When ripped off in a car purchase a reckless guy seeks revenge, but must defend himself, his best friend and an attractive receptionist against a psychopathic car salesman.
What does his being reckless have to do with all this? How are his best friend and a receptionist involved? Why does it matter that she’s attractive? If he’s the one seeking revenge why is defending himself the main focus?
Basically, the story isn’t coming across clearly. The only question you want people to ask after reading the logline is “What happens next?” You don’t want us asking questions just so we can understand what you’ve already presented.
I also believe the strongest loglines introduce the main character right away, instead of the dilemma being faced getting first mention. So instead of saying “When this happens, the protagonist does this,” switch it around: “The protagonist experiencing this must do that to prevent the antagonist from doing something else.”
Thanks Mr Literal. I appreciate your awesome advice. I dexcribed the main character as “reckless” to give him a flaw and make it more interesting. I’ve changed it to “impulsive”… has a better ring. Do you think it’s not necessary mention the flaw of the main character?
My original logline is more of a working logline than the final product, but I’m learning, a working logline needs more focus too.
I’d appreciate any advice you have on my new attempts:
“An impulsive guy seeks revenge when he is ripped off in a car purchase scam but revenge turns to survival when he becomes prey to the psychopathic car salesman.”
And one more:
“An impulsive guy seeks revenge when he is swindled in a car purchase but revenge turns to survival when he learns that the salesman is a homicidal psychopath.”
It’s good to describe the main character with one adjective, and for that word to define an irony present in his actions, but the irony has to be clear. If his being reckless or impulsive doesn’t clash with the situation he’s in, it’s either the wrong word or the wrong flaw. Maybe instead of just being a “guy,” give him a profession or other descriptor which will create irony or conflict. What if he’s normally reserved but a moment of recklessness comes back to cause him problems?
The concept has a fundamental problem with cause and effect between the inciting incident and the goal. If the MC is swindled in a deal I would expect him to NEED to get his money back not fight for his life.
So perhaps best to either re define the inciting incident or the goal to better fit a motivating need to drive the MC’s actions in the story.
Hope this helps.
What if the story is something like this: “A timid research analyst inadvertently creates an ongoing feud with the psychotic car salesman who sold him a lemon.”
Or: “A timid research analyst must contend with a psychotic car salesman stalking him after he returns an overpriced sedan.”
Why research analyst? Just tried to pick a career which doesn’t generally involve dealing with people directly. Could be anything as long as it helps create irony, with a person not used to confrontation having no choice but to confront someone. I actually wanted to use the world “milquetoast” but not enough people know what that means anymore so I went with “timid,” which pretty much means the exact same thing. Shorter is better anyway.
As for putting the inciting incident first: it doesn’t work as well because you may have told me what’s happening but not to whom…I don’t care about what’s happening if I don’t know the person to whom it is. It makes the story sound less interesting. Even in the logline, I need to know right up front whose side I’m on. The events taking place are meaningless if I don’t already know whose perspective I’m witnessing it from. You could always go with something like “When a timid research analyst returns a malfunctioning car, he inadvertently starts a feud with the psycho salesman who sold it to him” — but you really need the comma to make that sentence work properly, and a logline without that pause will always flow better than one with…if it’s written well. It will usually be shorter, too, and as I said, shorter is better.
Thanks for the feedback so far. Below is my much thought-out new attempt.
You are right, Mr Literal about his flaw. I originally gave him the wrong one. And Nir, I tried hard to put the inciting incident 1st but was hard to make it sound good.
Any extra feedback would be awesome:
When a reserved accountant seeks justice over a car rip off he inadvertently aggravates the psychotic car salesman.