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Old 05-16-2019, 06:03 AM   #72
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Posts: 1,965
Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
Neil M. Stevens:

“A New England Resort Community is menaced by a great white shark.”

Centos is posting a statement on loglines from nmstevens to prove his point that an industry person says it’s effective to send a query with the high concept only, without the need to mention the protagonist, nor his goal.

For Centos to dig up a post that nmstevens made 20 years ago, 1997, wasn’t fair to him, or to this discussion.
I don't know where you got it, but here is your full quote from Neal Stevens...

Neal M. Stevens said the following:

“’the premise’ of the story is simply what the story is about. That is, what you tell someone in a sentence or two if they asked you what Die Hard was about, or what Inception was about, or what Jaws was about.

‘Concept’ as I perceive it, is a broader stroke version of this. That is, the concept of Inception is People going into other people’s Dreams. There are bunch of movies about this. Dreamscape, The Cell, Paprika. They’re all about people going into other people’s dreams.

Jaws is a small community menaced by a giant something...

The story premise of these various movies are more specific and, at least from my perspective, I’d consider a log line and a movie’s premise to be just about the same thing. They’re both ideally telling you what the movie’s about.”
What, EXACTLY makes this quote any different than the three quotes I posted? He's saying that logline and premise are basically the same thing, that they tell you what the movie is about — and he gives samples (as you've seen in the quotes I posted). It seems like you're straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
Centos choose to ignore nmstevens’ most recent opinion on this topic from which I posted in post #35 of this thread where he said: concept is a broader stroke version. He gave an example:

“JAWS is a small community menaced by a giant something...”

What he means by “a giant something” is that concepts are general, where that “giant something menace” of a story could be anything. Not just a shark.
Talk about clutching at straws. The movie "Jaws" was about a shark menacing a New England resort community. This was not a "general concept." And Neal Stevens already made it clear in that he looks at premise and loglines as both telling you "what the movie about." With Jaws, the movie was about "A New England Resort Community is menaced by a great white shark." Can't get much simpler and clearer than that.

Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
nmstevens continued in post #35 with: The story premise/log line of these movies are more specific.
Yeah, what made it specific is that the "giant something" in the concept turned out to be "great white shark" in the logline. Whoop-dee-doo. What a difference that makes!

Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
Centos, if post #35 doesn’t convince you of nmstevens updated opinion on loglines, let me give you another of his recent opinions from another thread during a logline discussion.

nmstevens says:

“If I were to offer any advice about log lines, I would ask people to ask a few basic questions about their stories. Who is it about? What is it about? What is it about your script that makes it special and unique? That doesn’t add up to any formula, but if you can figure out how to convey those things in around a sentence, you’ll be well on the way to crafting a decent log line.”
Yep, he said that in one of the quotes I posted — or words very nearly the same. In other words he still says the same about loglines that he's always said. A logline is what the movie is about, the problem that needs to be solved.

I.e., "A New England Resort Community is menaced by a great white shark."

Again his comments on this...

A logline is a statement of the premise. The premise is the central problem of the story. ...

A New England Resort Community is menaced by a great white shark.

That's the problem. That's what the Chief, and Hooper, and Quint, and everybody else in the story, has to deal with.

The logline doesn't have to tell us about the Chief being afraid of water, or his failing to stick to his guns and feeling guilty when the
little kid got eaten, or about Quint wanting vengeance because of the Indianapolis. All that falls under into the category of how the
various characters react to the problem.

The logline can't tell you the whole story. It's not supposed to. It's supposed to tell you what the "idea" of the story is -- and the "idea" of the story is it's central problem.
I don't even know if you agree with this is disagree with it anymore. Seems pretty simple to me.

A logline is "what your movie is about" expressed in a sentence or two. It took me a long time to figure out the formula for a good log line. Here it is: A good line states the problem of the movie. That's what the movie's about. —NMS
Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
Jeff Lowell’s advice on constructing loglines to writers was to provide a link to what he believed was strong advice on how to construct an effective logline.

Centos and Bono can you guess the link that Jeff Lowell provided? I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with heart:

Well, the closest I can find to Jeff Lowell quoting Christopher Lockhart (from your post #35 in the "other" thread is actually Jeff Lowell quoting John August) —

In Hollywood, premise commonly means “What the movie is about.” It’s a very short pitch, basically interchangeable with logline. The premise of Die Hard is that a cop has to stop a band of robbers by himself in an office tower. The premise of Armageddon is that an asteroid is headed towards Earth, and a team of misfits has to stop it.
So, I'm trying to figure out how this is different than what Neal Stevens wrote about premise and logline both being, essentially, what the movie is about. Are we actually agreeing here, because (honestly) I'm confused as to what the hell we're yammering on about anymore. There was a reason I ignored your #35 post in the "other" thread, it looked kind of crank-ish. If you can write something in one or two paragraphs, telling me where I "missed your point," please do so. Because I'm not seeing it, but you seem really upset about my Neal Steven quotes for some reason.

As for Christopher Lockhart... you appear to be a fan. That's nice. I don't know much about him. His IMDB writing credits include one infomercial for his own product and a documentary about the high school version of the Grammy Awards. I'm aware that what appears on IMDB doesn't always tell the whole story but I'm not ready to accept that his word is the "standard" in Hollywood. It looks like he does "toot his own horn" quite a bit though.

Oh, and my "old" quotes from Neal Stevens... (which look a lot like the new quotes from John August)...

If you're looking for loglines, you can go to "Done Deal" -- it lists log lines (or something close to log lines) for recent script sales -- hundreds of them.

A log line is simply the premise of a movie in a sentence or two. The "premise" is the central problem of the story. —2002

A logline is a statement of the premise. The premise is the central problem of the story. —2001

The log line is a one or two line description of the premise of a film. The premise of a film is its central problem. —2000

If you find it hard to do this, just remember one thing. A logline is the statement of the central "problem" of a story. You don't even have to introduce the protagonist in the log line. Just state the problem of the movie. —1999

In Hollywood terms there's a thing known as a "logline" -- basically, it's the premise of the movie reduced down to a couple sentences -- preferably one sentence. —2007

"Jaws" isn't about Chief Brody being afraid of the water. It isn't even about Chief Brody trying to get redemption after he causes the
death of a young boy. It's about a resort town being menaced by a great white shark. That's it. The shark. That's what the movie is
about. All that other stuff is incidental. That's not to say that it isn't important. But it's not central.

The logline tells us what is central -- the one central problem that drives the whole engine of your story. —2004

A logline shouldn't have to give away any significant twist, or mystery, because, as I've said before, loglines simply describe the
premise -- that's what we're talking about when we talk about "what the movie is about."

"Sixth Sense" is *about* a psychiatrist trying to help a child who can see and communicate with the dead. The fact that he may not realize it until late is beside the point -- that's the "problem" that he is driven to solve throughout the course of the movie -- a problem that the viewer is almost immediately aware of. —2002

Look -- a lot of people have taken a lot of time telling this to you. There's nothing to argue about. There's no "difference of opinion"
about what a logline is or what it's for. It's a very particular thing. In my time, I've written scores of them, and read thousands of

Whether you call it the premise, the idea, "what the movie is about," the "central problem" -- it's all the same thing. —2002

Etc., etc.
I don't think Neal Stevens has changed his opinion about what a logline is. I can't go much further forward in misc.writing.screenplays (and the moderated version) as they pretty much went away about 15 years ago.
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.
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