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The Judges: Week 14

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.

LAST DANCE


“Two Palestinian suicide bombers target a synagogue packed to capacity for Sabbath services. One blows himself up claiming many lives; the other escapes and holds hostage a female holocaust survivor. As the police close in, a strange relationship develops between the woman and the would be bomber. Past and present collide. She lost her family at Auschwitz and he lost his during an Israeli attack.”

 

The judges’ votes:


 

Do you want to see this film?

Yes: 40% – No: 40% – Not sure: 20%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 40% – No: 40% – Not sure: 20%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes: 40% – No: 20% – Not sure: 40%

The judges’ verdict:


 

Margaret: Good set-up but it’s not clear what the goal is. Once the bomber escapes and takes a hostage, what is his goal and how does his relationship with the hostage affect it? The last two sentences are also completely unnecessary. Once we know a suicide bomber has captured a holocaust survivor, it’s very clear exactly what the tensions between them are. The writer would have been better served with an additional sentence about the goal.

The writer would have been better served with an additional sentence about the goal.

 

Dan: Good logline. It gives specific information about the main characters and holds lots of promise for inevitable conflict. I now want to know how this story will play out and that should be the ultimate goal for a logline. Due to the logline though, it does feel there’s a chance this film will be preachy. Perhaps removing the last line would lessen the tone of impeding didacticism and keep the focus on the strong characters and story.

Due to the logline though, it does feel there’s a chance this film will be preachy.

 

Jack: The Stockholm syndrome is a very interesting theme and this could be an intriguing story. Unfortunately the synopsis packs in too much unnecessary information. We don’t need to know about the second bomber, the packed to capacity synagogue or the fact that the relationship is strange. A better synopsis would be: “When a Palestinian suicide bomber holds a female Jewish Holocaust survivor hostage past and present collide as the police close in.” The title might be a bit misleading, coming on the heels of “Mao’s Last Dancer”.


MY MISTRESS


“Any idea of happily ever after ends when 16-year-old Charlie Boyd finds love in the arms of a 43-year-old S & M mistress and discovers a perverse and funny way of healing his grief following his father’s tragic death.”

 

The judges’ votes:


 

Do you want to see this film?

Yes: 10% – No:  70% – Not sure:  20%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 0% – No:  30% – Not sure:  70%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes:  0% – No:  70% – Not sure:  30%

The judges’ verdict:


 

Kim: I want to think this is a “HAROLD AND MAUDE with a S&M twist” type of story but the logline isn’t quite revealing enough to get me enthused about it. It might be the tone of the logline that’s keeping me from accessing the idea of this story. Overall it seems kind of sad but including the word “funny” leads me to believe it will probably be more quirky than tragic. If the tone of the logline consistently matched the tone of the script (e.g. comedic, dramatic, quirky, thrilling) then it may be more successful at conveying what this film will be about.

Overall it seems kind of sad but including the word “funny” leads me to believe it will probably be more quirky than tragic.

 

Ursula: This Harold and Maude story is just so weird and controversial it might work. I’m personally uncomfortable with the thought of watching a 16 year old boy with a 43 year old woman,especially if she’s into S&M.

This Harold and Maude story is just so weird and controversial it might work.

 

Nina: If the synopsis was changed to the following, it would give it a ‘somewhat’ poignant slant: 16 yr old Charlie Boyd finds love in the arms of a 43yr old S&M mistress and discovers a way of healing his grief following the death of his father. The original synopsis makes this more of a dysfunctional situation and the ‘funny’ side of it is hard to see because of the underage boy.



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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About the Author

Adrian Kok

Comments 1

  1. 1 – could work but sloppily written

    2 – paraphrase – “no chance of a happy ending when hero both finds love and overcomes his grief” ?? Where is the sense in that?

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