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Old 05-09-2019, 01:50 PM   #11
nativeson
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by Centos View Post
How about...

John Mechanic, who spends twenty years trying to perfect a 28 word logline, finally throws in the towel and finds unexpected joy when he actually writes a screenplay.

Revised version ...

After a frustrated writer spends twenty years trying to perfect a 28 word logline, he throws in the towel and finds unexpected joy by actually writing a screenplay.
Take that sh*t back to reddit
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:33 PM   #12
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Take that sh*t back to reddit
I posted it here first, so I guess Reddit wants me to "take my sh*t back here."
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Logs are necessary, they're it's still a really stupid way to do business. Talk about judging a book by its cover.
My main problem with loglines is that, for some, they're an end unto themselves. A logline is supposed to be a means to an end. It's supposed to be attached to a script (either a finished script or at least one the writer is working on). So many people just use them as "trial balloons." I think of a logline as an attention grabber, something that gets your interest and makes you want to look further into the story. But there's no way you're going to get the whole screenplay capsulized in 28 words. If you try, it's going to read like a convoluted mess — and so many loglines DO read like a convoluted mess. And how many times does someone post a logline here, gets it hashed around, "improved," etc., and then immediately they start over with another logline... and then another... and then...

I also don't think a logline should be your "north star" to "keep you focused." Huh? You're investing months into writing a screenplay, but you can't remember what your screenplay "is about" until you refocus on your logline? Really?

(I'm not directing these comments at you, BTW, just my general opinions on loglines and how — in my opinion — the whole concept is misused.)

I don't know where the idea that a logline is where you should start a screenplay came from, but my personal opinion (for what it's worth) is that a logline should be written AFTER the screenplay is done.
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Is the 28-word logline limit the new rule? Maybe I'm revealing my age but I remember back when the limit was 35 words. I'm in the "no rule" camp -- write a log that reveals the conflict and don't worry about word count.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Is the 28-word logline limit the new rule? Maybe I'm revealing my age but I remember back when the limit was 35 words. I'm in the "no rule" camp -- write a log that reveals the conflict and don't worry about word count.
No, not that I know about anyhow. 28 was just an arbitrary number I came up with, but I don't think it's far off the mark.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:28 PM   #16
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Back in my day (lol) a 25-word limit was quoted, or indeed 1 sentence.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:18 AM   #17
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Back in my day (lol) a 25-word limit was quoted, or indeed 1 sentence.
There's no "rule" but there is a "Hollywood standard" (sorry, Centos), an expectation.

sc111's advice of "don't worry about the word count" is dangerous advice to give to new writers. They tend to overwrite and now sc111 is giving them the okay to go for it if they believe it works. New writers need to learn discipline, and then once achieved, they can go for it, knowingly.

The industry would like a logline to be concise. They receive like around fifty query's a day. They immediately want to see the pitch and move on. They don't want to spend valuable time and energy reading a synopsis type paragraph.

The Industry feels high concepts are simple plot driven stories, so they believe it shouldn't take more than 25 words in one sentence to get the essence of the story across and for the majority of high concept pitches a 25 word, or less logline sentence can be achieved.

Look at the "What is the difference" thread where John August wrote a 15 word logline pitch for both DIE HARD and ARMAGEDDON.

The Industry understands a character driven story may be more complex where it would need more than 25 words to get the essence of the story across. They believe up to 35 words in one or two sentences should be sufficient.

The Industry will tolerate a one or two sentence logline up to 50 words, especially if all those words were really, really, necessary.

I have a logline written for a high concept action adventure that I'm now completing and no way could I write it out in 25 words, or less. It contains two protagonists with their own parallel storylines after the Inciting Incident happens until they find each other at the end of Act 2.

The logline contains 42 words in one sentence. If I keep the most important protagonist and drop the other protagonist from the logline, my logline would be more concise with 35 words, but I think it's more effective with the other protagonist, so, for me, I would embrace sc111's advice of "don't worry about the word count."

When it comes the time where I'm able to post the logline for feedback, you all will see what I'm talking about and you could give me your opinions.

Yes, there are no "rules" on how many words and sentences a logline has to be, but three or more sentences with over 50 plus words, for sure, the writer is gonna piss off some Industry people, so you've been warned. Take note and proceed at your own peril
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

There is no movie jail, you guys need to relax. dangerous and peril? Ha ha. There is no right word count for a logline, but I prefer and most prefer it to be 1 SENTENCE LONG. If a writer thinks one sentence is 125 words, than that's on them.

But if you write 2 great sentences and your logline works, then so be it. The answer will be clear when you tell others your logline and see the reaction. If you query and people say "Yup I'll read that" you wrote your logline correctly.

Like anything. They "rule" is a script should be 90 pages (1 page per minute) and no more than 120 pages (2 hours). Well is it just me -- but it seems movies are getting longer and longer, thus meaning scritps are longer and longer...

But it's a good rule of thumb for new writers, shorter is best. For comedy writers, I find if my script is more than 110 pages, I ****KED UP.

That's what I learned by reading scripts. But if you write a script with 121 pages... guess what -- you won't be killed at the stake!
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:49 AM   #19
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by Centos View Post
I also don't think a logline should be your "north star" to "keep you focused." Huh? You're investing months into writing a screenplay, but you can't remember what your screenplay "is about" until you refocus on your logline? Really?

I don't know where the idea that a logline is where you should start a screenplay came from, but my personal opinion (for what it's worth) is that a logline should be written AFTER the screenplay is done.
The idea that a logline should also be used to guide you as you write a screenplay came from Larry Logmire.

Only kidding.

But a logline at the start works for some writers.

Say you have a premise or idea that inspires you to write a story. Such a story can take many routs as far as characters, plot, etc.

Because a story of a vicious shark terrorizing a beach town can be written in any of a number of ways, a logline at the beginning helps you develop your story. With the right ingredients, the logline will keep you focused on your particular story. This logline can change as you write the story.

Just my two cents.
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Old 05-10-2019, 12:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Gee, Joe. I wouldn't want to put anyone in danger.

But it seems to me setting a 25 word limit is equally misleading.

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.

I also think it's misleading to use produced classic or iconic films everyone has seen to discuss loglines. Our brains fill in the details. I could probably write a terse logline for, let's say, The Godfather, and it would seem perfect because virtually everyone is aware of the film's storyline.

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.
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