to the main conflict.)
Keep going with this. Everyone you meet would have a different take on this story. I would like to think the only people that didn’t give up on him was his Gay Uncles. They know what being judged is all about. This is the loyalty that triggers his decision. His sobriety is the gift he wants to give them.
Like I said, I don’t know your story. But it would be a fun world to play in as a writer.