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Old 05-23-2019, 07:49 PM   #91
nmstevens
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
Joe, you said, ďWith a logline having at least the three basic elements, I believe an industry person would have no other reason but the concept itself not interesting them, rather than an incomplete logline not getting across to them the ďAĒ throughline of the story.Ē

Joe, your whole argument seems grounded on yours and Michael Bís opinions that some ďindustry peopleĒ would be turned off by any logline that lacked a protagonist and the protagonistís goal. They would refuse to read your screenplay based on that assumption.

You are entitled to your opinion. Is it supported by reality? Do Readers and Industry decision makers refuse to request screenplays when the logline submitted with the query lacks a protagonist and the protagonistís goal.

I think that industry professionals simply want to know what the movie is going to be about. Since the overwhelming majority of consist, centrally, of a protagonist, an antagonist, and a goal -- that's sort of just a basic story, then you kind of need that to get just the basic idea of what the story.

Usually, but not always.

All I really have to do is write down these two words -- Daddy Daycare - and any Development executive will immediately get what this story is about.

No antagonist. No protagonist. NO anything, really. But we all get it.

It's going to be about a bunch of hapless dads (fill in whatever groups of comic actors are bankable) trying to care of a bunch of unruly kids and -- mayhem follows.

So, in some broad sense, you can say that the Daddy(s) are the protagonist(s) -- the implied kids are the antagonists, sort of -- and the situation of their running a day care center is the goal -- then sure. It's all sort of there in those two words.

The point is, though, you instaneously know what this movie is about in two words.

So come up with another two words that convey what some story or other is about as succinctly and you too may have the keys to the kingdom -- provided, of course, that you can actually then sit down and write the script based off those two words.

NMS
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:09 AM   #92
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

I'm not looking to jump into this ongoing fray but I feel like I have to at least note a few things...

Readers don’t request scripts. I’m not saying one never has, but what I’m noting is, that’s not their job. Readers are given/sent scripts and it is their job to do proper coverage on it. How do I know this? I’ve been doing over 30 years professionally for all sorts of people, companies and even two cable networks. (I won’t bore all with details.)

Will creative decision makers pass on your script being submitted because the logline isn’t well done? Sure. They absolutely will. I want to know or at least have a good sense of who the protagonist is and what their goal is, or better yet, what “problem” they are facing and have to deal with. I’ve written many, many, many loglines in my career for coverage and I’ve read thousands more via queries. And I’ve also posted & read over 30,000 loglines for the main site.

A good logline is simply a sentence(s) that describe what takes place in the story. That’s it. When I and so many others do coverage it’s not our job to make your story/script sound interesting. Loglines should be written without bias. That’s what a good logline is. It’s not something that “tricks” people into requesting your script. It simply states what the most basic elements are. My thoughts & take on the script go into the COMMENTS section and where I note RECOMMEND, CONSIDER or PASS -- or some variation of those three.

If you write up a proper logline that “accurately” describes what happens – even with the little detail “allowed” in a logline, if you will – then what was needed to be done was done. If someone passes on a well-formed logline, then it’s because they don’t care for your story. That’s it. It’s not because the logline was bad; it’s because your story sounds bad/weak and/or of no interest to them. It can still technically be a “good” logline in that it does what it’s supposed to do and accurately describes the who & what of the script. A well-written, "accurate," clear logline and good script are two different things.

Anyone that says there is not a fairly standard way of writing a logline, does not know what they are talking about. Now, whether they or you want to follow that way or not, is up to them/you. Do whatever you want. Be a rebel. But keep in mind, no one turns away a script because the logline was done correctly and they like the idea of what the story sounds like. They turn down request to submit a script because the logline is not really a logline, it’s terribly convoluted, and/or again, the story isn’t for them. The latter is frequently the biggest reason for not requesting something based off a logline. (I just read about 15 loglines queries sent to me.)

People try to be cute using taglines as loglines: “They’ll never hear you scream.” Don’t want that. People try to be overly clever & mysterious in hopes of getting you to think, “I must know what happens,” but that’s generally not wise either. If you need help with a logline then write up what you think it should be. Send the script to a few friends and have them read the entire script. THEN send them your logline to see if friends concur and/or might offer suggestions. You might need to emphasize something a little more or even downplay something else to help make your logline stronger. But as long as it captures your story correctly, then it’s a good logline. Your script/story might suck, but technically speaking the logline captures it properly. The story/script not being good or well written is a totally different problem from logline. (Not suggesting you shouldn't use good adjectives or adverbs to liven it up, especially for a query.)

And last I'm going to have to somewhat respectively disagree with NMS. Don't just send in a two or three word title. DADDY DAY CARE doesn't tell me enough. I could easily think it's a day care for stay at home, "deadbeat" dads who need supervision and whose wives want them to be responsible and not goof around all day. OR maybe it's a story about a working couple and the wife's dad lives with them. They are afraid to leave the old man home alone so they drop him off at "daddy" day care for elder parents -- "Going in Style" meets "Grumpy Old Men." The title is fun of course, and great titles help a good deal. But the actual logline for the movie should be used with that title in your query: "After two men get laid off from work and become stay-at-home dads, they are inspired to open their own day-care center." That tells me infinitely more than just a three word title. Be clear IF you are querying someone. I say, don't leave room for me or anyone else to wonder about or misinterpret your actual story. Again, up to you.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:33 AM   #93
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by Done Deal Pro View Post
If someone passes on a well-formed logline, then itís because they donít care for your story. Thatís it. Itís not because the logline was bad; itís because your story sounds bad/weak and/or of no interest to them.
would you say a lot if not all production companies are looking for a certain type of script to package with an actor or a specific hot arch type to sell?

what type of notes are you getting?
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:51 AM   #94
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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would you say a lot if not all production companies are looking for a certain type of script to package with an actor or a specific hot arch type to sell?

what type of notes are you getting?
I don't want to suggest or claim I'm some expert with his fingers on the pulse of the industry, but a lot is going to depend on who you are querying.

Certain companies will approach it from different ways. A studio will buy a project even if an actor isn't attached, because they are a studio and they can eventually get someone in the vast majority of the cases since they have deep pockets.

Smaller companies are going to look at different factors, but yes, they too are going to want to think a good deal about who is going to star in it, if they want to make their money back and/or are looking for financing. If they have all their own money, then they will either option or buy your script and then put things together from there. Casting wish lists are generated all the time. I've helped do them for people I have worked for & with. At the end of the day, a studio and/or financier will have lot to say about who is cast before they greenlight the film -- same with a network. Maybe even more so sometimes with a network.

As a/the writer, write what you are passionate about and make your script really good. Let the producers worry about the rest. Target companies based more their having produced similar genres as much as anything. They will figure out the packing based on their needs and desires. Sure, if you as the writer can get Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts attached, that would help immensely, but that probably isn't going to happen. If your script is actor bait, terrific. A role someone would kill to play. Great.

From what I've seen, companies look for specific material & genres based on the focus of their company. They are looking for really good scripts. They will generally figure out the rest. Though, smaller companies that make a lot of say genre action films, for example, might have a stable of actors they love working with who "guarantee" them a certain return, so they will look for projects for them maybe more than anything else. And that can change based on their relationship with the actor(s) and the marketplace.

I'm sure there are some others than can chime in as well and maybe even offer more. But hope this can help a bit, at least.
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:26 PM   #95
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

I appreciate all perspectives and it sounds like you have a lot of experience and knowledge to pass on...
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:03 PM   #96
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by nmstevens View Post
All I really have to do is write down these two words -- Daddy Daycare - and any Development executive will immediately get what this story is about.

No antagonist. No protagonist. NO anything, really. But we all get it.
Well, it looks like I was mistaken on what nmstevensí opinion was for writing effective loglines.

With his example of DADDY DAY CARE, nmstevens is looking to be innovative and creative by thinking outside-the-box, which is great as long as it works, but, in this case, in my opinion, it doesnít work.

nmstevens implies that the two word title (actually itís three), DADDY DAY CARE, is strong and effective enough, where an industry person "will immediately get what this story is about," which I guess enticing him to request your script.

He says, ďyou instaneously know what the movie is about in two words. ... Itís going to be about a bunch of hapless dads ... trying to care of a bunch of unruly kids and -- mayhem follows.Ē

nmstevens is overlooking an important aspect, which Bono and dp have pointed out in past posts: We only know of these details because this movie was produced and seen, grossing $165,000,000.

If someone is gonna use a commercially successful film as an example, they must understand an industry person is gonna judge the logline as is, an unknown commodity, and not from the known movie. Hypothetically, the movie doesnít exist to see the details clearly. The details must be present, or at least implied.

The title of DADDY DAY CARE is too general and doesnít give enough information to be used as an effective logline to entice an industry person to request a script.

nmstevens says, ďDADDYĒ implies itís gonna be about a bunch of hapless dads. ďDADDYĒ is not plural, so I donít see ďa bunch of dadsĒ element getting across to the industry person. In fact, the movie/story is actually about two laid off dads.

nmstevens says, ďday careĒ implies the caring for a bunch of kids. This is an assumption after the fact (movie being released).

Thereís a movie called GRANDPA DAY CARE where itís a day care for seniors. With the title of DADDY DAY CARE, someone might assume wrongly that itís a day care for daddies.

Also, with only using DADDY DAY CARE to entice an industry person to request your script, youíre missing an important element, which expresses a antagonist and conflict: the conniving owner of an exclusive day care center, striving to shut them down.

DADDY DAY CARE logline:

When two stay-at-home dads start a day care center to earn some income, they must deal with endless red tape instigated by a scheming owner of a high-priced day care center, aiming to shut them down.

I believe the logline expressing the ďAĒ throughline of the story will be more effective in enticing an industry person to request your script than the three word title of DADDY DAY CARE.

This is just my opinion. Who am I? Iím not Steve Zaillian. Iíve never sold a screenplay. Iíve never had a job in the industry. Iím just a guy, sitting at my computer, typing some stuff out that Iíve learned over the years from some very knowledgeable people, so donít take my word for whatís best.

Youíll just have to go by what you believe works for you.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:30 AM   #97
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by Done Deal Pro View Post
And last I'm going to have to somewhat respectively disagree with NMS. Don't just send in a two or three word title. DADDY DAY CARE doesn't tell me enough. I could easily think it's a day care for stay at home, "deadbeat" dads who need supervision and whose wives want them to be responsible and not goof around all day. OR maybe it's a story about a working couple and the wife's dad lives with them. They are afraid to leave the old man home alone so they drop him off at "daddy" day care for elder parents -- "Going in Style" meets "Grumpy Old Men." The title is fun of course, and great titles help a good deal. But the actual logline for the movie should be used with that title in your query: "After two men get laid off from work and become stay-at-home dads, they are inspired to open their own day-care center." That tells me infinitely more than just a three word title. Be clear IF you are querying someone. I say, don't leave room for me or anyone else to wonder about or misinterpret your actual story. Again, up to you.
I'm not sure how it worked for the majority of people, but when I read the title "Daddy Day Care", I instantly knew what the story was about and that I really wasn't interested in watching it.

One night, when I was looking for something to watch, where I was looking had pretty slim pickings, so I watched this. It turns out that my original thoughts were right.

But I get your point.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:39 AM   #98
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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I instantly knew what the story was about … But I get your point.
StoryWriter is addressing Done Deal Pro’s (Will) post of “Don’t send in a two or three word title. DADDY DAY CARE doesn’t tell me enough.”

I’m glad StoryWriter posted this, because it makes me realize I need to clarify something.

In my post to nmstevens, I got that he wanted to get across an alternative, which is why I brought up how I thought it was great that he was thinking creatively to propose something instead of the standard, but, as far as the example he proposed, it came up short from being 100% effective for reasons I explained in my previously post.

I’m thinking that my previous posts about alternative loglines that were proposed by nmstevens, Bono, sc111, Centos, jonpiper and manfredlopez, where I gave my opinion on why they weren’t effective, may have given the wrong impression that I’m only for writing the Hollywood standard logline. I’m not, with the caveat -- as long as they work.

The majority of pitches for a writer’s screenplay, either written with a query letter, or verbally in a chance encounter with an industry person, will be expressed in the standard/expected logline format that’ll include at least the basic elements of the protagonist, his goal and the antagonist force.

In order to stand out from the hundreds of other query letters, a logline must be well-written with, as nmstevens suggested, a unique selling point.

Another way for a writer to stand out from the bunch, is to be creative by presenting an alternative pitch instead of the normal standard logline.

Writers are creative individuals, and what better way to impress an industry person than with a writer’s creativity.

For example, I’ve heard of a writer who presented a query like a scene in a script, where the agent that the query is addressed to is a character in the scene:

INT. WILLIAM MORRIS ENDEAVOR - AGENT GOLDMAN’S OFFICE - DAY

-- sc111 proposed sending the opening page instead of the logline. For this to work the opening page, if it were a comedy, would really have to possess some unique, funny dialogue. If it were an action story, opening one page, some extraordinary, unique action that we’ve never seen before, etc.

For a two or three word title, or high concept only to work, where it’s effective, it would have to get across 100% of the essence of the story. Not just the antagonist and setting.

A title and concept that I could think of that might achieve this would be FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS.

You send this title to an industry person with romantic comedy credits, they’ll immediately get this because the title is a well known euphemism that means: “a friend with whom one has sex without a romantic relationship or commitment.”

This is -- in its essence -- the movie.

Protagonists: male and female. (Going with the norm of heterosexual. If it wasn’t the norm, then gay men, or female couple would be written out in a standard logline.)

Protagonist’s Goal: sex between friends without the emotional commitment.

Antagonist Force: Themselves. They struggle to keep their developing emotions for each other in check. (From an industry person's experience, I'm assuming they'll know that this is the intended conflict.)

There’s another romantic comedy that possesses the same concept as FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS that’s titled: NO STRINGS ATTACHED. This title, though it has the same concept, could not be used as a stand alone pitch because it’s too general/vague.

Personally, even though I believe the three word title of FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS is strong enough to work alone in enticing a read request, I would write it and pitch in the standard logline format to get across more about the characters, such as in the following logline:

When an emotionally damaged headhunter finds her client, an emotionally unavailable art director, a head position at GQ magazine, they become fast friends and hook up, agreeing it’s just sex -- no emotional entanglements.

The powerful title of FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS enhances the informative logline, which all titles should do, if possible.

If a title couldn’t be used as a stand alone pitch, there’s another possibility to use the title in a creative and alternative way, which is by setting it up.

This is demonstrated with the following query letter example:

Dear Agent’s Name:

What if a chauvinistic ad executive can read women’s minds...

WHAT WOMEN WANT

A Page International Screenwriter Awards’ Gold Prize Winner in the comedy category.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Writer’s Name

There are other creative alternatives, but whichever way you choose to pitch the industry person, standard logline, or an alternative pitch, I strongly suggest that you send it out for feedback in order to see how it would play before you send it off to an industry person.
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