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Old 05-10-2019, 01:42 PM   #21
JoeNYC
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by sc111 View Post
If you have a high concept like, let's say Seven, sure. You could probably do that in less than 25 words because the hook is a serial killer inspired by the 7 deadly sins of the bible.

But most original spec scripts aren't high concept.

Writing a log for an unknown gangster script and unknown characters is far more challenging. As evidenced by the logline section here.

Imo, if it takes two sentences to communicate the concept, the time it takes to read 25 words verses, gasp, 50 words, is negligible.
Yes, most original, non-pro scripts aren't high concept, but this doesn't mean it's expected for the logline to be a 35 to 50 word two sentence logline. There are sites where sometimes they get agents and managers to volunteer their time to judge writer's original loglines and you should see what these professionals say about loglines with just 35 words: "It's overwritten." Overwritten." "Overwritten."

I'm just passing on what respectable agents and managers have said about loglines. Does this mean I'm gonna strip my logline down to achieve 25 words when I feel it would hurt the effectiveness of what I wanted to express? No, I wouldn't, but I'll never send out a logline over 50 words.

That's for a one or two paragraph summary/synopsis, but I don't suggest for a writer to add this to their query unless asked for.
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:17 PM   #22
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

"If I Had More Time, I Would Have Written a Shorter Letter." -- Mark Twain (or maybe it was someone else really but he gets credit a lot).

I prefer 1 sentence, as few words as possible. I think 90% of the time you can do that. But if you have certain ideas, maybe it reads better as 2 sentences, that hopefully connect. But again, really try to make it 1, but there is no movie jail just what most prefer.

And the best reason to make it 1 sentence over 2 - is people are lazy and busy. Quicker they can read it, the quicker than can email "Yes, Please send." If they get a query that's 1000 words vs 100 words, they probably will just hit delete on the first one. 100 words may be too many too... but don't count them...

I believe in Guidelines over rules. I believe in reality and what works for you over what works for others. And yes generally the same things that work for me also will work for Joe and Sc and the mangers on the other side...
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Old 05-10-2019, 04:35 PM   #23
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

So I decided to google what pro screenwriters say about loglines and came across a recent John August, Craig Mazin and Andrea Berloff Podcast where logs were mentioned in passing. I thought this was funny:
John: Craig, it occurs to me that with this weekly feature memo people will be looking at loglines and you and I are always so dismissive of loglines.

Craig: Correct.

John: And now people are going to have to write loglines.

Craig: Well they’re the worst and my logline would just be like “Seriously, just…”

Andrea: “Just read the script.”

Craig: “Just read the script.” Just read five pages and if you don’t like them throw it out. There’s the logline. There is no logline. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Read five pages.

Andrea: But it does. It does matter. People say what is your movie about.

Craig: I know. They should stop it.

Andrea: Well.

Craig: And you should just keep saying to them read five pages. If you don’t like them it’s not going to be for you. And if you do you’ll keep reading. And eventually you might get to a point where you go oh here’s where I realize I don’t like this. But the logline will never – because I can tell you, I can give you terrible…

Here’s a logline. The son of a mobster struggles with the legacy of his family and the direction of his own life. Well that’s The Godfather. That’s terrible.

Andrea: I know.

Craig: Yeah, so anyway, read five pages.

Andrea: OK. I’ll tell them.
Link: https://johnaugust.com/2019/scriptno...ode-transcript
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:01 AM   #24
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

He's right, that was a terrible logline for The Godfather.
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Old 05-11-2019, 04:46 AM   #25
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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He's right, that was a terrible logline for The Godfather.
Am I the only one in the world who has never seen any of the Godfather movies? Zero interest.
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Old 05-11-2019, 04:57 AM   #26
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Oh I can recall having zero interest in The Godfather also, until I glanced again and the sumbitch sucked me right in. Some of the greatest actors of their generations, delivering some of the greatest dialogue written, and filmed by a master. By all means continue to avoid it, each to their own tastes.
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Old 05-11-2019, 05:47 AM   #27
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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There are sites where sometimes they get agents and managers to volunteer their time to judge writer's original loglines and you should see what these professionals say about loglines with just 35 words: "It's overwritten." Overwritten." "Overwritten."

I'm just passing on what respectable agents and managers have said about loglines.
Good point, Joe. Hey, isn’t that the only reason to write a logline for a finished screenplay? Isn't a logline a tool used to convince somebody who can do something with our pages to read them?

What does that audience want to know about out masterpiece and how much time will they give us to tell them? Know that, and a good logline will be a piece of cake.

What should we say that will convince somebody who can do something to read our masterpiece? Maybe we need different loglines, depending on whom we are soliciting. A particular manager, director, production company, producer, or actor who can push it. Should we emphasize the Protag? The Antag? The genre? The Protags goal? The setting? Something else?
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:29 AM   #28
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

I still want to talk about

1. Logline for you to write your script and pitch to your fellow writers

vs

2. Selling Logline (whatever makes the thing sound awesome and can't wait to read that sucker)

They might be the same exact logline. But they may not be.

Here's something I did a lot. I didn't do Die Hard Meets Clerks, although just typing that I'm ready to write it!!!

I did though stuff like under my logline I'd write

An R-Rated Wizard of Oz

Not always, but when a popular movie could help us sell a script, I did it.

Anyway... to me logline is a tool to help you write the correct story and see if your story is any good and then it becomes solely a selling tool after you're done. It evolves, adapts.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:44 AM   #29
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

I also want to talk about What Is The Logline Telling Us about our story?

Because we spend a lot of time helping each other out in the logline forum and the frankly most of them start over the years I've read them as terrible loglines. And most of the time they are terrible is because the story isn't going to be a good script either. If you can't even get out a clear logline, you don't know what the story is and trust me, the script will be a mess. It's not worth it.

This is the time to figure that out. Before you write 1 word.

I've done all these mistakes too. I'm not talking from a high horse, I'm talking for the Pony I barely climbed my fat ass onto.

So we keep arguing about how to write the logline, word counts, yada yada -- but let's focus on what it's supposed to be doing for us. It's there to help us BREAK the story.

I don't know about you, but most of the time I have an idea , I"m leaving out the Act 2 of the story. I'm seeing the great Act I, the funny moments in a comedy and the ending probably. But not the 50 pages in the middle that is the hardest part. And the logline is great at helping you figure out what the Act 2 engine is going to be about.

Because most loglines are like this after writer excted about new idea, so they pitch this to their writing partner or friend or DD...


A normal guy gets superpowers


Awesome, cool, I love that idea... but what happens in Act 2? What's the movie about?

So then you have to think about it. Maybe for hours. Days. Weeks. Trying different ideas until you choose something. I thought about this for 4 minutes, so let's so what comes first.

An average loser guy gets superpowers and starts getting the respect of the town for once after he saves a bunch of kids which goes great until everyone in town demands his help 24/7 for all their issues and he wishes he could just go back to being normal again.

Now we can all see what the movie may be. It's not perfect logline by any means, still questions, but it's better than the first one. And you want to test out different takes now before writing...

Take 2....



A normal guy gets superpowers and he's loving all the attention and fame in his small town until a true bad guy shows up who steals his superpowers and he's forced to save the day without them.


It can be anything at this stage...
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:12 AM   #30
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by sc111 View Post
John: And now people are going to have to write loglines.

Craig: Well they’re the worst and my logline would just be like “Seriously, just…”

Andrea: “Just read the script.”

Craig: “Just read the script.” Just read five pages and if you don’t like them throw it out. There’s the logline. There is no logline. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Read five pages.

Craig: And you should just keep saying to them read five pages. If you don’t like them it’s not going to be for you. And if you do you’ll keep reading. And eventually you might get to a point where you go oh here’s where I realize I don’t like this. But the logline will never – because I can tell you, I can give you terrible…

Here’s a logline. The son of a mobster struggles with the legacy of his family and the direction of his own life. Well that’s The Godfather. That’s terrible.
Jonpiper, if a writer has a strong and compelling logline that clearly expresses the “A” throughline of the story, then the only specific type of targeting he would have to do is pitching it to the right Industry people who would be interested in his story.

In the highlighted passage of this post, there’s no arguing with John August and Craig Mazin’s take on if you wanna know what the story is about and whether, or not you’re gonna like it, then read the first 5 pages and keep reading until you get to the point where you realize you don’t like it, or you do like it.

This is the truest way to judge the worth of a story. Not by the logline.

Even though reading the script is better to judge a story’s worth than a logline, there is a benefit of constructing and pitching a well oiled logline.

For time, energy and legal reasons, Industry people can’t read the opening 5 pages, let alone the entire script of every writer with a completed screenplay, so the next best thing a writer could do is to entice them with a logline to see if his premise captures their interest, where they’ll think it may be worth their time to request and read his script.

The Industry people are comfortable with this approach because reading a well written 25 to 35 word logline is quick and efficient, and also because a premise is not copyrightable and their was no agreement in the email communications between the writer and the Industry person stating that if they used his premise he expected to be compensated, there’s no legal issues to be concerned about.

Craig points out that the danger of this approach, where if a writer writes a terrible logline, it wouldn’t get across the fact that the writer has a great screenplay and he gives an example of a terrible logline for the great film, THE GODFATHER:

“The son of a mobster struggles with the legacy of his family and the direction of his own life.”

Yikes! Craig’s right. This is terrible, but note how to ensure he got his point across about a logline being uninteresting he included the protagonist’s internal struggle in the logline: “struggles with ... the direction of his own life.”

If a writer happens to write a terrible logline to an Industry person, finalact4, in the “What is the difference” thread said it best with: “...they’re going to think the writer can’t execute a story, because surely if he could, he would’ve written a killer logline.”

So, I suggest to learn and practice how to write an effective and compelling logline, because once you do, you won’t have any worries of sending a “terrible” logline to an Industry person for your great story.

THE GODFATHER logline:

After a failed assassination attempt on a Mafia Don by another crime family, his reluctant, war hero son must seek revenge and protect the family’s criminal empire.

Well, Bono, it looks like some members were still interested in discussing loglines after all -- AGAIN you've made a liar out of me!

Last edited by JoeNYC : 05-11-2019 at 10:34 AM.
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