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Old 05-15-2019, 10:15 PM   #71
Bono
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N16YkjFVAyE

"Turn to the page in the screenwriting book all of Hollywood uses and agrees on where it tells us how to write the perfect logline every single time."

"There is no book, sir."

"Then how did you write your logline?"

"I guess I just did what I saw the other writers do before me, sir."

"No more questions."
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:03 AM   #72
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Quote:
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...

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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!

Quote:
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...

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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
Quote:
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:

“I WROTE A 120 PAGE SCRIPT BUT CAN’T WRITE A LOGLINE: THE CONSTRUCTION OF A LOGLINE by Christopher Lockhart.”
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) —

Quote:
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)...

Quote:
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
them.

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.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:43 AM   #73
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
"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.

Logline “A”:

A killer shark terrorizes a small resort town.

Logline “B”:

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.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:48 AM   #74
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by Centos View Post
Talk about clutching at straws.
Centos, you're entitled to your opinion.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:04 AM   #75
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Everyone knows every goddamn detail of JAWS. That's the only reason that short logline works. Because we already know about the chief, we know it's a friggin monster, we know people get eaten, we know about the shark hunter.

Is it really enough for a spec screenplay logline from an unknown aspiring screenwriter to say, "It's basically about this" with no details? Preposterous.

Anyone got anything sensible to say?
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:39 AM   #76
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by dpaterso View Post
Is it really enough for a spec screenplay logline from an unknown aspiring screenwriter to say, "It's basically about this" with no details? Preposterous.
Finally, another voice besides my own on this topic. Listening to only ME, I was beginning to bore myself and that's not easy because I love the sound of my own voice.

I gotta take a shot break from Done Deal and finish my screenplay.
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Old 05-16-2019, 01:46 PM   #77
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by dpaterso View Post
Everyone knows every goddamn detail of JAWS. That's the only reason that short logline works. ...
In my opinion, no, the logline (with the title) works on its own.

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

That's the movie in a nutshell — the problem that needs to be solved. What else do you need to know? I saw Jaws years ago (never really wanted to see it again). What do I remember about it? A huge shark going ballistic on the shores of a small town. I had completely forgotten that the police chief was afraid of water. That was side issue. The movie was about the shark.

Ditto for another of his examples...

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A lawyer discovers that he's actually working for Satan.
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Old 05-16-2019, 01:48 PM   #78
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
Centos, you're entitled to your opinion.
Well, thanks. I'll try to get to your long post a bit later and probably respond to it (unless I feel I've already said everything that I need to say).

(EDIT:I see the long response was to Bono, so good... done then.)
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Last edited by Centos : 05-16-2019 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 05-16-2019, 02:06 PM   #79
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

I didn't read any of this since my last post... I just saw a lot of back and forth and I really thought my great Few Good Men spoof would save the day, but to no avail. You guys are zero fun btw!!!

All I know is a lot of people are giving me the opinions of other pros or teachers or what have you... which is fine and great. And I never once said there was zero value or wisdom in their words. But that's step 1. Step 2-10 is trying to sell your work with your own logline!!!

I'm not a newbie. And I'm not worried about running a class and making sure every single post is a thesis statement on my thoughts about loglines with footnotes.

I'm giving you my opinion based on 20 years of learning what a logline is from many many sources, the biggest being writing my own and actually querying with them to see what works. Practice.

My friend is a doctor. He went to like 8 years of medical school and on his first day he said he didnt' know ****. Now 10 years later, he's just figuring out how to be a great doctor -- that's how it works! Some things you can't truly learn until you do them.

Arguing what logline is best for a movie that already is made, let alone a hit, is helpful for a book to teach a newbie what a logline is, but that's it. It's not helpful to me, you and world war 3 (Bono deep drop there...)

But how come some of you will listen to people with more experience than you, but that doesn't include me and other writers on this board who have found success writing loglines and getting read and getting repped and making some money to back up that I don't entirely stink?

Chris Lockhart for one never had to do what me and you will have to do. Write a spec and then write a logline to go sell it... So his opinion is fine, but it's not the same as when a writer goes from newbie to spec sale. (I know he had some movies now to his credit, but that's after 30 years of working at WME so he did not break in the way you will person reading this...)

And that's always always been my point. To win the logline argument is to prove it on the field. Not in the practice room. Go out there and do it, please.

This is for everyone. Go write your screenplays everyone. And focus on how to sell your script with a great logine for a movie no one has seen! No actors are in it! One that hasn't been on TV for over 40 years... That takes talent. We all can figure out a great logline for JAWS.

And something few people say is you can't write a great logline to a bad idea. The make great trailers out of terrible movies, but you can't put cool music until your logline or put a big name actor in it. All you have is the words. So consider that. You could have a perfect logline for a terrible movie idea. That gets left out a lot. Because when they give you loglines to only hit movies, that clouds your judgement that your logline to your script if I fill in the same _____ then I'm on the same level as those movies. No No No.

Now if I did my job right, I inspired 1 of you and pissed off the other 10 people reading this. I'll take the 1 as a win.

Good luck to all.

Thread drop.
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Old 05-16-2019, 02:32 PM   #80
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Quote:
Originally Posted by Centos View Post
Jaws:
A New England Resort Community is menaced by a great white shark.
Before JAWS no one even knew what a great white shark was. Hey was anyone actually there when JAWS got pitched? Is that the actual logline that was used? If no, maybe we should stop talking about it as if it's gospel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Centos View Post
Devil's Advocate:
A lawyer discovers that he's actually working for Satan.
They all work for Satan! But we all know it's Al Pacino and Keanu so that short logline also gets considerable extra help.

I am not convinced that loglines that size and lacking specific details are going to work for unknowns, but that's okay, you don't have to convince me. Feel free to prove me wrong, though.
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