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The Judges: Week 4

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.

CHARLIE


A workaholic father who has lost sight of the most important things in life – his wife and daughter – is tragically killed,
but is given a second chance to engage with his family
when he comes back to life – as a bug!

The judges’ votes:


Do you want to see this film?

Yes: 22% – No: 67% – Not sure: 11%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 22% – No: 39% – Not sure: 39%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes: 22% – No: 56% – Not sure: 22%

The judges’ verdict:


Steven: Extremely unoriginal story!

The workaholic father bit is so familiar that “has lost sight of the most important things in life” is completely redundant.  Therefore, it creates DISinterest, rather than interest!

The coming back as a bug bit may have gag value for perhaps 15 minutes, no more.

It is also hard to see how he will be able to effectively atone to his wife and daughter as a ‘bug’. No matter how clever or resourceful at engineering the bug incarnation may be, how will a small and unsightly insect truly manage to provide emotional reconciliation towards the two women in the end?  Even in a comedy, there has to be some convincing prospect of emotional closure in the end.  The synopsis does not provide any answer or reply to this doubt.

The coming back as a bug bit may have
gag value for perhaps 15 minutes, no more.

Margaret: Yes, it’s been done.  But perhaps there are new jokes you can get out of a bug that you couldn’t get out of a dog, or a snowman, or Jim Carey, or . . . I’m sure there are others.

Is this animated?  Live action and CGI?  Puppets?  Who is the target audience for this film, kids or their parents?  If it’s kids then perhaps the synopsis should appeal to what they will be getting out of it.  I wouldn’t recommend targeting the workaholic parents though.  They rarely take their kids to the movies.

Who is the target audience for this film,
kids or their parents?

Kim: Wow, what a wild premise! It has me very curious as to how this plays out in the screenplay, which is great for a logline since the goal is to build interest in the script. I’d wonder about the genre of this script – is it a comedy, family film, animated, dark comedy – because that would greatly affect the tone. And a teeny word choice recommendation, consider making “engage” stronger, such as “connect” so a deeper journey toward healing with his family is implied.

THE CROOKED HEAD


An evangelical missionary and linguist moves his family to the Brazilian jungle hoping to convert a remote Amazonian tribe to Christianity but ends up rejecting his faith,
picking a fight with his hero and losing his family.

The judges’ votes:


Do you want to see this film?

Yes:  22% – No:  22% – Not sure:  56%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 11% – No:  33% – Not sure:  56%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes:  11% – No:  22% – Not sure:  67%

The judges’ verdict:


Dan: When I say “not sure” I mean it’s execution dependent – I’m interested but need to know more about the potential production. This has possibility.

it’s execution dependent

Karel: I’m afraid that “hoping to convert a remote Amazonian tribe” is not a goal mainstream moviegoers get excited about these days. I am hopeful, though, that this part of the story is only the ‘ordinary world’ (first 15-30mins of the movie) and therefore should not have such prevalence in the logline. Then, “ends up rejecting his faith, picking a fight with his hero and losing his family” is made to sound like the story’s end, while it’s probably only what happens in Act Two. The “picking a fight with his hero” bit is most likely where the real drama happens. The story’s real concept may well work but it lies buried in a vague, dull and negative sounding logline.

The story’s real concept may well work but
it lies buried in a vague, dull and negative sounding logline.

Nina: I would like to know the protagonist’s flaw that is behind his virtuous nature; the event that made him give up his faith and the new goal which tries to see him win back his family – if this is his story. You could tighten the synopsis by either making it about the family drama or else making it about the protagonist and his hero, but not both.

Interesting but missing key details.

Robin: Interesting but missing key details. I don’t need to know plot but what challenges his faith and what dilemma he faces.


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 below!


About the Author

niels123

Comments 2

  1. Charlie : the log line cracked me up and makes me want to read the treatment. Then it depends.

    The Crooked Head: to vague. i’m concerned about setting. is this in the 1800s? 1900s? Why did he choose to move? IS he crazy committed to his faith at the start? You know – it could be a great script because I see potential in all that vagueness, but it needs work for me to actually want to read the treatment.

  2. 1. Don’t believe its going to work but curious enough to want to see if there’s any chance of pulling it off – the bug thing. I assume its not Metamorphosis and he is more like a fly on the wall able to influence events.

    2. Can see the scope for drama but agree there’s not much hint of what its really about and almost feel Ive got so much plot I’ve been told the story already.

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