High concept?



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  • High concept?

    Hello everybody. I used to post here over the summer but with college I don't have time for anything. I am in the middle of writing the screenplay for the idea below, your feedback on the idea would be very helpful.

    After his parents are killed in a home robbery, a teenager from the subarbs moves into a rough city neighborhood, where he has to cope with his abusive uncle, a local gang, and a new love among other things.

    I am writing it as to not make it just a "teen" movie. Actually I am gearing this as an adult movie, with some religion topics sprinkled in. Your feedback will be helpful.


  • #2
    This isn't high concept. This is slice of life.
    And, as it stands, there's not enough oomph in your idea to make your log stand out.

    'Coping' isn't a strong enough action verb to describe what your protagonist goes through.

    I think you need to be more specific in your log line descriptions. Ditch 'among other things.'

    To relate a personal experience to you, I attended a workshop where we had to pitch our log lines to several REAL producers. One similiar to this didn't generate much interest even though the play it was based upon was really good. It dealt with the trials and tribulations of four women in a rough part of Boston during WWII. The feedback in general was that the log was too generic, not visual enough, and didn't give the audience (the producers) a sense of what the story was about.

    Give us some more story info and we'll help with the logline.


    • #3

      Thanks for your reply.

      The teenager lives in a subarb. His parents get killed in front of his eyes in a home robbery. He moves to the city with his abusive uncle. There he has no one to turn to, so he joins a gang. He meets a girl who becomes his strong love interest, however, her father is a higher up in the police department. His new best friend, who is also in this gang, has past troubles with her father. A religious teacher at his school comes into play also. I am going to make the teenager explore his troubled relationship with his father, and the ties he had with the robbery which caused him his life.

      Now that I think of it, its not really high concept, but I'm just trying to get some feedback anyways. This is going to be a dark drama type of screenplay.



      • #4
        Where we fall short

        You may disagree but this is what your story sounds like: SOMETHING HAPPENS, and then this...and then this...and then this...and then this...(THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT PROFESSIONAL WRITERS TRY TO STAY AWAY FROM.)

        It sounds like you hung your plots along a clothesline and there is no real major plot except the many vignettes. What is the major problem? What does your main character want? Make it clear what he has to do to achieve it and then expand on it. Don't throw us roadblocks that have no foreshadowing.

        After your second try of the logline. I still don't know what your main character wants. Does this teenager want to find the murderer?--What happened to the case after he moved away?--That's the main question.

        You have to ask yourself several questions after you figured out what the main plot is: What role does the abusive uncle play in this? What role does the girlfriend play in this? How about the gang? How about the religious teachers?

        It's good to have subplots but they need to play a role in your main plot. I know what you're trying to do. I know you want to write a story about a kid who's just trying to cope with life after the tragic incident but you need to give him so motivation. He needs to have something to do...then maybe you can add other things a long the way to "show" how he's coping with life.

        GOOD LUCK


        • #5
          Re: Where we fall short

          I don't wanna sound harsh, but the story sounds an aweful lot like SAVE THE LAST DANCE without the benefit of a unifying story. I know there are many differences (such as the way the parents die, and that both and not just one parent dies) but basically it's a riches to rags story about coping, without the driving force that a momentous plot provides.

          And I know you think it's NOTHING like SAVE THE LAST DANCE, and I'm sure you're right, but, how you stated it, that' how it sounds to me.

          Good luck with it; but I think you need a connective thread to run through all these vignettes if it's gonna work.



          • #6
            Hitchiker4 and RDJ Was Banned,

            Don't worry, I'm not taking your advise in any wrong manner. Actually I really appreciate it. I have several ideas for screenplays but this idea was actually the first one I have acted on and begun writing (since this is my first screenplay).

            The idea that I have for the motivation of the teenager is that I will make the killing of the parents because of an undercover drug operation gone bad between the killers and his father. The teenager finds out about this through his uncle. Then, while coping with all the other stuff, he searches for the killers and the relationship his father had with them and the type of lifestyle his father had.

            I'm not sure if this will work, but hey, its a thought! Again, this is just my rookie screenplay so I'm just looking for advise, and any type of advise that I can get is extremely helpful.

            Thanks again.


            • #7
              How do you want to end your story? Searching for his old man's killers seems to your main character's aim.

              If you generally describe the ACTIONS that your main character takes after that, it might help to strengthen your synopsis.


              • #8
                The drug op offers more motivation for your protag, that's true.

                But I think this is the 9th or 10th script discussed here on the board in the past 20 days with some kind of drug deal in them.

                Drug deals are becoming hackneyed and cliched -- rethink why the parents would die.

                Obviously, his father's murder (made to look like an accident) would be enough motivation for the kid to try to uncover the truth.


                • #9
                  "High Concept" why is it that every time I hear that term, I laugh. For there to be a "High Concept" doesn't there have to be a "Low Concept" any Plato fans out there wanna elaborate??????????????


                  • #10
                    I guess it's a way to differentiate certain kinds of films... I don't really get it either, personally.

                    Shallow Hal ... high concept
                    Shallow Grave ... not high concept