– When a distraught chemist evades culpability for killing her overbearing boss during a heated argument, she must fend off a psychotic blackmailer’s escalating demands.

    Mentor Posted on June 25, 2019 in Noir.
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      After accidentally killing her boss in a heated argument, a mentally disturbed woman must plot the cold blooded murder of the sole and equally unstable eyewitness when his blackmail demands escalate to death threats.

      (34 words)

      Singularity Answered on June 26, 2019.
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        The purpose of a logline is to persuade someone to read the script.  Whenever possible, I suggest a logline utilize rhetorical devices because the purpose of rhetorical devices is to persuade an audience to take a course of action.  In this case, take up and read the script. Hence, a rhetorical device can amplify the persuasive impact of a logline.

        The reason  I used “must plot” in my suggested version ass to leverage the rhetorical device of antithesis,  that is, placing two contrasting or opposing ideas in relation to each other.  So the first time she murders accidentally, the second time intentionally.  That is implicit in your premise; I suggest making it explicit.

        fwiw

        Singularity Answered on June 27, 2019.
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          @dpg  Thanks for the suggestion to use rhetorical devices.

          3rd Attempt:

          After a timid woman accidentally kills her overbearing boss during a heated argument and covers it up, she must deliberately kill an insatiable blackmailer.

          Mentor Answered on June 27, 2019.
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            yqwertz:

            First of all, I think you have an interesting premise.

            Second, my standard m.o. is to read loglines literally, for what they actually say, not what I think the writer meant to say.  I can’t read your mind; I can only read what you have written.

            Now then: taking your logline at face value, it says she covers it up… and then she’s blackmailed.  So obviously, she hasn’t covered it up.  If she had, there would be no threat of black mail.  So which is it?

            I think it’s safe to leave her cover up attempt unstated, implied because that would be the likely human behavior for the genre.  My suggested version says there happened to be one witness and he leverages his knowledge to blackmail her.

            Blackmail her in what way?   I’m not sure what you mean by “insatiable”.  The world connotes an appetite, a desire that can’t be satisfied.  Is he demanding sexual favors as payment for his silence?  That would certainly be deeply troubling for her, and reason enough why she would want to kill him.  In what way does his blackmail threaten her life?

            Singularity Answered on June 28, 2019.

            By “cover up”, I meant she arranged the scene so that the police do not suspect her. However, one person saw what happened, but instead of telling the police, that person hopes to get rich by blackmail. When he realizes she has no money, his demands escalate from sexual favors to criminal acts — until she realizes he will never stop. At that point she must decide: turn herself in to the police or kill the blackmailer. She decides the later.

             

            Next draft:

            When a timid woman accidentally kills her overbearing boss during a heated argument, a blackmailer’s insatiable demands force her to plot his cold-blooded murder. (25 words)

             

             

            on June 28, 2019.
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              Let me see if I can unpack the premise as I understand it:

              After accidentally killing her boss in a heated argument, the sole eyewitness blackmails her with demands for sexual favors.

              So far, so good.  Not for the character, but for the premise and logline in that the form of blackmail is specific.

              BUT,  if I understand your logline correctly, the demands for sexual favors are not enough to incite her to plot his death.  Only after his blackmail demands escalate to demands that she perform “criminal acts”, does she decide she must kill him.  Well, there is no mention of “criminal acts’ in the latest version of the logline.  Further, “criminal acts” is vague — it can mean anything from shoplifting to murder.  Exactly what kind of “criminal acts” triggers her decision and action to kill him?

              Finally, I get the sense that the demands for “criminal acts” constitute the MPR, the midpoint reversal of her plot trajectory.  Reversal in that she finally reverses roles from being  his passive victim  to becoming his proactive adversary  — she stops taking it, uh, literally lying down  and starts fighting back.  That’s okay, it’s street legal to include an MPR in a logline (as I did recently for a logline for the movie “Allied”) but I just want to be sure that is how you intend to map out the plot.

              Singularity Answered on June 29, 2019.

              Act I shows the woman suffering a series of private an professional setbacks that leave her increasingly agitated until the big argument with her boss where she accidentally kills him and covers it up. (In my view, the inciting incident is the death of her boss.) In Act II,  she thinks she has fooled the police, but she does not know a colleague  witnessed the fight. That colleague starts blackmailing her. At first she tries to appease him, but his demands escalate  until  he is demanding she build  a meth lab (she works as a chemist), at which point she decides to kill him (her brother died of a drug overdose, so she hates  dealers).

               

              Maybe this is clearer:

              After a distraught woman kills her overbearing boss during a heated argument and evades culpability, she must confront a sleazy blackmailer bent on destroying her.

              on June 29, 2019.
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                yqwertz:

                Thanks for the further clarifications.

                >> bent on destroying her.
                But is that really his intention? Based upon the further details you provided, he seems bent on exploiting her skills as a chemist to cook meth.

                And now that I know that she’s a chemist, it seems to me that is a crucial bit of information that needs to be in the logline. She needs to be defined as such. Because that he would demand she cook meth only makes sense if she’s got chemistry chops.

                Frankly, I think that his blackmailing her by demanding sexual favors is more than enough reason for her to want to kill him.  What I think would be more interesting is a logline and plot that focuses on  the chemistry that develops between the two characters rather than any chemistry in a meth lab.

                But it’s your story.

                Singularity Answered on June 30, 2019.
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