2

Logline it! – Week 7

Writing loglines is an essential skill for screenwriters, from early development through to the pitch. In this section, every week our panel reviews a few loglines posted to www.logline.it. Learn from the feedback and perfect your own loglining skills.


by The Judges

Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar

[box] “A romp through family life and black-sheepedness in small town Tasmania in the 1980s. Based on the bestselling novel by DJ Connell[/box]

The judges’ verdict:


Karel: I don’t know how ‘bestselling’ this book was but I have never heard of it. In any case, filmgoers don’t care. If you have to rely on book readers only, your movie will fail. Finally, the logline doesn’t give us anything except for the setting – and we know that Tasmania has families and sheep. In other words, this is NOT a logline. For anyone other than those who know the book, there is NOTHING selling about it.”

The logline doesn’t give us anything except for the setting

James: “I am starting to get sick of writing this but it has to be said…who is the main character. A story without a main character cannot work. Even documentaries are still led by the omnipresent narrator. I’m sure that this story does have a main character, I don’t doubt that. It has to be stated in the logline who he/she is. We don’t need a name. Simply a sex, an ethnicity (if important) and hopefully a flaw. With this the reader can begin to imagine who the character is a draw the story themselves. This logline is simply words on a page with no real meaning.”

 A story without a main character cannot work

 

Last Cab to Darwin

[box] “Max, a taciturn Broken Hill cabbie, has never done anything with his life. He’s in love with his neighbour Polly, but he’s never told anyone, not even himself. He thinks he’ll live and die alone in Broken Hill. Then something happens that forces Max to go on an extraordinary journey – a journey that shows him, and us, that it’s never too late to change your life[/box]

The judges’ verdict:


Karel: “This logline goes into excessive detail describing all that is uninteresting about this character, then fails to tell us what is potentially interesting (and which – hopefully – sets the story in motion).” The following expresses the nature of pretty much EVERY hero’s journey: “Then something happens that forces [insert hero] to go on an extraordinary journey – a journey that shows him, and us, that it’s never too late to change your life.” There are a lot of words in this logline but not many that actually achieve anything”

There are a lot of words in this logline but not many that actually achieve anything

James: “This logline achieves the amazing feat of giving away too much and not enough at the same time. It introduces a main character. This is good. It gives him a flaw. This is even better. It then, unfortunately, goes in to much detail on this characters life. We get that he’s uninteresting, there’s no need to hammer this point in. Now its makes him seem boring and somebody that I wouldn’t want to watch on the big screen. Keep it simple. Second it states that he goes on a journey. Tell us what this journey is. It has to be tangible to the audience, if it comes off sounding like an emotional journey then it will be read as being boring. Tell us why he goes on this journey and where to. Then there’s a goal and a destination that symbolises it.   ”

  It goes in to much detail on this characters life

If you have an opinion on any of these synopses or the feedback from the judges, please share it with us in the comments below. Please keep the discussion constructive. Even if your first instinct may be subjective, try to give us as objective a reply as possible. The objective is to all (that includes us, judges) learn from the exercise.

So what is your verdict? Would you want to see these films? Why (not)? Did the judges get it right? How would you improve the synopses/loglines and what do you feel might improve the stories behind them?

To read the full reviews and those from casual visitors, go to www.logline.it.

The Judges (click for details)


About the Author

James Michael

Comments 2

  1. CatLovingMan

    Most of these are shocking! How about throwing in a few good ones? I’m sure we can all learn from those, too.

    1. ozzywood

      I’m aware of this. That’s why I’m trying to get the ‘Classics’ section going over at http://logline.it. The idea is to perfect the loglines for movies most of us know, so we can learn from those.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *