The Judges: Week 5

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.

CUT SNAKE


A tense, sexy thriller based on the notorious
1973 Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub fire that killed 15 people.

The judges’ votes:


Do you want to see this film?

Yes: 11% – No: 33% – Not sure: 56%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 33% – No: 11% – Not sure: 56%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes: 11 % – No: 22% – Not sure: 67%

The judges’ verdict:


Jack: The Whiskey Au Go Go fire would make a great film, but this synopsis tells us nothing about the story.

The Whiskey Au Go Go fire would make a great film.

Dan: Is it an Australian story? I’m not familiar with it if it is. This logline needs more info – what about the fire necessitates it being a sexy thriller – central characters, more context?

This logline needs more info.

Steven: Sounds like a straight cash-in of Australian TV’s “Underbelly” franchise.  On that basis, it might be better marketed as a local telemovie, rather than as a feature film.
If this is to be a genuine feature film of at least some merit, then a minimum of two more things are needed:-
1) Describe the protagonist.  Who is he?  What makes him different from all the archetypes we have already seen in the “Underbelly” series?
2) What makes this story internationally relevant?  Specify what relevance this film will have to a viewer from Paris, London, New York, Hong Kong, etc.  Even if that relevance is as simple as the intersection of sex, money, and corruption.


DARK PASSAGE


An American couple set out to adopt a little girl after the loss of their own child, but waiting in the small Australian town, the couple have a run-in with an intimidating local, who kidnaps their new daughter as part of a deadly extortion plot.

The judges’ votes:


Do you want to see this film?

Yes:  50% – No:  50% – Not sure:  0%

Would Australians want to see it?

Yes: 67% – No:  11% – Not sure:  22%

Would it work in rest of the world?

Yes:  56% – No:  11% – Not sure:  33%

The judges’ verdict:


Kim: This is a great premise and improving the logline is simply a matter of improving some word choice – the meat of the story has been described quite well.  The phrase “waiting in the small Australian town” is a bit awkward. Perhaps beginning a new sentence with this new idea will let you clarify, such as “While waiting in the small Australian town where they plan to adopt,” or something to that affect. The local isn’t just intimidating, he’s a downright scoundrel. I’d select an adjective for him that makes him sound crueler in action than intimidating. Otherwise, great!

This is a great premise and improving the logline
is simply a matter of improving some word choice.

Nina: The synopsis should mention the flaws of the dual protagonists – if there are indeed two protagonist’s – so we can imagine the difficulties and transformation the couple must undergo. This would improve an already intriguing synopsis.

The synopsis should mention the flaws of the dual protagonists.

Robin: Make it more simple and clear. ‘Death’ for ‘loss’ perhaps.  What does the couple do? If they just hand over money and get girl back, not really interesting. Why ‘deadly’?


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!

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