What is the difference?

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  • #16
    Re: What is the difference?

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    And this was my whole point to start off -- it doesn't help you write 1 god damn word if you master these 4 terms -- now does it ?
    I disagree.

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: What is the difference?

      Originally posted by Bono View Post
      And this was my whole point to start off -- it doesn't help you write 1 god damn word if you master these 4 terms -- now does it ?
      Ha ha ha, I love this. Truer words have not been spoken! I completely agree.
      Manfred Lopez Grem
      Writer - Director

      REEL - IMDB

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: What is the difference?

        the more you understand about your story the better it will be written. if you do not understand your story within the confines of these story elements you cannot write an effective screenplay. these are industry expectations. if you want to be in the industry, you'd better be able to speak the language.

        you certainly won't be able to pitch it well if you do not.
        FA4

        ps: love your post on this ComicBent.
        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: What is the difference?

          I got 100% agree and a 100% disagree proving my point.

          This isn't a test like in high school. There is no right answer. Use the tools that work for you.

          When I query with what I call a logline, I don't say here is my logline. Here's my premise. Here's my concept. I just have the title and the 1 sentence. The important part is the title and idea. Not whether that is called logline concept or premise to the person you're sending it to. They don't care either.

          I've been in the industry -- I've talk to the other side. It's rarely as fancy on the business side as the writer side? The people that go deep are the people who write books on writing! These are just our tools really. Have people been asked by a producer or manager "What is the theme?" I haven't. They say, "I love it, when can I have it? Or I hate it, rewrite it!"

          They want to hear the idea.

          Scriptnotes is great at talking about this stuff. It's great to be aware of this, but no there are no damn rules really. There are ways people have done it. Rigid devotion is the enemy.

          Let me ask you this -- How the hell did Billy Wilder have a career without Chris Lockhart logline and without all these terms and books? How did Chaplin do it? How the hell did Spielberg learn to make movies before Robert McKee taught him how???

          I am not saying be ignorant of this stuff, I'm saying don't be afraid of it either. Don't cling to some false hope that if I do all the things right I'll sell a script. I'll be a pro. Because there were pros before we had the terms we are talking about now.

          (Cut to someone mentioning Greek Mythology and 3 act structure in 1,2,3... )

          I say again, you master the terms -- and even if we all agree on what the terms mean -- look how we all for sure don't agree on how to fill out a movie like JAWS using these terms.

          So what does that also tell you? You can't write by numbers.

          I'm trying to be positive here. Let's write.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: What is the difference?

            Originally posted by Bono View Post
            How the hell did Billy Wilder have a career without Chris Lockhart logline and without all these terms and books?
            The story elements that are expected in a logline is not solely a Chris Lockhart rule. He's expressing the Hollywood standard, what the industry as a whole, expects what story elements to be present in a logline.

            Bono, you say, "I am not saying be ignorant of this stuff."

            So far, from your posts, your point-of-view/attitude on a writer understanding these different terms has seemed to be not important.

            Having an understanding is important on both writing their screenplay and the business side.

            For the writing side: It's important that a newbie understand that a concept is a general idea, so he could focus on developing it and expanding it to include the specific story details and elements that would form the premise/logline. To make sure there is a strong foundation to build a story on (concept and premise). To stay focus during the writing.

            For the business side, let me give you a hypothetical scenario:

            A writer runs into a producer at a party and he has an opportunity to tell him about the screenplay he just completed. He says to the producer, "It's about an attorney who must tell the truth for 24 hours." The producer says, "That sounds like a great concept. What's the premise?" Now, the writer reading Egri's book, or going by Merriam-Webster's definition of "premise" goes into the theme of the story and the producer has to interrupt him and say, "No, what is the story about?"

            This makes the writer look ignorant of Hollywood jargon.

            A writer doesn't have to use the traditional three act structure for their story, but I suggest that they get an understanding on its jargon and how it works because even though Bono points out that Billy Wilder didn't read the books on three act structure, the young studio executives have, so if they bring any part of it up, you want to be able to communicate knowledgably.

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: What is the difference?

              Originally posted by Bono View Post
              I got 100% agree and a 100% disagree proving my point.
              you proved that you agree with your point. (i'm poking fun here)

              This isn't a test like in high school. There is no right answer. Use the tools that work for you.
              i disagree b/c i believe words matter.


              When I query with what I call a logline, I don't say here is my logline. Here's my premise. Here's my concept. I just have the title and the 1 sentence. The important part is the title and idea. Not whether that is called logline concept or premise to the person you're sending it to. They don't care either.
              this isn't about a query letter. this is about prep and post writing the script. once you get past the query and you're in the room or you're pitching your project to someone that can help get it made. if someone asks "what is your premise?" what are you going to tell them? "i don't have one?" that doesn't really make sense.

              the OP wants to understand vernacular, because she's hearing people use the terminology. she wants to be prepared to speak in industry terms as best she can.

              in Shonda Rhimes MasterClass she has a lesson that covers, Developing Concept, Idea vs Premise, Structure & Tone. she's using those terms.

              I've been in the industry -- I've talk to the other side. It's rarely as fancy on the business side as the writer side? The people that go deep are the people who write books on writing! These are just our tools really. Have people been asked by a producer or manager "What is the theme?" I haven't. They say, "I love it, when can I have it? Or I hate it, rewrite it!"
              i can tell you that Ron Howard, for one, asks the following when you submit your work (small list of all questions):

              what is the genre?
              what is the elevator pitch?
              what is the world or setting?
              what themes do you explore? how are they relevant?
              who or what is the antagonist of your story and what does he want?
              What kinds of obstacles do you see your characters having to overcome in order to complete their journey or get what they want?
              What is unique about your character and why do you think audiences will emotionally invest in their journey?

              so he, and his team, expect you to understand industry terminology, and they expect you to be able to communicate back to them using the language they are familiar with. it would behoove the writer to understand this terminology, wouldn't you agree? to suggest it doesn't matter is counterproductive to the OP's request.

              They want to hear the idea.
              at first.

              it might be different if you're pitching an idea, trying to sell it to the people with the money like a studio exec or a network exec, where the script is as yet, unwritten. then there might be more questions along the lines of these four definitions.

              Scriptnotes is great at talking about this stuff. It's great to be aware of this, but no there are no damn rules really. There are ways people have done it. Rigid devotion is the enemy.
              i haven't listened to scriptnotes in a couple of years, but i do remember that the two of them don't always agree.

              Let me ask you this -- How the hell did Billy Wilder have a career without Chris Lockhart logline and without all these terms and books? How did Chaplin do it? How the hell did Spielberg learn to make movies before Robert McKee taught him how???
              the industry has evolved. it used to be that women (before 1925) women wrote almost half of the movies produced. it's 15% now... the point? things change.

              Steven Spielberg probably understands the difference between premise and concept and theme.

              I am not saying be ignorant of this stuff, I'm saying don't be afraid of it either. Don't cling to some false hope that if I do all the things right I'll sell a script. I'll be a pro. Because there were pros before we had the terms we are talking about now.
              when you suggest that it doesn't help you write and it doesn't matter if you know their meaning, you are basically promoting ignorance.

              you actually imply to both, learn and ignore, unless i've misunderstood?

              (Cut to someone mentioning Greek Mythology and 3 act structure in 1,2,3... )
              well, since you bring it up...

              the most famous example is when George Lucas openly admitted he studied and used Campbell's the hero's journey paradigm based on Jung's work of Greek Archetypes to write Star Wars.
              "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: What is the difference?

                Originally posted by finalact4 View Post

                i can tell you that Ron Howard, for one, asks the following when you submit your work (small list of all questions):

                what is the genre?
                what is the elevator pitch?
                what is the world or setting?
                what themes do you explore? how are they relevant?
                who or what is the antagonist of your story and what does he want?
                What kinds of obstacles do you see your characters having to overcome in order to complete their journey or get what they want?
                What is unique about your character and why do you think audiences will emotionally invest in their journey?

                so he, and his team, expect you to understand industry terminology, and they expect you to be able to communicate back to them using the language they are familiar with. it would behoove the writer to understand this terminology, wouldn't you agree? to suggest it doesn't matter is counterproductive to the OP's request.
                I was the first to offer help on the terms. I'm just now trying to point out how debating them in that inside baseball way isn't helping.

                Did you get that Ron Howard stuff from actual experience with the company or from his Masterclass?

                I had a meeting at Imagine for an hour or so with my writing partner. And the producer there complained about her own life, told me about parking trouble, mentioned some weird idea she had for a movie that I can't recall and then we spent 3 minutes talking about the spec they read and liked enough to call us in and then that was it, keep in touch.... so yeah we didn't get to theme or the other questions.

                This is the reality vs the book stuff. That's all I'm saying.

                As A Few Good Men would say "It's the difference between paper law and trial law."

                I didn't say make sure you don't understand these terms and that I don't understand them -- I'm trying to say the most basic point and some of you aren't getting what I'm saying. It's very simple from my head.

                If they say tell me the premise, sure I know what they mean. But if they said tell me the concept -- guess what? I'm going to give the same answer to both questions. That's real life vs writers fighting over how to answer those questions differently. To me it's the same question if it's asked of me from a producer.

                I'm saying learn the terms, but don't be a slave to any of these writing rules. You don't get points for being smarter than the writer who just wrote this awesome horror movie and doesn't care about any of that stuff. He just did it and the script answered all the questions anyone could have about the work.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: What is the difference?

                  Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
                  The story elements that are expected in a logline is not solely a Chris Lockhart rule. He's expressing the Hollywood standard, what the industry as a whole, expects what story elements to be present in a logline.

                  Bono, you say, "I am not saying be ignorant of this stuff."

                  So far, from your posts, your point-of-view/attitude on a writer understanding these different terms has seemed to be not important.

                  Having an understanding is important on both writing their screenplay and the business side.

                  For the writing side: It's important that a newbie understand that a concept is a general idea, so he could focus on developing it and expanding it to include the specific story details and elements that would form the premise/logline. To make sure there is a strong foundation to build a story on (concept and premise). To stay focus during the writing.

                  For the business side, let me give you a hypothetical scenario:

                  A writer runs into a producer at a party and he has an opportunity to tell him about the screenplay he just completed. He says to the producer, "It's about an attorney who must tell the truth for 24 hours." The producer says, "That sounds like a great concept. What's the premise?" Now, the writer reading Egri's book, or going by Merriam-Webster's definition of "premise" goes into the theme of the story and the producer has to interrupt him and say, "No, what is the story about?"

                  This makes the writer look ignorant of Hollywood jargon.

                  A writer doesn't have to use the traditional three act structure for their story, but I suggest that they get an understanding on its jargon and how it works because even though Bono points out that Billy Wilder didn't read the books on three act structure, the young studio executives have, so if they bring any part of it up, you want to be able to communicate knowledgably.
                  I'm not big time by any means -- but how many meetings have you had in the industry? Reps? This is general question for anyone, not just Joe.

                  Because some of these responses read to me like you haven't had many.

                  I'm gonna say I had like 100 meetings in person in LA and more in NYC and of course phone conversations and emails and talking with reps... and one time they put us in front of all the agents at WME which was scary as **** to pitch our ideas....

                  My point is, I feel I'm getting what you think it will be vs reality. Guess what? You meet lots of smart people and you also meet some idiots. Most of them just want to talk about anything but your dumb script. They're hungry for lunch like any other job. They are real people. Small talk a good portion of these meetings.

                  The conversations will flow naturally. Yes if you got this far in the room, chances are (like me) you have a clue as to what these terms mean. You aren't going to get that far and not having any clue. In fact, judging from these posts, I worry some of you will be too in your head and try to give the perfect answer.

                  I know this thread was about one thing, I think we answered it for OP, but also I think i'm pointing out very fair facts of life. I'm not making this stuff up.

                  And at no point did I say I don't want to know these terms or encourage others to not learn them. I'm not the current president. I'm not trying to actively not learn.

                  I'm saying what I learned was that I used to put way too much focus on stuff like this and drive myself nuts when it didn't really matter. It's all a distraction from writing. That's the honest truth.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: What is the difference?

                    Originally posted by Bono View Post
                    If they say, tell me the premise, sure I know what they mean. … I'm saying learn the terms, but don't be a slave to any of these writing rules.
                    This will be my last post on this matter. Bono, you can have the last word.

                    Bono, you’re looking at this from your 20 plus years of writing and 100 meetings of experience, where YOU say, “If they say, tell me the premise, sure I know what they mean.”

                    New writers don’t. I know, you’ve said to learn the terms, but you always give a “but.”

                    barh, the OP, started this thread because people were giving this person different definitions of the terminology.

                    For example, barh said, “one guy said premise is ‘What’s in your heart’ before even coming up with a story idea.”

                    This guy was talking to barh about “premise” being theme, which is not the meaning as used in Hollywood.

                    Bono, you say you’ve never said don’t learn the meaning of the terms, which if you would have left it at that this thread would have been done many pages ago, but you always added a qualifier, such as, “I’m saying learn the terms, but don’t be a slave to any of these writing rules.”

                    The Hollywood definition for the term “premise” is wanting to know what the writer’s story is about. The one to two sentence logline that presents the “A” throughline of the story.

                    Bono, by you advising new writers not to be a "slave" to this Hollywood standard meaning of the term premise, you’re telling a writer it’s okay, if they so wish, you know, let’s not follow the “rules” to these terms, to discuss premise with industry people as defined by Egri and the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, which is theme.

                    You’re gonna protest and say that’s not what you meant, but your "slave" and “rule” remark implies different.

                    How do you feel about the Hollywood standard for the term “logline,” where as presented by Christopher Lockhart that it includes at least three major elements of the writer’s story: Protagonist, Goal and Antagonist Force?

                    manfredlopez followed your advice and wasn’t a “slave” to the Hollywood standard of a logline and presented the following logline for JAWS as an effective logline to send out to industry people:

                    “A killer shark terrorizes a small resort town.”

                    No doubt, this is an attention grabber, but, Bono, is manfredlopez correct in saying this is an effective logline to send out to the industry?

                    Wouldn’t you agree by adding the major elements of protagonist and his goal that is considered to be included for the Hollywood standard for the term “logline” it would be a more effective logline?

                    For example:

                    When swimmers are killed in a resort town, the police chief, who possesses a fear of the ocean, must hunt and kill a monstrous white shark.

                    -- manfredlopez didn’t like how I offset the fourth element of the protagonist’s flaw/arc with commas and “crammed” it into the logline. If a writer removes the fourth element, it still leaves the three major elements that the Hollywood standard looks for to be represented in the logline:

                    When swimmers are killed in a resort town, the police chief must hunt and kill a monstrous white shark.

                    manfredlopez says that after an internet search he discovered that there’s an argument about the primary antagonist: Shark, or mayor and the town council.

                    I don’t understand, myself, why there would be an argument about this. I would think the title of JAWS would be a tip off about the primary antagonist that the protagonist is gonna struggle with, but if someone wanted to include the town council antagonist:

                    When swimmers are killed in a resort town, the police chief must hunt and kill a monstrous white shark, flouting town council’s interference.

                    All my example loglines included the three major elements that Hollywood expects to be present in a logline.

                    Bono, regardless how a writer writes the logline for JAWS that contain at least these three major elements that Chris Lockhart mentioned, do you still agree not to be a “slave” to the Hollywood meaning of the term logline and that it’s okay and effective to send a logline like manfredlopez’s example that didn’t include the protagonist of the story, nor his goal?

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: What is the difference?

                      You have to know the rules to get your driver's license. That's true. Same with writing and these rules.

                      But after you start driving for years and years, you finally learn how to really drive. Same with writing. And you do things they told you not to do. Because they work in the real world.

                      I feel the same with what I'm saying. Yes first learn to drive the right way. Then learn how to drive so you don't die on the highway and so you aren't late for work.
                      Last edited by Bono; 05-04-2019, 07:43 AM.

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                      • #26
                        Re: What is the difference?

                        Originally posted by Bono View Post
                        I was the first to offer help on the terms. I'm just now trying to point out how debating them in that inside baseball way isn't helping.

                        Did you get that Ron Howard stuff from actual experience with the company or from his Masterclass?
                        from experience. this is their new development process Ron Howard and Brian Grazer started last year in an attempt to change the "Hollywood development system" where they select 20 creatives from all over the world, repped and unrepped, can pitch their screenplay, concept, or idea for a chance to be selected to be paid a $40,000 stipend for 8 weeks of work in LA to work with shapers to produce a market ready feature or pilot and pitch it to the industry in power sessions where the writer does a full on pitch of their project.

                        you have to complete a very detailed application, submit a writing sample, and a 30sec video clip of yourself for a chance to be selected. all three are required. then they select the top 50 for interviews. i remember one writer saying that in their interview their questions focused solely on story and didn't ask personal questions.

                        many new writers mistake this as a "let's help new (newbie) writers break in.," but what these writers don't seem to fully understand is that you are competing with thousands of professional writers who simply haven't had their big "break out" moment.

                        i mean, some of the writers in the first round had/were actually developing projects at several studios

                        so they are flooded with submissions in excess of 4,000 in a two week period of time. they are looking for projects that have the greatest chance to succeed, and part of the determination is commerciality. they develop projects they believe the industry wants.

                        one writer just sold an animation in a bidding war. his script was one of the first 20. and the best part... it costs the writer nothing. it gives the writer a place to work, experienced mentors to help shape the project and $40,000 to support themselves while they relocate (must be in LA for 8 weeks) to LA for the duration of the program. it is an intensive boot camp for writers.

                        I had a meeting at Imagine for an hour or so with my writing partner. And the producer there complained about her own life, told me about parking trouble, mentioned some weird idea she had for a movie that I can't recall and then we spent 3 minutes talking about the spec they read and liked enough to call us in and then that was it, keep in touch.... so yeah we didn't get to theme or the other questions.

                        This is the reality vs the book stuff. That's all I'm saying.
                        first, congratulations on your good fortune, that's no easy task. these types of meetings allow the writer an audience with the key holders.

                        this is a good point, because we're talking about two different things. i'm not talking about a meet n greet, get to know you, networking meeting. i'm talking about development, whether it's developing your new idea alone in your space, pitching a new story that you'd like to be paid to write and the possibility of a late comer to a meeting where he's a higher up that hasn't had an opportunity to read your script yet and wants you to quickly summarize important elements.

                        i'm talking about being prepared

                        As A Few Good Men would say "It's the difference between paper law and trial law."

                        I didn't say make sure you don't understand these terms and that I don't understand them -- I'm trying to say the most basic point and some of you aren't getting what I'm saying. It's very simple from my head.
                        i thought i said that you actually say both. the problem for me is when you posted the statement-- "...it doesn't help you write 1 god damn word if you master these 4 terms -- now does it ?" you completely dismiss prior sentiments. basically saying, it doesn't matter at all. and all i'm saying is i disagree. that doesn't make you right.

                        If they say tell me the premise, sure I know what they mean. But if they said tell me the concept -- guess what? I'm going to give the same answer to both questions. That's real life vs writers fighting over how to answer those questions differently. To me it's the same question if it's asked of me from a producer.

                        I'm saying learn the terms, but don't be a slave to any of these writing rules. You don't get points for being smarter than the writer who just wrote this awesome horror movie and doesn't care about any of that stuff. He just did it and the script answered all the questions anyone could have about the work.
                        i would rather suggest the writer, including myself, understand as much as they can about how the industry works and let them determine what to use and what to toss. it's like notes. they are given in the spirit to help the writer, but what the writer does with said information is their business.

                        these aren't writing rules, they're words with definitions that people in the industry use. i'm out.
                        FA4
                        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: What is the difference?

                          Understanding how the industry works and learning the difference between these 4 writing terms - or any terms - are not the same thing.

                          That's all I'm been trying to say to anyone who reads this in the future.

                          And I 100% do not think I'm always right about anything. I'm just giving you my POV on the subject as others have given theirs.

                          FIND YOUR OWN POV and let us know how it works out.

                          I'm rooting for us all. Writers unite!

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: What is the difference?

                            Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
                            Technically you could call your one sentence example a logline, but it’s not the Hollywood standard of a logline, ...
                            Where do you find this "Hollywood standard," and who defines it?
                            STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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                            • #29
                              Re: What is the difference?

                              Originally posted by Bono View Post
                              ...When I query with what I call a logline, I don't say here is my logline. Here's my premise. Here's my concept. I just have the title and the 1 sentence. The important part is the title and idea. Not whether that is called logline concept or premise to the person you're sending it to. They don't care either.

                              I've been in the industry -- I've talk to the other side. It's rarely as fancy on the business side as the writer side? The people that go deep are the people who write books on writing! These are just our tools really. Have people been asked by a producer or manager "What is the theme?" I haven't. They say, "I love it, when can I have it? Or I hate it, rewrite it!"

                              They want to hear the idea.
                              ...

                              So what does that also tell you? You can't write by numbers.
                              I think that's what some people don't get. There is NO mechanical formula that ensures a screenplay will get made into a movie. There is no "magical" "Hollywood standard." Good, effective writing comes in all shapes and sizes.
                              STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: What is the difference?

                                Thanks everyone, collectively, this gave me a lot of information to synthesize into an answer that works for me, which is very helpful. The Ron Howard comments especially are very interesting.
                                Last edited by Done Deal Pro; 05-06-2019, 05:56 PM. Reason: I clicked on the EDIT button and simply made the correction. We don't need posts correcting stuff. Just edit. :)
                                Hobby Writer

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