“When an aspiring young architect loses his mother to cancer and his world is turned upside down, he discovers unlikely inspiration in the pages of a drug addict’s journal while on a dual mission to obtain his dream job and find a higher meaning to his personal tragedy.”
A logline is a short statement (ideally under 30 words) of the plot of a script.
A plot entails a protagonist pursuing a singular — not a dual — objective goal. An objective goal is a goal that is external to the protagonist, that is concrete, tangible; it is a denouement that can be visualized on the screen. In this logline getting the dream job would qualify as an objective goal because it can be visualized in a scene: the employer tells him he’s hired and shakes his hand; or he moves into his new office; or he celebrates his promotion with friends and family. Any of those moments are visual cues to the audience that he has succeeded.
In contrast, what’s the visual for “a higher meaning to his personal tragedy”? What does that moment look like on a movie screen? How is it to be visualized? What’s the visual cue for the audience to inform them that he has succeeded?
In terms of drama, the desire for “a higher meaning to his personal tragedy” is a subjective need. It relates to an internal experience, not an external event. It is abstract, intangible, immaterial.
Loglines are only about objective goals, not subjective needs. Because film is a visual medium; objective goals can be readily visualized, not so for subjective needs.
Then there is the matter of the inciting incident.
In drama, there should be a direct, cause-and-effect relationship between the inciting incident and the objective goal such that if the inciting incident doesn’t happen, then within the world of the story neither does the pursuit of the objective goal.
Taking this logline at face value, the mother’s death is the inciting incident for the objective goal of pursuing a dream job. Which means by the logic of drama, if she hadn’t died, then he wouldn’t be pursuing his dream job.
Now it makes perfect sense that her death triggers his subjective need, to find meaning in her death. But how does her death trigger him to pursue his dream job? Reading the logline literally — which is the only way it can be read because neither I nor anyone else can read your mind — literally, at face value, the logline says that he pursues his dream job because of how his mother dies.
Or would it be more correct to consider her death as a complication to his pursuit of his dream job, not the inciting incident? And if that is the case, then the logline needs a casual inciting incident for the objective goal. What happens that triggers his pursuit of his dream job? A pursuit that within the world of the story would not occur were it not for that inciting incident?