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Old 05-11-2019, 10:34 AM   #31
catcon
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

I've heard that if you get a read request, that no matter the content of your fine logline and query and synopsis the PDF of the script gets sent to the reader WITHOUT the other components - even the logline you slaved over.

At least I've heard this of producers; not sure about managers/agents.

Anyway, that must be why the readers have to read 5 (used to be 10) pages before they're able to slough it off. Aw, poor babies. I guess it's also why they often have to compose their own logs and synopses, which seems awfully redundant to me.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:43 AM   #32
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by catcon View Post
I've heard that if you get a read request, that no matter the content of your fine logline and query and synopsis the PDF of the script gets sent to the reader WITHOUT the other components - even the logline you slaved over.
BUT if it wasn't for that fine logline that the writer slaved over, the industry person never would have sent it to their reader for coverage, or whatever.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:10 AM   #33
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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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!
I love making a liar out of Joe. And again I must point out that The Godfather was a book... so if they wrote that exact same story on spec, it would be hard to get reads. That's just the nature of this crazy business.

Now obviously FFC would have made it anyway and he was established, but i'm thinking of this from 2019 viewpoint and being unsold writers, not Coppola.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:31 AM   #34
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by catcon View Post
I've heard that if you get a read request, that no matter the content of your fine logline and query and synopsis the PDF of the script gets sent to the reader WITHOUT the other components - even the logline you slaved over.
BUT if it wasn't for that fine logline that the writer slaved over, the industry person never would have sent it to their reader for coverage, or whatever.
Right, loglines are important. I was just trying to wedge a point into the discussion that readers should get all associated material that the writer sends. Not only would this eliminate repetitive work on the reader's part (composing "another logline and synopsis"), but it might just help to get them into the story a bit more, so that they actually read 15 or 20+ pages of script before they give up.

This seems to me just to be another bit of nonsense in how this biz works, that's all.

Last edited by catcon : 05-11-2019 at 02:32 PM. Reason: "an" => "a"
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:02 PM   #35
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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if they wrote that exact same story on spec, it would be hard to get reads.
I don't think this is necessarily true.

It has a strong title. It has a strong protagonist (war hero). It has a strong goal (seek revenge and protect the family's criminal empire). It has a strong antagonist (the second most powerful criminal family). All of this indicates strong conflict. It also has a character flaw (reluctant) for more conflict and transformation of the protagonist.

Sounds like a winner to me where it should get some requests.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:11 PM   #36
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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I was just trying to wedge an point into the discussion that readers should get all associated material that the writer sends.
I think the idea is that they don't want the reader to be influenced by material outside the four corners of the screenplay. They want a pure read and opinion from the reader of what's on the page of the screenplay itself.

Now, when a non-pro writer hires professional readers, they may also send their logline and/or synopsis to get the reader's take on whether, or not after they've read their script, does these materials give a strong representation of their screenplay.

Last edited by JoeNYC : 05-11-2019 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:43 PM   #37
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

Joe: You missed Craig Mazin's point by light years. His point: any logline written about The Godfather is a snooze that will fail to convey the potential of the script.

Because the success of The Godfather is not the plot, it's the characters.

Is there a son-seeks-revenge throughline as you put in your 25-word log?

Yes. Shakespeare's Hamlet also has a son-seeks-revenge throughline but Michael Corleone is no hankie-wringing Hamlet pondering "to be or not to be."

That's why there have been countless pages written analyzing The Godfather. A film that-- in my opinion -- is far, far better than the summer pulp novel it was adapted from.

On this:

Quote:
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.”
Seriously? Are you claiming Mazin is is being insincere simply to get his point across? As if a highly successful screenwriter really needs to con aspiring writers for some nebulous reason?

As you know, back in the Done Deal day, a number of pro writers passed through this message board giving the most freaking amazing take-it-to-the-bank advice.

Anyone new to Done Deal can go through the archives and unlock a treasure trove of free information from writers who actually make a living in the film industry. Writers who actually talk with managers and agents and producers and directors and actors about projects in development. Writers who know how the industry actually works -- even with all of its institutional flaws.

These pros eventually left the site. Some actually stating they threw in the towel because it wasn't worth the energy coming up against the bad advice and personal takedowns (like the one you just shot at Mazin in your post above) tossed at them by folks who never sold a screenplay.

All except one pro -- Jeff Lowell, who I see still dips in now and again with a comment or two. Jeff Lowell -- the Diehard pro of Done Deal. I give him credit for his mysterious tenacity.

I threw in the towel writing specs - what? -- 10 years ago? I can't even recall the actual year. Yet -- even with the fly-on-the-butt-of-an-elephant level of experience I had working with a manager who actually sent my scripts out to producers, I can safely say the advice in your Godfather comment above is a word salad that has little use in the real world.

That's not how it works, That's not how any of it works.

As I think about why I've dipped back into to Done Deal this week, I put the blame on my brother. A couple weeks ago he slipped me a brain worm selling me on the idea of finishing a particular script of mine and sending it out.

So here I am. Back at the scene of the crime. On a message board that kept me hooked into a near-impossible dream of seeing my work on the silver screen. Damn it.

If I do finish that script my brother nagged me about ... if I do send out cold queries for that script ... I will follow the advice of a pro screenwriter. In fact, I already know how I'll do it. I'm going to paste the FIRST PAGE of the script into the email.

Because, though Mazin said the first five can make or break a script, I think he's being generous. The first freaking page tells a manager whether or not you have the writing chops to create a story they can actually sell.

So, with this in mind, here's a draft of my query for a script I have yet to finish.

Dear Manager:

We both know a logline tells you diddlysquat about the quality and potential of a script or its writer. So I've pasted the first page of my (insert genre) titled (insert title) below for your consideration. It shouldn't take much longer to read than the time it takes to wait third in line at Starbucks for your morning fix.

FADE IN:

....
__________________
Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. “Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.”
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:18 PM   #38
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Joe: You missed Craig Mazin's point by light years.
Excuse me? (He says in a playful tone.) sc111, you’re on fire. The break from the message board did you well.

sc111 says, “His point: any logline written about the Godfather is a snooze that will fail to convey the potential of the script.”

Yeah, it’s gonna be an uninteresting “snooze” if someone constructs the logline with having the engine of the story being the protagonist’s inner struggle as Mazin did.

I thought my logline example, using the external “A” throughline of THE GODFATHER story made for an interesting representation. Certainly, I don’t think people would categorize it as an uninteresting “snooze” as you say.

sc111 says, “Seriously? Are you claiming Mazin is being insincere simply to get his point across? As if a highly successful screenwriting really needs to con aspiring writers for some nebulous reason?”

I was under the impression that Mazin was demonstrating terrible loglines by intentionally writing a terrible logline for THE GODFATHER.

sc111, were you under the impression that Mazin feels the example logline that he posted for THE GODFATHER was what he actually believes is a true representation of THE GODFATHER’s story?

God, I hope that’s not the case, or I’ll be truly disillusioned.

sc111 says, “These pros eventually left the site. Some actually stating they threw in the towel because it wasn’t worth the energy coming up against the bad advice and personal takedowns (like the one you just shot at Mazin in your post above) tossed at them by folks who never sold a screenplay. ... I can safely say the advice in your Godfather comment above is a world salad that has little use in the real world.”

”bad advice”

Are you insinuating that I give “bad advice”? How dare you? (Again, he says in a playful tone.)

In the past two years, I authored threads giving advice on the various topics of:

Write the Right Script by Chris Lockhart

Parentheticals

Creating The Anti-Hero Protagonist

This is a sure-fire way to never having your screenplay rejected:

Voice (Descriptive Narrative)

High Concept and Low Concept

Jeff Lowell isn’t the only industry professional on this site and if you go into any of my above threads, you’ll notice that not one professional posted to say my advice was “bad.” And it’s not because they’re timid people who don’t like confrontation.

Jeff Lowell is not a wimp. If he believes someone is giving bad advice to new writers, he’ll call that person on it. He’s done exactly this constantly over the decade that he’s been an active member.

Does anyone remember poor cyfress?

sc111, do you know why in the above threads my advice was never challenged by the professional members?

It’s because it was from these same professionals that I learned the craft of screenwriting. Not only them, but also the non-pros that use this site over the years.

Also from teachers, professors, industry people, gurus, screenwriting magazines, seminars, books, professional and non-professional readers giving me feedback on my scripts, reading and analyzing pro and non-pro scripts, practical experience, etc.

Now, only if I could write a great script, my screenwriting world would be complete.
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:24 PM   #39
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

A writerly person can distinguish between a poorly written, unimaginative logline, and a good one that'll grab the reader and force him to lean in to his phone screen. Same goes for the first sentence of a paragraph, short story, novella, novel or screenplay. I think there's something to be said for that, especially from the perspective of amateurs struggling to convince an overworked gatekeeper to take a peek at their craft.

Which one would best grab your imagination and attention?

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

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

The son of an aging Mafia don reluctantly takes over the family's criminal empire.
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Old 05-11-2019, 03:04 PM   #40
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Default Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

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Which one would best grab your imagination and attention?

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

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

The son of an aging Mafia don reluctantly takes over the family's criminal empire.
Hey, bioprofessor, why isn't my version one of the choices? You probably searched the internet for professionals that written these loglines, but I'll give my opinion anyway.

The first choice is boring. The second choice gives the impression that the "aging patriarch" is the protagonist, so that leaves the last choice and just because I choose the last version doesn't mean it's the best logline representation that could be written for THE GODFATHER.

It only means it's the best of the worst.
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