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I'm giving this one a shot. If it goes nowhere - it's practice. It's experience. Now - bear in mind, I do agree with everything that you're saying. However - at the same time, one must always be mindful that... Writing the "perfect" logline is unattainable. Trying to come up with the perfect loglineRead more
I’m giving this one a shot. If it goes nowhere – it’s practice. It’s experience.
Now – bear in mind, I do agree with everything that you’re saying. However – at the same time, one must always be mindful that…
Writing the “perfect” logline is unattainable. Trying to come up with the perfect logline is also – to some extent, wasteful. Trying to please everyone – impossible. It is in essence – writing for the market. A market that you can’t predict.
And even if you do run it through an algorithm of some kind and hit your mark. There’s a good chance it will be bloodless – and you won’t be happy doing it. That’s why they say – “calculate less” and “don’t write for the market”.
And even when you do come up with the “perfect” hook – there’s no real guarantee. Nobody knows anything – remember? What they want is unpredictable. A hook certainly helps as it gets passed around. Same time – low concept isn’t exactly impossible.
I recently queried with something that has a strong hook and the guy said “we’ve seen it before” and “not high concept”. (I honestly don’t think this guy knew what he was talking about but that might just be a defense mechanism. We must remember the industry is very subjective afterall.)
Very honestly – I think the only way to win is do some kind of tightrope walk between “being calculating” and to “calculate less”. To be mindful of the business side but to also remember that “nobody knows anything”. (I have been at opposite sides of this spectrum and I can’t help but think you have to find a happy middle ground between both.)
Lastly – if you write something you enjoy, and it doesn’t go anywhere – at least it wasn’t a soulless experience. At least you can stand behind it.
In conclusion – a subjective need can be used as a goal if the hook is strong enough. (I’m thinking that’s perhaps the only time you could consider it safe to use a subjective need in a logline.)
As for this script – I’m pushing forward with a first draft. As the odds are against each thing – I’m trying to generate as much material as possible. (As opposed to doing logline after logline. I think it’s important to write, write, write. Practice. Practice. Practice.) I mean imagine if you have a great logline/concept/hook but your writing sucks. Imagine spending months and months trying to come up with that perfect logline/concept and you write the script – and it goes nowhere. You could’ve got more done in that time.
I imagine I’ll post a new marketing logline in a couple of weeks – see if it resonates with people and if I need to tart it up.
Thank you for your thoughts.
Oh - and DEAD POET'S SOCIETY.
Oh – and DEAD POET’S SOCIETY.
Well listen... To play devil's advocate here - a lot of the films I just suggested were by Hollywood players. None of which had to pitch or query with a logline. Imagine Joe Nobody pitching HER or FORREST GUMP. (I have a theory that if Joe Nobody wrote and then pitched THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION it woRead more
To play devil’s advocate here – a lot of the films I just suggested were by Hollywood players. None of which had to pitch or query with a logline. Imagine Joe Nobody pitching HER or FORREST GUMP.
(I have a theory that if Joe Nobody wrote and then pitched THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION it wouldn’t get made. And imagine, if Joe Nobody had to tart it up to make it more marketable when really it’s fine how it is.)
Imagine querying with FIGHT CLUB – the protagonist is passive and it doesn’t know what it is – a black comedy, drama, thriller (I’ve seen it marketed as all of those in TV guides.) As for your OBJECTIVE GOAL in a logline. It’s a rule. Rules are what make art beautiful. Without rules – it’s just fingerpainting. I think I’m sticking to the theory that a subjective need can be used as a goal if there’s a strong hook. However – we both know a strong hook is perhaps the hardest thing to get right – so there’s nothing wrong with sticking to what’s safe and what works…
The thrilling objective goal.
Back to swinging for my side…
I just don’t think an objective action goal is a hard, fast rule. * That’s my main argument here. * Or at least there’s always exceptions to every rule.
I mean I use the objective goal too as it’s safe and strengthens a logline – but at the same time – I do like to colour outside the lines and experiment. Not protagonist should “want the money”, “want to get to LA”, etc. All great action tracks but it can be quite limiting. That “want” or “intention” should be anything – as long as it’s strong and specific and urgent. (I mean you still want the audience to sit up in there seats.)
I read Vogler recently – the best part was “Form follows function. The needs of a story dictates its structure”. It’s abit like with STC – that book will help you to write but I think you’ll be less creative for doing so. There’s nothing wrong with colouring outside of the lines every so often. That is how we grow and get better and discover things – by experimenting. By taking chances.
I believe the subjective need smuggled in with the objective goal is perhaps where we’ll meet halfway here.
Lastly – what book is your ACTION/EXTERNAL GOAL theory from? I’ve only encountered it in DAVID TROTTIER. He talks of action goal/emotion goal or outside story/inside story. However – there’s always variations. I was thinking about this the other day, BACK TO THE FUTURE probably has the best super-objective of all time – – to get back to the future he has to do tons and tons of things. Each one an obstacle. What can go wrong – goes wrong. That’s why it’s so damn entertaining.
Trottier suggests it’s two action goals (get back to the future, and get his parents together) which I don’t quite agree with. I think it’s that one super-objective – followed by one obstacle/objective after another. “Get his parents together”, “Convince the doc he’s from the future”, “Play Johnny B Good”, etc. It’s all for that super-objective – “Get back to the future”.
Anyways – pleasure debating this with you. I always learn something new.