Originally Posted by Bono
"I guess I just did what I saw the other writers do before me, sir."
And what exactly is wrong with this statement. Isn’t it wise for a newbie to listen to experienced pro and non-pro writers to gain knowledge on what works? What is effective? In any aspect in learning the craft of screenwriting?
Bono, on two different occasions I gave you two example loglines and asked for your opinion on which one do you believe is the most effective, but you danced around and never gave me a direct answer.
I’m gonna try one more time and if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you to please tell me, in your opinion, which logline, “A” or “B,” would be the most effective in enticing an industry person to request a writer’s screenplay.
This is the scenario:
A writer hypothetically wrote an original screenplay titled JAWS. He sends off query letters with JAWS in the subject line. The industry person sees this strong title and his interest is aroused, but the title is too general. JAWS could refer to anything, so he goes into the body of the email for the premise/logline.
The logline is the King of the query letter. It’s heart. If the query letter’s heart isn’t strong, it’ll die a quick death.
A killer shark terrorizes a small resort town.
When swimmers are gruesomely killed in a resort town, the police chief must hunt and kill a monstrous white shark.
In my opinion, logline “A” is an attention grabber, but it only expresses the story’s high concept hook. It’s too general.
Is this story told in the POV of the shark, where the shark is a anti-hero of the story? If not, who is the protagonist? A mercenary? A doctor? A mother looking for revenge after the shark killed her daughter? What’s driving this story? The engine (goal)?
Too many unanswered questions where it’ll turn off some industry people where they won’t request the script. Why risk this?
I would choose logline “B” because it effectively expresses the story that I’ve written, though I would include the fourth element of the chief’s fear of the ocean because it expresses more obstacles/conflict to overcome and gives a hint of his transformation.
Bono, I get your beef/point: On what authority, or higher power that it says in order to write an effective logline it must include the protagonist, the protagonist’s goal, and the antagonist force?
If you admit that logline example “B” is the most effective logline, then you answered your own question. In the past, using these elements in a logline has proven to be effective in enticing an industry person to request a writer’s screenplay.
Does this mean this is the only way to write a logline? Of course not. There are no “rules.”
A writer has the free will to write a logline with just the high concept hook, or expressing the protagonist’s internal goal/journey, or write a logline with 60 plus words, or a logline that focuses on the story’s theme, etc., but with the caveat of -- as long as it works.
The thing is these type of loglines rarely work, where they are too weak, not clear or confusing, though there are exceptions.
When I was active on Zoetrope, a member gave an example logline with his theme of the story front and center which I thought worked quite well.