When a shortage of decent male actors threatens to shut down the high school senior musical, a reserved teenager is coerced into being the romantic lead of her rival but she has more than acting on her mind as she finds herself falling for her costar.
I’ m confused. First the logline says there a short of male actors, then says a reserved female is coerced into trying out.
How does that solve the problem of a shortage of male talent? One would think that the shortage of male actors would be a trigger to induce a guy to try out. The problem of the shortage of guys seems to be left dangling.
Further confusing me is that first the logline talks about guys which induces me to think the story problem will concern a male protagonist. I have to wade through 30 words to find out the gender of the “reserved student” is actually female. That’s need-to-know information about the protagonist that should be stated ASAP in a logline.
Also, it’s an emotional stretch to believe that someone could be bullied into trying out and as a result of that negative push rise to the occasion. The Lady Gaga character in “A Star is Born” is not coerced into performing. She is invited on stage which she accepts because the Bradley Cooper character has been encouraging her — she’s been persuaded, seduced to perform — not bullied. Because it’s what she really wants to do.
A protagonist may be reluctant to accept “The Call to Adventure” for whatever reason, but ultimately she answers the call because it appeals, because she yearns to, because it’s what she (not someone else) wants to do, her biggest dream. It’s her choice.
Finally, it’s not clear whether she accepts the role to get the guy she’s already in love with — but his heart belongs to some one else. Or that the two are the Last Persons on Earth who would date each other, only to fall in love during the course of rehearsals. Whatever, the logline should at least imply that there is a wedge issue, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to romance. And it is SOP that she would have to deal with a rival for his affection.
>>I think the logline is saying they had to get a girl to dress up as a guy and play the male leading role.
Another “Doh!” moment.
Was that clear to you on the first read? Obviously, it wasn’t to me.
So she’s falling in love with the other girl?
Okay. That’s interesting.
But the dramatic situation and plot needs to be made clearer. I’m not the brightest light bulb in the room. (You noticed?) And a logline writer should assume that most readers will, likewise, not be the brightest light bulbs.
Let me confess that my standard M.O. is to give loglines a quick read — 10 seconds, max.
Because that is all the time most movie makers will give a logline. Either it’s clear in 10 seconds and it hooks attention. Or it doesn’t. In the movie industry, a logline gets one chance to make the right 1st impression. And if it fails, the reader will move on to the next logline… or answer the phone… or respond to a text message or email…
My 2.5 cents worth.
I agree with dpg, the logline could be clearer to make sure that it’s immediately obvious what the situation is.
This is quite a tricky one because you need to have that setup to understand why she’s accepting that role in the first place. I was going to suggest changing it to an all girls school but I think it misses a huge element which makes your story interesting – that she is (as dpg suggested) encouraged to take an opposite gender roll because it will be shut down otherwise. I feel like you’ve really thought of this story! I love it!
So… I think it’s just a case of tweaking the logline. The most important bit is gender! Changing her description to “teenage girl” is definitely a start. My issue with her being “reserved” is that if she’s good enough at acting to be offered the role, I don’t see her as being reserved. Actors are usually pretty outgoing confident people. Kinda goes with the territory. I get that you might mean “reserved” in terms of her views on homosexuality etc, but I think another word might be better suited.
I wonder if the male actor originally cast falls ill instead it would be better. The whole production starts off with the hottest guy in school who just happens to be a great actor but he gets ill. Our heroine (who lost the part of female lead to her rival and is her understudy so knows all the lines) is encouraged to take the roll because then there’s a legitimately good reason why they have to keep going – they’ve already spent the money and the ball is rolling. Maybe the boy’s understudy is just a bit crap too (this would be a funny scene) which leads to the director seeing the protagonist mouthing his lines and he gets an idea – something that will draw in the crowds because it’s a bit controversial. This character could be really interesting – encouraging the girl but only for his own personal motivation to get people to come and see his play.
Still tricky – the inciting incident is almost two-fold but I feel like it’s actually when she starts falling in love with her rival. That’s the hook! I’ve tried writing this out a few times and it’s a tough one but I really want you to stick with it because I would go see this! Just streamline it a little and maybe fine tune the reasons why things are happening.
OP here. Thanks everyone for the feedback. I struggled with this, obviously, between being too wordy but not being too short where the plot doesn’t come across and I haven’t hit that yet. For a little more background, here is a better synopsis:
Auditions for the high school senior musical come to a standstill when they can’t find a male lead with enough chemistry with the drama club’s star actress, which leads to an unconventional casting choice by the drama teacher. After witnessing the chemistry between her lead actress and her school rival as they argue with each other, the drama teacher persuades the other female to play the romantic opposite instead of a guy. Both leads find themselves in the uncomfortable position of life imitating art as they start to develop feelings for each other while facing increasing scrutiny and opposition from their friends, family and the traditional high school norm.
So it’s basically there are no decent acting guys to play the romantic opposite with suitable chemistry with the lead actress. Drama teacher sees lead actress arguing with another girl and sees the chemistry that she wants in her two leads. Two girls have a fairly antagonistic relationship since the one girl wrote a bad review about a play the actress was in in the school newspaper, hence the rivals. So the teacher and lead actress convince the other girl to take the part and the two girls fall in love.
Does that help clarify a little?
Does the lead character have a goal? And if so, what is standing in the way of the goal? (I only ask because in the logline (As written) events are happening to the lead character instead of the lead character taking action, but that could simply be a logline issue)
>>. Drama teacher sees lead actress arguing with another girl and sees the chemistry that she wants in her two leads. Two girls have a fairly antagonistic relationship since the one girl wrote a bad review about a play the actress was in in the school newspaper, hence the rivals. So the teacher and lead actress convince the other girl to take the part and the two girls fall in love.
Okay, thanks for the clarification. So how is that supposed to work out practically? One of them plays dressed and made up as a guy, right?
I suggest it might make for a stronger character if the protagonist volunteers to play the guy role. The incentive is professional as well as personal; it’s a greater dramatic challenge, one that will look good on her acting resume. (Played Stanley Kowalski in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’ )
So the teacher is the one who has be persuaded. The protagonist auditions and the teacher is persuaded. She gets the role.
Comedy and complications ensue.