When a hopeless romantic student meets his holiday romance in Hong Kong by accident, he takes her out to similar spots like 10 years ago, hoping to spark her interest again before he leaves in 12 hours. (short film)

savinh0 Samurai Asked on October 12, 2017 in Romance.
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4 Review(s)

At 37 words, this version is unnecesarily long. Boiled down to its dramatic essence, the plot is:

When a hopeless romantic accidentally reunites with an old fling, he has 12 hours to reignite the spark before his plane leaves. (22 words)

Authentic ticking clocks infuse tension into a story by imposing do-or-die, now-or-never deadlines.  But I don’t see how the plane flight fits that criterion. Because:

1] He can always cancel the flight if he needs more time.  Of course that will cost him the ticket price, but in matters of the heart, no price is too high to pay. On the contrary, canceling the fight is a dramatic demonstration of his defining characteristic, that he’s a hopeless romantic.  And it’s proof of how much he loves her.

2] If he must make the flight,  they can always exchange email addresses and phone numbers.  Thanks to smart phones, they can keep the dialogue going.

An authentic ticking clock scenario is a standard and reliable ingredient for spicing up a story with dramatic tension.  But, imho, the plane flight in this scenario fails to qualify.  Hence the plot seems rather bland, flat.


dpg Singularity Reviewed on October 12, 2017.

I guess you’re right. I’m still thinking about a possible solution to the problem with the urgency.
Anyway, thank you for your feedback!

on October 12, 2017.

Simple – make her the one who is leaving

on October 14, 2017.

Yes, Daniel, that’s a possibility. Thanks!

on October 15, 2017.
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Your concept brings to mind the 1995 film “Before Sunrise” about two people who casually meet on the train and decide to spend the night in Vienna before making their connections.  The train connection is not a do-or-die ticking clock.  Both of them could cancel their connections or one could re-book and follow the other.  But neither one does. They part ways at sunrise.

The movie was a critical and commercial success, spawned 2 sequels. So why can’t you sell  your romance with a similar, semi-ticking clock ending?  Why can’t lightening strike again with your concept?

Here’s what I see as the complication:

“Before Sunrise” was not the writer’s (Richard Linklater) debut film, the  script that enabled him to break into the business. It was his third. By then, he had an agent.  He had industry contacts. And he had a hit film that enabled him to get the green light make “Before Sunrise”.

Could  Linklater have sold “Before Sunrise” as a complete outsider, an aspiring screenwriter with no agent, no industry contacts, no established track record?  Well, who knows?  It’s a crazy business.  But I can guarantee it would have been harder, the odds would have been overwhelming not in his favor.

My feedback is given under the assumption that outsiders have more daunting obstacles to overcome, have to play by a different set of rules than insiders who, by chance and chutzpah, have smashed their way past the gate keepers.

But you’re only trying to make a short film, not a full length feature. Even so, your story has to be bait for talent and money  (unless you can cast, produce and finance it on your own). And audience bait: you do want people to view it, don’t you? The right people, industry insiders, who can escort you past the gatekeepers into the inner sanctum of the business?

Just saying.

dpg Singularity Reviewed on October 12, 2017.

Well, you seem to be right. A semi-ticking clock is not the best option for a premise.
And yes, I am planning to produce this short film on my own if it gets written.
But it is clear that I need to have a strong concept to attract the industry and audience.

on October 13, 2017.
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Great job with the inciting event. I think it’s a cute story with potential. Only thing I saw is that the irony is not clear. It’s not strong enough to guarantee funding. Try adding stakes. Make the event risky. Maybe he’s got a terminal disease. Maybe she’s a monster from space. He must find a way to escape before she eats him. Something that will make us want to sit down and watch it. Right now it’s just some dude trying to get inside some girl’s panties. It’s what dudes do. I’m not sure I want to sit down and watch that. We just need something interesting to latch onto now.

It’s a good first draft. Remove words and trim it down to the bare minimum: “A hopeless romantic runs into his childhood crush in Hong Kong…”

luluwho Penpusher Reviewed on October 12, 2017.

I thought about a “terminal disease” as well, luluwho. Could be interesting. But I’m not sure yet.
Thanks for your comment!

on October 13, 2017.
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The obstacle is not clear. If he truly loves her, he’ll bite the bullet and cancel the plane ticket to stay with her.

Why not give him a moral dilemma? What if? He is engaged and his fiance is waiting for him to return from a business trip in time for their wedding. But he falls in love with his high school sweetheart in Hong Kong and must find out if she feels the same before canceling the ticket and sticking around or flying back to a woman he feels obliged to marry.

Nir Shelter Singularity Reviewed on October 12, 2017.

Thank you, Nir! He can’t cancel the plane ticket, because he is there for an excursion with his class.
But I didn’t mention that in the logline.
Anyway, I understand where you’re coming from. A dilemma would spice up the concept.

on October 13, 2017.

That’s another version of it, like you mentioned above:

When an engaged hopeless romantic student accidentally reunites with his holiday romance in Hong Kong, he has 12 hours to find out if she still loves him before his plane leaves for his wedding.

on October 13, 2017.

It reads as though the event that starts this story is him falling in love with another woman (former girlfriend or not makes no difference) despite being engaged. Perhaps start it off with that:

After falling in love with another woman in Hong Kong, a student has 12 hours to find out if she loves him before he must fly back to marry his fiance in New York.

The big problems are still the stakes and the need to fly back. What’s the worst that will happen should he fly back? Is the fiance a horrible person?

And even if he is on a trip with a class, matters of the heart know no boundaries – especially in Hollyweird. He could still jump ship or return to Hong Kong, sorry I just can’t understand the obstacles and stakes.

on October 14, 2017.

Yes, you’re right. Thank you for your detailed feedback! It means a lot!

on October 15, 2017.
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