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Summitry
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  • Summitry Posted 7 days ago in Horror.

    Welcome to logline.it and congrats on writing your first logline. The first thing to know is that writing a logline is hard but everyone here is here to help (even if it seems that the feedback is overly negative). Some of the comments you will receive will be about the logline, some will be about the story. The logline is a summary of the story after all.

    So… on to the logline.

    Your logline has all the components required, an inciting incident, a protagonist (or two), a goal and the stakes. However, there are a lot of questions and issues with the story that this logline conveys.

    Inciting incident – Where did this demonic book come from? A couple wouldn’t knowingly bring a demonic book into their home so maybe consider unpacking this slightly so we understand it was either accidental or the book has the ability to mind control or move itself. I would argue the inciting incident isn’t the moment the book arrives at the house, but the moment they realise the book’s intention for evil. Up until that point the book is simply a book. As in Evil Dead, it’s the contents of the book that pose that the threat. So tell us, specifically, what the book does.

    Typo – college couple’s home. While picking up on errors may seem petty, sometimes they can change the meaning or be read different ways so it’s worth double checking.

    Protagonist – As a general rule, it’s better to focus on a single protagonist. Doesn’t have to be at all but usually, even in ensemble films, one character is considered the lead – Danny Ocean in Ocean’s 11, Gordy in Stand By Me, Mikey in The Goonies, etc. This also allows you to tell us who this character is. How would you define the character in 2 or 3 words? This often includes a characteristic that goes some way to suggesting the character’s arc through the film. Or perhaps it’s simply their defining trait and how they will deal with the obstacles thrown in their way. Ultimately, I would say pick one of the couple and tell the reader who they are.

    Typo – “there” should be “their”

    Goal – “find the source of their internal struggles” – the BIG problem with this is that they are internal. To find an internal issue with oneself, you must look within. So that leads us to a film where the character sits and looks within for the duration. Film is a visual medium so think visually! What will it look like on screen? Most films have an external goal and through the course of seeking this, internally they change and grow too. I would consider thinking of something that they need to do in order to beat the book and stay alive that can be visually interesting on screen.

    ‘Internal struggle’ is incredibly vague too. Ambiguity is where loglines go to die. You want to be as specific as you can so the version of the film the reader sees in their head is as close to what’s in yours as possible.

    Stakes – I think we need to understand this book a little more in order to understand why it’s claiming people’s lives. As I mentioned previously, it’s the contents of the book that are usually the dangerous things, not the book itself. So tell us what this book is or what it wants.

    I think if you address the issues and provide us with a hook, something unique and sets this story apart from others like it, it will make for a stronger logline.

    Random questions. Is the script already written?

    Don’t get disheartened by any feedback you receive. I’m sure we all remember posting our first logline and it takes a bit of time to get used to the process. Once you become more familiar with it all though, you’ll start to see how incredibly beneficial the skills of writing a good logline are. Not just in logline creation, but writing in general. It forces you to think really carefully about every single word you write. It’s important to read the feedback and keep trying to apply it with each new draft. Oh… and I don’t think any of us are experts, we’re all just aspiring writers, so you’re allowed to disagree or ignore the comments you receive. Ultimately, write the story you want to write. It’s yours after all.

    Hope this all helps.

    • 57 views
    • 4 reviews
    • 0 votes
  • Summitry Posted 7 days ago in Comedy.

    I like this idea.

    I think you have a good collection of characters although, for an Alexander Payne style of thing, I’m not sure I would bother with the sheriff. This is just my personal preference. It’s a bit cliche in this kinda thing and makes it feel a little cartoony or too comedic. This should be about them all looking forward without being able to look past their past. Maybe the only people who are actually really bothered about their criminal past are themselves and this is their internal journey?

    What I really wouldn’t want to see, is them turning back to crime at any point.

    What does the protagonist learn? What’s his arc? These three need to teach our protagonist (and potentially his wife too) something about love. I’m wondering if, thinking out loud, these three ex-cons all have different relationships that need fixing. Malkovich wants a girlfriend, Woods needs his relationship with his daughter fixing, and Liotta needs to reconcile with his wife? There’s a lot of life lessons there and, in my head, it’s more interesting that they’re all different aspects of love.

    The John Malkovich type – he’s brilliant with women… so what does our protagonist have to do?

    I wonder if the David Hyde Pierce character should actually be someone who our protagonist aspires to be rather than him wanting to be one of the guys. This gives our hero the “looking forward” perspective – the aspirational contrast to the blast from the past he gets from his prison buddies. As this is the B-Story for our protagonist, the Act II climax could be the discovery that his neighbour also has a hidden criminal past or something? Throwing stuff out there.

    Have you seen “Silver Linings Playbook”? I see this having some similarities with that film.

    • 46 views
    • 2 reviews
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  • Summitry Posted 7 days ago in Action.

    Action? I feel this is more of a drama or thriller to be honest. It might be action, but it’s not clear from this logline where the action is coming from.

    “Past selves” – plural? Surely, he just needs to stop one? He’s “Back to the Future” style time-travelling within his own head, right? Or is it more of a “if his current self can convince a past version of himself to quit he can wake up” kinda deal?

    I like this idea, for what it’s worth. I think there’s definitely something worth exploring here. I can see him meeting himself before he takes his very first hit and trying to talk him out of it to no avail. Then he jumps forward to a difficult time in his life when he turns to the drug in a big way. He becomes his own guardian angel in a way and in turn convinces his current self he doesn’t want to do it anymore. I’d love it if the final act was the realisation that the only one he needs to convince is the one that’s in the coma in the present. Nice “you can’t live in the past” message.

    I think it would be worth expanding on some of the elements in this logline so we understand what exactly is happening within this guy’s head. If you want to keep it as an action film too, maybe make it sound more like an action film.

    It’s a Wonderful Life meets Trainspotting…. interesting!

    Hope this helps.

    • 42 views
    • 3 reviews
    • 0 votes
  • Summitry Posted 7 days ago in Examples.

    Thanks for the comments, dpg. As usual, valuable feedback.

    Regarding your concerns:

    1] You’ve missed a word out (which admittedly means I might need to make it more obvious within the logline). “A dark lord seeks IT to cover the land in darkness.” This connects the two.

    2] This is something I laboured over quite a lot. It made me think about whether the inciting incident should be when Frodo learns the truth or when the audience does. From Frodo’s perspective, it’s only when he understands the significance of the ring and how to destroy it that his quest truly begins as this is when he takes a proactive decision and volunteers to take the ring to Mordor. This happens at the Council of Elrond. Although, this could be the Act I turning point. I agree your inciting incident is more likely the correct point, but should it be written from Frodo’s perspective:

    “When he learns from a wise wizard the dark lord knows the whereabouts of a ring with the power to rule Middle Earth, the ring’s humble owner  must…”

    Or similar…?

    I was also thinking, if we went with this approach, why destroy the ring? Why can’t they use this powerful ring to just kill the dark lord? This is why I wanted the inciting incident to suggest that the only option is to destroy it. 

    Tricky one… but I think fantasy always is. 

    • 52 views
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  • Summitry Posted on December 7, 2019 in SciFi.

    My understanding is that retrograde amnesia causes you to lose existing memories. How come she remembers how to rebuild her spacecraft?

    I agree with dpg. I’m also curious as to why she needs to be schizophrenic? What purpose does that have within the story?

    • 45 views
    • 5 reviews
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  • Summitry Posted on December 7, 2019 in Examples.

    I’m currently writing a collection of articles about loglines and in the one I’m doing about the inciting incident, I’m suggesting that even in stories set within incredibly elaborate worlds, with lots of characters, subplots, etc. the event that kicks the story off is often a very small moment which sets up the goal without needing loads of exposition and world building.

    I’d be grateful for any comments on this logline (specifically the inciting incident) or thoughts about loglines in general.

    • 52 views
    • 4 reviews
    • 0 votes
  • Summitry Posted on December 6, 2019 in Horror.

    Sorry, but I have to agree with dpg on this one. I think there’s something interesting in the “cop who’s a serial killer” idea but this story is in desperate need of a single protagonist. You mention something character driven but you have the group working collectively as the hero – considering this group contains criminals and their hostages I’d imagine some conflict here that would require one person to unite them – I want to know what his/her story is.

    Ultimately though, you need to figure out how to make it believable first. It could be that it totally works but it’s just not coming through in the logline. I’m not sure if it’s the story that is unbelievable or simply the logline doesn’t quite have the details needed.

    How does this cop get all these people in the basement?

    Maybe explore the “cop who’s a serial killer” idea in a different way?

    • 40 views
    • 3 reviews
    • -1 votes
  • Summitry Posted on December 2, 2019 in Adventure.

    Who is “she”? Give us more information about your protagonist.

    You haven’t specified that the necklace is magical in any way… maybe confirm this just to dispel any doubts and give us more specifics about how it is actually going to be used for evil. This way, we understand what’s at stake.

    • 82 views
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  • Summitry Posted on November 30, 2019 in Thriller.

    A logline ideally should be under 35 words but it’s simply a guideline to make you think hard about what elements are essential to understanding your story. The fact your protagonist is a con artist is a huge story point because that immediately changes everything. So the question now is who is she conning and why? The answers to all of these questions don’t have to be in the logline but we ask them so you consider whether it should be.

    • 54 views
    • 5 reviews
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  • Summitry Posted on November 29, 2019 in Thriller.

    I feel like there needs to be more here to sustain a 90min+ runtime (unless it’s a short of course). I think there needs to be a midpoint where he discovers the dark secret then he spends the remainder trying to escape or something. It’s still a little thin though. If the discovery of the secret is the climax of act I then I think the logline should include what this secret is. If it happens later then perhaps not.

    What else can you tell us about the medium? What’s their character flaw? Their arc? Does the story change if it’s an old medium?

    Why this medium? Is there any kind of connection between this house, the spirits, and the medium?

     

     

    • 54 views
    • 5 reviews
    • 0 votes