Log The Line... LOGLINES

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  • #46
    Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

    Originally posted by sc111 View Post
    Maybe the idea that a writer should not follow "logline rules" in a cold query is an idea with legs.
    I'm not a fan of sending opening pages, 1-5, of a script without permission from the industry person. It's just not professional. And if a writer was to ignore the Hollywood standard of just a logline and nothing else without permission, then why 5 pages of the script?

    Wouldn't a detailed 5 page synopsis be more valuable in expressing a writer's story. I'm just saying, common sense.

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    • #47
      Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

      Originally posted by sc111 View Post
      Maybe. Or maybe their take is one to be considered. Maybe the idea that a writer should not follow "logline rules" in a cold query is an idea with legs.

      Maybe.
      'Tis a grand idea, for sure. Will it be regarded as innovative and cool, or will it be shot down as soon as they open the query? Who can say. Which way are you leaning? I'm skeptical, somehow.

      Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
      Oh my.

      John August and Craig Mazin are two respected and successful professional writers working in the industry.
      Yeah, I... pretty much just said that. I know who they are. Everyone knows who they are. Thank you.

      I would love to hear them discus logline construction, structuring with it's detail and major elements that would make for an effective logline to entice an industry person to request a writer's script, but they want to put the focus on reading the script instead, which is great.
      Well that is the thing, that quoted podcast conversation suggests they aren't wanting to discuss logline construction, they don't like 'em (and maybe, as suggested, who knows, don't need to use 'em).

      The only problem: How to convince an industry person to read a writer's script, where he's not living in L.A. making contacts and relationships, winning the Nicholl Fellowship, etc.
      Again we stray into Captain Obvious territory. That's not the case and it's unlikely to change, so the aspiring screenwriter must still query blindly using loglines. Which loops back to 25 words or 35 words?

      Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

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      • #48
        Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

        Originally posted by dpaterso View Post
        Yeah, I... pretty much just said that. I know who they are. Everyone knows who they are. Thank you.
        Oh my. Someone's a little grumpy today. (He says in a playful tone.)

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        • #49
          Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

          Originally posted by dpaterso View Post
          'Tis a grand idea, for sure. Will it be regarded as innovative and cool, or will it be shot down as soon as they open the query? Who can say. Which way are you leaning? I'm skeptical, somehow.
          I'm leaning the way I posted in an earlier comment: pasting page 1 of my script into the email. (Though the Starbucks line needs a bit of a tweak.)

          What Craig Mazin said in that podcast resonated with me because it dovetails with experiences I've had as a freelance marketing/advertising writer when cold contacting potential clients for gigs.

          The experience that serves as the best example: a client I've had for five years, now. Just got a check from them yesterday.

          Every so often I conduct "prospecting" by looking at online job postings. Five years ago, I came upon an ad listed by a company over 200 miles from me as the crow flies. I was a perfect match for what they needed in a writer.

          One problem, the ad specified: "This is a staff position. No freelance writers will be considered."

          Hmmm.

          I decided to send an email anyway. I pointed out the value of reconsidering their "no freelancers" decision. And I didn't even attach a resume. But -- damn -- I put time into crafting that two-paragraph email in the most compelling way I could.

          One of the owners, a woman, called me a week later and I've been working for them ever since.

          Funnier -- in this first call, I offered to send my resume and writing samples. She said, "I don't need to see any of that. If you can change my mind in two paragraphs I know you're a good marketing writer."

          Then she asked me to give her a project price on writing an entire website for the new company they were about to launch. And I did. And I asked for a 50% deposit. And she sent the deposit overnight so I could get started ASAP.

          I've landed gigs with out-of-the-box queries to companies that weren't even looking for writers.

          I'm convinced that I've pulled this off because the quality of the first contact communicates the level of my writing skills.

          This is why Mazin's comment got me thinking: why not? Why not defy all the rules. It's worked for me before.

          What better way to communicate the quality of your script than by sending them page 1 pasted into your query?

          Will there be dozens of managers or producers, or their assistants, that will hit delete as soon as their eyes lock on FADE IN? Sure.

          But you only need one. Just one. One individual who reads the first page and responds -- Okay, I'm game, send the script.

          Just one.
          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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          • #50
            Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

            That is a super story, cannot argue with what worked for you, quality shines.

            Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

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            • #51
              Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

              Always remember: you are the rule, not the exception. Execs are busy. If your log line doesn't sound like a MOVIE (that they're interested in), and your comparibles are head scratchers, it doesn't matter how many stories about exceptions there are. Game over.

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              • #52
                Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

                I come back after a few hours and 3 pages ... i was so excited... I wrote 2 huge posts, everyone ignored them (which is a good notes btw, I'm boring)... but at least I now can read what you guys did write and take sides!!!

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                • #53
                  Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

                  Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
                  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.
                  I honestly didn't see yours, Joe. I didn't have time or the energy to wade through some of the longer posts.

                  BTW, I wrote the last of those three loglines.

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                  • #54
                    Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

                    Originally posted by Bono View Post
                    I come back after a few hours and 3 pages ... i was so excited... I wrote 2 huge posts, everyone ignored them (which is a good notes btw, I'm boring)... but at least I now can read what you guys did write and take sides!!!
                    I agreed with your post about The Godfather. I had little to add. Maybe we need a "like" button.

                    The comment after that about a protag with super powers. Hmmm.

                    Can a log help a writer map out act 2? I guess so. As will an outline or any number of tools.
                    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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                    • #55
                      Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

                      Thanks SC!

                      Craig would be laughing at all this talk about The Godfather logline... he just picked something and off the top of his head came up with the logline. His point, which is true, is the script is the thing that tells us if the story is worth anything. But he knows that we do need to give the pitch to get us there. He's being playful and yes of course he wishes that is the way it worked.

                      He did the 3 page challenge on DD (or was it 5 pages here?) and now Scriptnotes and it's true you can tell really quickly if a writer has it.

                      But I yes, we are going to need to send a logline as we aren't established enough to say "Hey, please read my comedy spec. Try out the first 5 pages and if you like them read the rest. Thanks."

                      So Sc -- you stopped writing for 10 years and now you're back? Or you mean scripts? Did you try novels or just give up writing?

                      JoeNYC -- more of your personality is coming out... I'm just curious if you have sent our queries yet for any of your scripts? I honestly don't know if you've sent out zero, 10 or 1000 in your time? Any good results?

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                      • #56
                        Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

                        Originally posted by Bono View Post
                        JoeNYC -- more of your personality is coming out... I'm just curious if you have sent our queries yet for any of your scripts? I honestly don't know if you've sent out zero, 10 or 1000 in your time? Any good results?
                        Bono, I’ve mentioned my query experience before, where I sent off only one ( edited: I meant for one script only), but the following may be interesting to those members who haven’t heard about my experience before.

                        To entice the TOP agents to request your screenplay by way of a cold call query it’s gonna require a powerful, high concept logline. My second screenplay had this.

                        I know there may be exceptions, but usually to entice a top agent, not talking about a manager, it’s gonna take a powerful, high concept.

                        I was so sure about this concept that I only sent it off to the top ten agencies in L.A. (At the time, being a newbie, I had no clue about managers.)

                        Within twenty four hours, I had one request from an agent at an agency, which has since merged with the William Morris agency, for me to sign the attached release form and send the script.

                        After a 3 month wait, I received an email with one word: Pass.

                        This rejection was devastating. I had a strong, franchise concept. If I couldn’t interest someone with this concept, I’m doomed.

                        I looked over the screenplay to see why it was a pass. The antagonist was a cliche mafia guy, so I proceeded to do a page one rewrite with a different antagonist.

                        Before I received the pass, I had sent off a query to the producer of BATMAN RETURNS, Denise Di Novi. She also requested the screenplay, but I never sent it off to her.

                        With the pass from the agent and the fact that Craig Mazin came out with his super hero comedy, I gave up and moved on to something else.

                        I accepted the fact that this is just my second screenplay. Even though my first two screenplays advanced in screenwriting competitions against my fellow amateur peers, my craft wasn’t at a level where I could compete with the working professionals in the industry.

                        At this time, I feel my craft is strong enough where I’m ready, so I’m gonna be more active with my writing, querying, contests, etc.

                        Bono, you’re a comedy writer. In the private “Story Development” forum, I’ve posted the marketing logline and the working premise that I followed to write the script to this high concept comedy.

                        Take a look and give me your opinion. Thanks.
                        Last edited by JoeNYC; 05-12-2019, 10:04 AM.

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                        • #57
                          Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

                          Joe, this is all so depressing. You sent off what 10 queries, got 1 read with PASS and that's it? One rejection and you abandoned a script. This is not how to do it, man. I want you to succeed, but you are standing in your own way. Don't you see that? There is learning from your mistakes than their is being afraid to make a mistake. You're supposed to have a great script and send it to 1000 people and hope 10 want to read it and 1 loves it. That's the game of specs.

                          So how are you going to know if what you feel strongly about loglines is right, if you don't send them out into the world and try to get your stuff moving?

                          You've spent say 100 hours talking about how to write the perfect logline, but only 1 hour actually trying to write a logline for you to send out. Reverse that! You said a writer "must do this, this, this or so and so says this this this..." well jump into the game and find out for yourself. Please. You can't become a screenwriter unless you go on to the next step. The business step.

                          When I was applying to colleges, my shitty guidance counselor give me the reasons not to apply. He said "You won't get in." So I said, "If I don't get in, then I won't go." He laughed. And this guy had zero sense of humor, so that was a great victory in many ways.

                          That's how I've felt about querying since. It's always a NO until you ask when it MAY BE a YES, but it's for sure a NO if you never ask.

                          As the great Michael Scott in The Office quoted the best hockey player of all time (or one of them) Wayne Gretzky "You Miss 100% of The Shots You Don't Take."
                          Last edited by Bono; 05-12-2019, 07:35 AM.

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                          • #58
                            Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

                            Originally posted by Bono View Post
                            Joe, this is all so depressing. ... You can't become a screenwriter unless you go on to the next step. The business step.
                            I get your point and I agree, but remember, this all happened when I was a newbie with my second screenplay. I wasn't ready craft wise to have a manager, or an agent setting me up with meetings and pitching.

                            Have I lacked motivation over the years to step into the business side of the screenwriting world? Yes, definitely. I was comfortable just studying and writing.

                            I now have motivation because of two high concept scripts that I want to develop and complete. Once this is achieved, I'll become active, entering into the business side to get these scripts in front of industry people.

                            If it fails, it's okay because I enjoyed creating and writing.

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                            • #59
                              Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

                              Well, I'm confused at how many scripts we are at now and if the 2 high concept ones are new or retreads. I have an idea box, so I'm not even talking about an idea you had in 2010, but didn't write, I'm talking about an idea you put on paper in 2006 and now in 2019 are trying to make happen.. that scares me as a writer.

                              Also, you are very strong with opinions on loglines, so it's ironic that you don't take your own advice sometimes. And I don't know if you have your old query, but you got 1 request from a agent, so that's pretty amazing and I bet 100 bucks that your logline was over written and not at all what you are preaching now to do. But guess what? It worked! So the one time you queried, you proved that your logline advice may not be so cut and dry....

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                              • #60
                                Re: Log The Line... LOGLINES

                                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                                Well, I'm confused at how many scripts we are at now and if the 2 high concept ones are new or retreads. ... I bet 100 bucks that your logline was over written and not at all what you are preaching now to do.
                                "I'm confused"

                                I posted in the STORY DEVELOPMENT forum to get you unconfused.

                                "I bet 100 bucks"

                                Don't bet. You would lose. I was a newbie, but Christopher Lockhart trained me on how to write effective loglines. My SKUNKMAN logline was sweet.

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