Wednesday, October 14, 2009


…You guys! Yup, every single last one of you! Why? Because I’ve finally dragged myself out of hibernation to contribute to this here page once again and distract you from the dramas of your lives with my ramblings… Have you got nothing better to do? Well, I’ll keep posting as long as you keep coming.

First of all, apologies. Despite my best efforts, and I really did try to post regularly- no really! My October workload not to mention deadlines, seriously got the better of me. Something had to go and sadly it was my time writing here.

On a positive note, I’ve been busy writing up a storm, embroiled in “The Biz” and so have a few more ideas about things to share with you lovely people. If you’re interested? In the meantime… FINALLY! – The results of my “Win A Free Story Consultation” blog from last month!

To all of you who had the courage to share your loglines, thank you so much! To be honest, I had a tough time making my decision. They were all suitably intriguing but in the end it came down to the specifics of what the original challenge was i.e. The best LOGLINE.

I have my preferences in terms of genre but I put that aside in this case and focused purely on what makes a good logline…

Loglines are a necessary evil in this business. Nobody who’s anybody will read somebody’s script, if they did, they’d be inundated with scripts from- well- EVERYBODY! To alleviate the load on their minds and the system in general we have the logline. A snappy one-line (approx) description of the screenplay in question. It’s sad but true, quite often many months of work crafting a feature screenplay comes down to your ability to sum it up in one breath. Fail at this and the big-time studio exec. or agent will pass on reading anything beyond that one line description.

In my mind there are three important elements of a logline… THE WHO, THE WHAT WHEN and THE BUT!

Kudos to you all on THE WHO – everyone gave a pretty clear sense of the subject and protagonist of their story. Without adding too much, always try to give us something extra beyond the name of your character and their age. Try to paint a visual picture. Occupations are a good way of adding a layer here as are personality details, talents and flaws such as “an Ex-Army Ranger” and “a life-long procrastinator”.

THE WHAT WHEN is essentially a hint towards the inciting event of the story… It’s that moment when Elliot finds an alien in his backyard, when Frodo and Sam agree to take the One Ring to mount Mordor or when Vickas realizes that he has been infected by alien DNA and is becoming what he most hates.

Finally, we have THE BUT to the equation. This is usually a taste of the major source of conflict in the story. It is also the area where our logline can has its biggest hook for the reader. THE WHO opens the door, THE WHAT WHEN intrigues us to step closer and THE BUT grabs us and won’t let us go. It’s this single detail that quite often provides that extra layer of marketability in a concept and that tips the scales for someone somewhere to feel more secure in investing large sums of money and time into developing the property.

Surprisingly (at least it is to me!), most loglines I’ve read in the past and, in this case, those that you lovely people were kind enough to submit for consideration, were almost all lacking that final piece of the puzzle. This makes me concerned. Either your story is flawed conceptually (in that it is lacking a source of central dramatic conflict) or you are failing to shine a light on what makes your project truly special. Film is an art form but it is also a business, and an arduous, soul-destroying and expensive one at that. It is also highly competitive… No matter how good our writing and our ideas are, we must all learn to focus them in a way that sets them standing head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

This is why Meghan’s logline is the winner! It was a tight race but the hook of her logline was what put it over the edge. In the case of her project “THE MARKED”, there is intrigue in the concept of the protagonist “returning to a childhood home she barely remembers”. The excellent dramatic possibilities hinted at by her main character only being able to fulfill their “mystical destiny” by killing their soul mate is ripe with possibility… I can’t wait to read the screenplay!

And that's really all a good logline needs to do - create anticipation for the coming read of the full screenplay.

Thanks again to all of you who submitted.

Until next time folks.