Purposeless, passive character in bio pic

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Wow, CE, you are GOOD!
    Clarifies for me.

    Thanks again.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    GOT IT.

    Thank you, creative exec.

    AM BACK TO WORK.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Ferds,

    The story you're pitching shouldn't rest on the
    name of a character. Ebenezer Scrooge is
    a great name. But the story would be just
    as potent if Dickens had named him John Smith.
    Perhaps you can find an adjective to describe
    the character. Instead of Scrooge, one could
    say "miserly". However, you're not breaking any
    rules if you choose to use the character's
    name in the log line.

    Don't worry about "theme". No one is interested
    in your theme. Ten people will read your script
    and interpret it ten different ways. It's your
    job to tell the story - not to tell your audience
    what it should mean to them.

    Per your request. Here are three LOG LINES from
    scripts that portray internal struggles and
    spiritual searches in lieu of a DIE HARDesque
    hero archetype.

    LILLY AND THE SECRET PLANTING

    A sheltered young woman struggles with breaking free from
    her isolation by planting seeds in a local park and falling
    in love.

    LIFE AS A HOUSE

    A terminally ill man attempts to rebuild his life while he
    rebuilds his house.

    MEET JOHN TROW

    A man at mid-life crisis seeks refuge from his unhappiness
    by playing a Civil War soldier for a reenactment society,
    but his world becomes more complicated when the
    character he portrays infiltrates his life.


    Despite the psychological studies these scripts
    dramatize, you'll note each log lines contains a
    strong visual spine to accompany the internal -
    and not so visual - quest.

    The first offers a garden.

    The second a house.

    The third a mock war.

    If you are going to craft an internal story, you
    would be wise to enhance it with some kind
    of integral and organic visual stimulus that
    will be an EXTERNAL symbol of the internal
    struggle. It also provides additional (and external)
    conflict in of itself.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    If...

    a character's name strongly suggest the theme and add dimension to stating the premise, is it okay to mention it in a logline?

    Could you give example of a logline that effectively states an an introspective, spiritual conflict or man-against-his-evil-side kind of movie in contrast to JAWS/action oriented stuff?

    Yeah, I can live with Michelle Pfeiffer and I'd love Liam Neeson to perform my material. But box office calls for Denzel Washington!

    I think we have a movie. Thanks, CE!

    So, where and when is the best time can I e-mail you my logline?

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I'm still clueless myself.

    The log line must reveal the full dramatic premise
    of your story. The "interesting aspects" of your
    script will not sell it. The conflict will.

    JAWS LOG LINE: The sheriff of a Long Island beach
    community battles a man-eating shark at the height
    of tourist season.

    That's the major dramatic thrust of the story.

    There are many interesting aspects to JAWS:

    The Sheriff is hydrophobic. He is joined in his
    pursuit by a hands-off scientist and a hands-on
    crusty, old fisherman - who butt heads. The
    Sheriff feels guilty for not clearing the beach
    when he knew the shark existed - resulting in
    the death of a young boy. The Mayor and city
    council do not want to close the beach. There's
    a great opening and a fabulous monologue (by
    Quint).

    But these are not aspects to include in the log
    line. Leave it for a synopsis.

    The log line for JAWS is enough is entice me
    to read it.

    I like a story that is inherently dramatic. The
    organic conflict will be very apparent in the
    log line. The rest is frosting.

    John Logan's fabulous THE LAST SAMURAI has
    a great log line - that would beg people to read
    it. In addition, it has "interesting aspects" that
    only make the experience that much better.

    One reason writers have a difficult time with log
    lines is that they have not conceived a particulary
    DRAMATIC story.

    A log line is a "profile" of the screenplay. It gives
    someone an impression of your story.

    Some Done Dealers have posted their log lines
    to me and I have not responded favorably. The
    premise may not thrill me but could thrill others.

    I read thousands of scripts. 23 this weekend.
    (And that's the FULL read. Not just 10 - 30 pages.)
    So, I have seen lots and lots of stories. Many
    writers pen the same stuff - espionage/Viet
    Nam, aliens, fairy tales, and the gathering of
    a "circle of friends or family" type scripts. I
    have seen SO MANY of these, that they don't
    excite me. That means I could miss out on
    APOCALYPSE NOW, ET, THE PRINCESS BRIDE
    (which I think is wildly overrated anyway) and
    THE BIG CHILL - if they were pitched today.
    (Of course, these were all fresh back then.)

    Next topic:

    "Consider", I guess, means a number of things.
    If I like the pitch (log line), I consider if it
    is something I want to read or if it is right for
    my client base. If I read it and like it, we
    decide on how to pursue. We may contact
    the producer, or the writer. If it was submitted
    to me by a producer or studio - which is
    often the case - it will be sent to the actor.
    If the actor likes it, I do lots of notes until
    the script is shaped to the actor's liking,
    and the talent signs on. (Then it's out of my
    hands.)

    On the very rare occasion that the script is
    penned by a newbie, we could get the writer
    repped here and package the script - with one
    of my clients attached. However, I may also
    try to secure the writer representation else-
    where, if the good script isn't right for a
    client or the agency isn't right for the scribe.

    My clients include Richard Gere, Denzel
    Washington, Michelle Pfeiffer, Liam Neeson,
    Mel Gibson.

    Hope that helps, ferds.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    VOs, POV

    CE,

    I hate VO narrations, myself. And, by "minor character's POV," I don't mean a VO. I mean his/her indirect perspective if he/she is not in a scene, but bywhich the script maintains consistency of POV.

    premise - Do you mean a logline or something you find in a synopsis or treatment? I understand a logline should suggest the premise but may not say interesting aspects of it.

    consider - You mean, consider to read the script but what do you do if you get to like it? Pitch it yourself or by your client to a prodco? Sorry, I'm clueless.

    Is any of these a client of yours: Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Jodie Foster, Julianne Moore? (just dreaming about my s/p)

    Thanks

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Well, you certainly gave me
    some new info, so thanks!

    Kim

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I prefer scripts without VO's - even the kind
    of scripts in discussion.

    You often see VO's in "slice-of-life" scripts
    (a non-hero based narrative) that are adapted
    from novels. This is the easiest way to relate
    the inner monologue of characters and
    also remains faithful to its literary origins.
    But I still dislike them.

    I would not say that these kind of scripts
    are more or less effective with VO's. I do
    believe, however, that most scripts should
    be conceived without voice-overs

    BOOK OF KINGS does use voice-over.

    In most scripts I read, they are unnecessary.

    REMEMBER THE TITANS opens and closes with
    VO's from a supporting character - the little
    girl (all grown up). In my opinion, those
    voice-overs were unnecessary. Thankfully,
    they were merely bookends.

    Obviously, some scripts work great with them -
    SUNSET BLVD, SHAWSHANK, GOODFELLAS, and
    A CHRISTMAS STORY come to mind.

    But these are VERY well-written VO's.

    Unfortunatley, many writers do a poor job with
    VO's and "tell" instead of dramatize or show.

    I also like VO's to be dramatically purposeful.
    For instance, being used to mislead the
    audience, or learning the talking character
    has been speaking to someone - other than
    us - like a reporter, grandchild, or a classroom.

    I also hate when voice-overs reveal expository
    info that the speaking character had no access
    to. This can be a problem when a minor character
    is given the responsibility.

    I am not a fan of "slice-of-life" screenplays.
    I often refer to them as "slice-my-wrist"
    scripts. The hero-based story archetype
    is certainly more commercial and easier
    to write (and read). Slice-of-life scripts
    often menander, have little drama and
    tension. Lastly, they need to be to VERY
    well writen.

    I do not actively seek out any particular
    kind of script for any client. If the premise
    grabs me, I'll consider it.

    However, slice-of-life scripts do not "pitch"
    well. (Just check out the LOG LINE section
    here at "Done Deal".) They often sound bland
    and identical. These scripts are about the
    QUALITY of writing. And a "newbie" will have
    a difficult time convincing a pro with, "Well,
    it may not sound exciting, but it's really
    well-written. Give it a chance."

    Boy, such a long answer for such a short
    question. Did I even answer your query?

    - Windbag

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    creative exec

    Do you think that kind of film is less effective with a non-VO narration/seen from a minor character's POV?

    Do you like/look for that kind of material for any of your clients? Could you tell me which actor? Thanks. ([email protected])

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    On Friday a script called BOOK OF KINGS sold. It
    is a literate screenplay about the relationship between
    two life-long friends and how a piece of paper
    called "the manifesto" has affected them both.

    This is a script without a hero-based structure,
    the protagonist isn't "active" in the usual sense,
    and his search is more introspective. The script
    is biographical, episodic, and spiritual. And it is
    well-written.

    So, the answer to your question is "yes".

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Zelig.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest started a topic Purposeless, passive character in bio pic

    Purposeless, passive character in bio pic

    All-time blockbuster FORREST GUMP influenced me much as I wrote my first s/p -- Forrest Gump, Sleepless in Seattle and Saving Private Ryan rolled into one. The themes and the music, as well as the actor did.

    Do you think a hodge-podge of indirectly related biographic events that caricature a passive protagonist more than present causal, specifically goal-oriented dramatic twists may succeed again?
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