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The Judges: Week 13

In 2011, each week 10 judges will review two short synopses from films that are currently in development.

The objective is to all (that includes us judges) learn from the exercise.

 

Please comment on our comments!

Creative Commons License photo credit: swanksalot

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.

FIVE SPICE


“A love story between Lili, a beautiful outspoken chef from Shanghai and Luke, the son of a billionaire who is in China setting up a processed frozen Chinese meal business.”

 

The judges’ votes:


 

Do you want to see this film?

Yes: 10% – No: 60% – Not sure: 30%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 10% – No: 30% – Not sure: 60%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes: 10% – No: 30% – Not sure: 60%

The judges’ verdict:


 

Steven: What (little) we are told here is not, by itself, compelling. We need to know more about the two leads and about what will be the major conflict that they will face. Additionally, the phrase “processed frozen Chinese meal business” is over-elaborate about a detail that, frankly, is of almost no interest to the reader. “Processed food corporation” would be enough to say there. That Lili is “outspoken” is good, but that she is “beautiful” is boringly generic. She should be described more vividly. For example, “a spunky, ivory-skinned, elfish fresh food chef.” Similarly, we need a much more specific description of Luke. Him simply being a “son of a billionaire” is not enough. What KIND of billionaire’s son is he? An arrogant, pampered, spoilt rich kid who has never truly worked in his life? A ruthless corporate ladder-climber? Or a conflicted man that is trying to live up to his father’s expectations despite really wanting to do something else? In each case the specifics of Luke’s personality makes a real texture difference to the story and the expected conflict that will arise.

We need to know more about the two leads and
about what will be the major conflict
that they will face.

 

Kim: And the problem is…? That’s immediately what came to mind. This could certainly be a charming short film but as a feature, this logline gives no sense of the stakes or the obstacles for this love story. Who is against their love? Or is it like the film You’ve Got Mail, where the conflict lies in their very different approaches to working in the same industry? To understand the obstacles here is to understand the story.

All romantic stories concentrate
on the obstacles keeping the lovers apart.
What is keeping Lilly and Luke apart?

 

Jack: Unfortunately the synopsis tells us who the characters are but nothing about the story. All romantic stories concentrate on the obstacles keeping the lovers apart. What is keeping Lilly and Luke apart? Surely not fresh food versus frozen food. I can imagine a conversation between the billionaire father and Luke. Father: You can’t marry Lili. She is too outspoken. Luke: But she is beautiful and makes great food. Father: OK. You can marry her. CREDITS. END.


HIGHWAYS TO A WAR


“When Mike Langford, a war photographer with a reputation for risk-taking, disappears inside Cambodia after its fall to the Khmer Rouge, he becomes a mythic figure in the minds of his friends. The search for him reveals the personal highways that led him to war, and to his ultimate fate.”

 

The judges’ votes:


 

Do you want to see this film?

Yes: 50% – No:  25% – Not sure:  25%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 50% – No:  10% – Not sure:  40%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes:  50% – No:  25% – Not sure:  25%

The judges’ verdict:


 

Dan: This one has some potential, atmospheric setting, mystery, journey. A bit Apocalypse Now-ish. Would be interesting to know something about the searchers – could be deal-breaker or maker.

A bit Apocalypse Now-ish.

 

Nina: For a synopsis I would keep to the essential story which is about Langford. Omit the friends search for him if the characters are brought in merely to act as bookends – to introduce the story of Langford and conclude the story. I would be more interested in knowing more about this mythic figure. What started Langford’s quest which ended with his disappearance? What were the conflicts that made his quest so difficult? Revealing more of his story doesn’t lessen the impact, it allows us to become intrigued by the main character and his story.

I would be more interested in
knowing more about this mythic figure.

 

Margaret: Who is the protagonist? This sounds like a story that is told after Mike Langford disappears, so who is the one searching for him? Even if the story is revealed through flashbacks, his story has already occurred, so the audience needs another person to see as the protagonist.



The Judges (click for details)



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?

 

Please give us your opinion in the comments at the bottom of this page.


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Adrian Kok

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