When a self-described “monster” is released from prison after 25 years, he must confront his past and modern America on the 2000 mile trip home with his only friend for company; the person who betrayed him. That’s me.

    Penpusher Posted on January 17, 2019 in Biography.
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      If you say you betrayed him, it sounds as if you were the co-conspirator who turned state’s evidence and got off free while he went to jail.

      On the other hand, if you were the witness (or victim) whose testimony sent him to jail, then you did not betray him.

      Either way, I think the logline would be strengthened if it mentioned the specific crime and your relationship to it.


      Mentor Answered on July 22, 2019.
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        Interesting. I like the basic premise for this. Who is the biography about? Is it autobiographical?

        Currently, the protagonist is the “monster”. The inciting incident and goal are both his however by introducing yourself I’m a bit confused who’s telling the story. I don’t see any reason why he can’t be the protagonist but told through your eyes I guess… I think it may be difficult to for the audience to relate to both the betrayer and the betrayed though. It’s definitely an interesting idea. I wonder whether you should make yourself the protagonist and write the logline from your POV. There are two great emotional journeys there though for sure and both equally valid but telling it from your perspective as the betrayer might have more weight to it – I’m definitely more intrigued from your emotional journey.

        It’s also hard to relate to him as the main character if he’s a “monster”. Who is this guy? Friend? Relative? Lover? What was he in prison for?

        The goal is a bit vague at the moment I think. It needs to more visual. Film is a visual medium and I can’t picture what someone “confronting his past” looks like on screen without more details. Confronting modern America is easier – I’m reminded of Brooks and Red in Shawshank Redemption. It’s tricky to know what to suggest, particularly if this is autobiographical, but I think the goal needs to be more objective – like simply getting home in one piece with the person who betrayed him. The emotional journey (in my opinion) is obvious. It’s got a lot less to do with confronting his past and modern America than sitting for 2000 miles with the person who handed him in.

        Looking forward to seeing where this one goes. Hope this helps.

        Summitry Answered on January 17, 2019.

        Thank you for the feedback! It’s actually a documentary (but there is no category for doc on the site) so apologies if it is a bit confusing.

        Basically I am the filmmaker and he is the subject – so in a sense I am telling the story but it is primarily about him and our relationship. He was in a previous film of mine, and decided he didn’t like me, but I am now one of the only people he has. The “monster” comment is how he describes himself. I don’t think he is, but he’s an angry old man who hasn’t seen the world in 25 years and says it’s turned him into a monster.

        It’s possible to write it from my POV but I do feel like more of an antagonist. In a sense, I’m an obstacle for him to overcome, as well as the person guiding him through everything.

        I can lose the confronting the past line if confusing. The film is basically a road trip from Texas to Appalachia, with the spine of the film set in the car (where I am driving) and we are going to track down all the people and places from his former life as he gets to grips with what’s happened to him and America in the last 25 years.  Tricky to condense into one line, of course! Perhaps the “road trip” conceit needs to be clearer?

        Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and would love to hear any others you may have based on this further info.

        on January 17, 2019.

        Hi Katherine, this all helps clarify what’s going on a lot. Sounds like a fascinating story! Has this already been filmed, edited, etc. and you’re looking to market it?

        Based on the new information I would write it as though he was the protagonist for sure but it sounds like the road trip has a purpose – not just a long drive back home. What is the purpose of tracking down all the people and places? I’m thinking of My Name is Earl where the protagonist sets out to right all the wrongs he’s made in his life – it’s still a journey where he confronts his past but there is an objective goal. It might be that, if it’s already made, this isn’t possible to say but that’s usually what I’d suggest. You said that the story is primarily about yours and his relationship… is there a way to use that as the goal? What’s the climax of the film?

        on January 17, 2019.

        Hi Mike, that’s good to hear. The treatment and logline is to secure funding to make it when he comes out (sometime in the next year). I mainly make documentaries for cinema, and my approach is no different in story terms to fiction so it’s great to get feedback from this side.

        I think what is different in “non-fiction”  is the audience accepts that the person behind the camera is a “character” of sorts. In this film I am deliberately placing myself in the frame a little more – because the tension between us enables a series of conversations on the journey (and for me to in a sense provoke some of the action, an an antagonist) . My reason for going there is because I want to try and see if it’s possible to rebuild a relationship with someone who has been part of your life but whom you really don’t know at all.  Especially when they’ve decided they’re not convinced by you, but you’re one of the only people who’s stood by them. The film is called “Keith and Me” and when I was toying with this logline I only added the throwaway “that’s me” at the end because to set out that he was being accompanied by someone he didn’t like, didn’t quite hit the nail on the head as an obstacle until you realised that was the person telling you the story.   For me, at least!

        The references I have for the film are “Paris, Texas”, “Night on Earth” and “Taste of Cherry”.  In a way, more “Paris, Texas” because we’re travelling to confront who he really is. Genuinely, this man has to try and rebuild a life after not seeing the world for 25 years. It’s not made up; that’s a hefty goal. He has to see if anyone is still there for him. What’s become of his family, his hometown, his life? The whole country has changed in the time since he was last in it, and he doesn’t know if it is possible to find freedom outside of the prison. The film is supposed to be a metaphor for the prisons we create for ourselves and the clash between the old-world ideology and the new.

        With all this in mind, would love to hear any other thoughts you might have to make the logline stronger. I’m not sure “a self-desribed “monster”” is totally working as it seems to be taken on face value. I was hoping it was hint towards an unreliable, “possibly volatile but who knows”, character.. I can’t just call him a “monster” straight out because that’s his label that I don’t agree with, and I don’t think the audience should completely buy it either.

        Thanks again!

        on January 19, 2019.
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          Who is the lead character? The ‘monster’ or the ‘me’?

          Singularity Answered on January 17, 2019.

          Thanks for commenting, Richie. I’ve written a bit more of an explanation above in response to Mike. Would love to hear your further thoughts if you have chance to read this.


          on January 19, 2019.
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            Released after 25 years, a monstrous prisoner must take two thousand mile trip home touching upon the people and places from his past with the only friend he has who betrayed him.

            Penpusher Answered on January 18, 2019.

            Thanks for sharing your suggestion!

            on January 19, 2019.
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              When I evaluate a logline, the first question I ask is: what’s the story hook?  What is the feature that makes the project stand out from similar projects?  What grabs my attention, makes me want to read the script, see the film?

              Reviewing the thread of discussion, I found this statement salient:
              >>>My reason for going there is because I want to try and see if it’s possible to rebuild a relationship with someone who has been part of your life but whom you really don’t know at all.

              So this is the story hook that comes to my mind:  it’s about a documentary film maker rebuilding a relationship with someone she betrayed.  Before making further suggestions,  I would like to know a little more about the the nature of the betrayal.  Would you care to elaborate?  Also what is the purpose of your subject revisiting those sites and people?  To make amends?  To apologize?  Or…?


              Singularity Answered on July 22, 2019.
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