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The Judges: Week 20

The Judges

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.

BLACK ECHOES


“A group of international tourists are taken off the beaten path to an isolated village deep in the Vietnamese countryside. They are promised a Viet Cong tunnel crawl experience that makes the famous Cu Chi Tunnels seem like a playground… Tighter, more claustrophobic, scarier – they get their money’s worth and then some.”

 

The judges’ votes:


Do you want to see this film?

Yes: 50% – No: 40% – Not sure: 10%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 40% – No: 10% – Not sure: 50%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes: 30% – No: 10% – Not sure: 60%

The judges’ verdict:


 

Margaret: I’m intrigued. The genre is definitely made clear by the claustrophobic setting, although I’m not sure as much time should have been spent talking about the tunnels. I don’t know what the Cu Chi Tunnels are, so words are wasted on using that reference. All we need to know is, scary, claustrophobic tunnels in Vietnam. This synopsis doesn’t say anything about the characters, or what kind of unexpected trouble they might face in these tunnels. Overall this logline needs less setting and more story.

The genre is definitely made clear by the claustrophobic setting, although I’m not sure as much time should have been spent talking about the tunnels.

 

Dan: You can say the Chu Chi Tunnels are famous as much as you like but I’ve never heard of them and that holds back my enthusiasm for this one. Like so many of these loglines they are reminiscent of other recent films (in this case The Descent and Sanctum) and I need more reassurance that the approach is going to be innovative.

The story sounds exciting but the synopsis is just a sequence of events.

 

Jack: The story sounds exciting but the synopsis is just a sequence of events. How about, “A group of international tourists, hoping for the experience of a lifetime, enter a Viet Cong tunnel complex in an isolated village… with cataclysmic results.”


REMARKABLE CREATURES


“Together, one woman’s gift and another’s determination result in one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 19th century, transcending class and social prejudice. A revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship, based on the acclaimed novel by Tracey Chevalier.”

 

The judges’ votes:


Do you want to see this film?

Yes: 45% – No:  0% – Not sure:  55%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 10% – No:  10% – Not sure:  80%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes:  10% – No:  0% – Not sure:  90%

The judges’ verdict:


 

Ursula: Why can’t we be told WHAT this important scientific discovery is? I think it would be stronger if we were told. That way you draw the guys into seeing this film as well.

Why can’t we be told WHAT this important scientific discovery is?

 

Steven: Firstly, tell us the specific personality traits about the two key woman and a lot less about the social themes the film aims to explore. Show us what makes the two contrast each other. For example, “A brilliant and vociferous ideas woman teams with a quiet, yet glacially determined, researcher to make a scientific breakthrough that will change the world.” Secondly, where’s the conflict? What specific prejudices (or opponents) will the women have to contend with? For example, “despite the contempt of the Victorian gentry and the hidden agenda of an unscrupulous French baron with money to splurge.” Tell us about these things more than any other.

What were the stakes for these women in making this discovery and who was their antagonist?

 

Nina: The summary of the film’s story is what is missing in this synopsis. Also, it is set out a little haphazardly. We are given a brief description of these women and the completion of their goal – their scientific discovery – in Act 3. However, the inciting incident and Act 2 are absent. What were the stakes for these women in making this discovery and who was their antagonist? Including these elements would add more weight to what could be a very interesting movie.



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. seems partly based on doubtful assumptions. A – that people visit Viet Cong tunnels for the discomfort value rather than historical interest. B – That man made tunnels will fire the imagination of an audience.

    2. I’d just take it as a given that one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 19th century is going to transcend class and social prejudice. Actually its a grammatical nonsense too.

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