Producing : Log lines by George Pierson

George Pierson

Log lines

I have an idea for two stories. Unfortunately, I am having a couple of problems I am having a problem coming up with decent log lines. I find it a lot easier to explain the stories as best as I can. Do any of you have any ideas or suggestions for someone like me who never written one before? In addition, I have tried using a crowd-funding site to raise money for someone to help me. As of this date, not one person, even the ones I know, have offered to help me in any way. Given how difficult I found to do that, would a producer even listen to someone who has a story idea but no actual script. I am more than willing to work with any professional screenwriter. Unfortunately, I simply have no way of hiring one on my own. There is a site called “” that I would like to check out; they are not expensive. However, I do not want to spend money there to pitch a project if they expect me to have a polished script at the ready. What do you all have to say?

Rajesh Vishwakarma

Very Good ! You can send its for me.

George Pierson

Send what to you?

Anne Pariseau

It seems to me that you might want to start by pitching your ideas to screenwriters. In the Jobs section, people post for collaboration. Another is to take the biggest hooks (most exciting and interesting points) and write a sentence or two around them. Something like "Someone does something and faces something in order get to the goal", filling in the the "someones and somethings" with details of your story. I hope that helps.

Craig D Griffiths

Try Forum for logline writing. Post it and get assistance.

J. Brian

This is going to come straight forward and this may sound harsh, but use the internet and find tutorials, get educated and go write your script yourself. After you've done so, you'll have something to show to a potential experienced co-writer who would probably be more willing to help you refine it once you've shown that you're serious and got the bulk of it out of the way. There are tons of tutorials you can find online that will tell you how to go about writing your script from developing your characters to outlining the story to formatting the screenplay. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it? That's because it is. But if you want your ideas turned into stories and scripts, this is what you'll have to do because you'll be hard-pressed to find a good writer who will be willing to take the time to do all of this for you unless they're being paid... And that ain't cheap. How do you think a lot of today's screenwriters learned to write screenplays? Not everyone can afford, nor have the desire, to attend film school to learn this. About half of the screenwriters you'll find on Stage32 are probably self-taught, too. I deal with this issue at conventions quite a bit when I'm promoting my own books. Everyone has an idea for a book or movie that they want someone else to write for them because they're too lazy to put forth the effort and learn to do the hard part themselves. Everybody has an idea. I have them everyday and I write them down. And if it requires a script, I write it. You should be doing the same. All the time and effort you wasted trying to raise money through crowdfunding (and for the most part, crowdfunding is a huge waste of time and effort) is time and effort that could have been better spent educating yourself in the field of screenplay writing and storytelling. In fact, now that I think about it, your chances of successfully raising money through crowdfunding are probably much better than finding a writer who'll be willing to develop your characters, outline your story and write your screenplay (ie - do all of the hard work for you) based on your idea. With the power and endless knowledge of the internet at your fingertips, there's no reason you can't figure this out on your own. But there is some really good advice given by others here, as well, so whatever route you take, good luck.

Brandon Clark

J. Brian makes some really advantageous points. 2 keys to a success in witty / well dramatized dialogue: READING + WRITING. Don't overwhelm yourself the first time you go about putting forth some booming effort to the page. Just start with some basics: free-form philosophy or some short stories. When you learned to construct sentences, you weren't asked for control the hands of a standardized film's 3-act plot structure. I write a lot, but the longest I've gone is a 4,000-word essay for a scholarship. It's hard to grab focus and stick to a subject, but with time and practice, you'll attain the wisdom to put forth the product. Reading is a given. It's important not to copy, but to analyze and critique your own writing styles in order to gather successful key points in your personal style. Use variety in your options. Skip pages and skim chapters to appear like you're getting more at a faster rate. That will keep from starch boredom. I just read non-fiction or philosophical opinion, but if you want to get some fantasy, fiction is incredibly viable. Another idea is to read a yet-to-be renowned author and find him / her on social media in order to acquire the rights to their screenplay. Could work in both of the favors at hand for a monetarily sufficient revenue. That's ways away, though. Don't give up. I have a lot of ideas too, and some are based on experience, while others stem from internal dialogue. And I find that the more I share my ideas, the more I get alternatives that I couldn't have conceived alone. Seriously, even without a response, I feel the benefit of sharing opens neural pathways that were previously locked! Steady hands are for surgery. Keep it shaken and keep it creative!

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

You need to rethink your approach. If you want to get started in the film business, ask yourself 'What am I bringing to the party?' In other words, what are you contributing to make someone want to work with you. An idea for a story to be told on film may be great, but the next step is probably 3 or more months of hard work writing a good script. And producers know this. Log lines are for completed scripts. They're a capsule summary of the story which allows a producer to see whether the script might be of interest. So for now, I'd follow the suggestions above and work on learning more about writing

Richard "RB" Botto

Here's an extremely popular webinar we ran right here on Stage 32 with Lane Shefter Bishop who (literally) wrote the (most well received) book on the subject.

Al Hibbert

I agree with all of these pieces of advice. The most important thing to do as step one is to write your idea/story down the best you can- do not worry about the rules yet- just write. Get it down. Then, start down the long road of hours and hours of studying, writing, asking, listening, writing, studying, asking, listening. In a year and a half, after starting from scratch (Although I actually have a journalism degree) I've spent close to 3,000 hours working on a TV series- I went far beyond the 'recommended' time and effort they tell you to do on a pilot- but, to get to the 'crux' of what our show was about, and to be able to understand my 'log line' that's what it took. I'm on a budget, but I did spend some money soliciting pro advice at a few points along the way (money well spent), including and editor, and a professional consultant. Plus a thousand tutorials etc. which are great for loosening log jams. It takes time and a compulsion to do it- you got to want to do that more than you want to watch funny cat videos, or play poke man.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Al - Sacrifice FCVs and Pokemon for mere career advancement?!!! :) How could you? (Sorry. I couldn't resist. Seriously, you made a good comment.)

Al Hibbert

Thanks Douglas. My granddaughter can watch the cat vids for hours- We've got live cat shows going on all the time around here, so need for the videos.

J. Brian

By the way, Mr. Pierson... BEWARE of anyone who just tells you flat-out "Send me your idea" - DON'T DO IT!!! I'm not sure if you have already, but if you must share your idea with ANYONE, make sure you have it protected first and/or have that person sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). My best advice: As I mentioned before - Write out your idea in a story form, such as a short story or treatment, and get it copyrighted. You can't copyright an idea and it's pretty stupid and pointless to just copyright a logline. But, once you've put your idea into the form of a written story - whether as a short story, treatment or even a script (which I suggest) - it makes better sense to copyright it that way. AND, FOR GOD'S SAKE, DO NOT MAIL IT TO YOURSELF! That is not copyrighting. Actually go through the process of registering it with the Library of Congress and get your copyright done the right way. It costs less than $50 and is a priceless tool for you. My other advice, which is arguably just as important: Use the NDA to share your idea if you're not going to write, nor copyright, the story or script. I don't care what kind of crap anybody says about NDAs being an amateur move. You know what's an even more amateur move? Sharing your raw idea with someone you don't even know that you met in an online group. Years ago, I was guilty of doing this and I regretted it several months later when the punk went and made a comic book out of my idea... and I got no credit for it. If you have your idea written (preferably as a spec script) and copyrighted, there's really no need for an NDA, because if that person steals your script, or any portion of it, you can prove in court that you owned it first. So, my point? DON'T SHARE YOUR IDEAS LIKE THEY'RE JUST PIECES CANDY! Treat them like they're pieces of gold. I've had heated discussions with people about NDAs and I am still a big supporter of them... ESPECIALLY at the beginning stages of a project before a script is even written - which is where you are, right now. Will an NDA protect you 100%? Probably not. But, NDAs have saved my ass several times in the past from people who have tried to take one of my projects and run away with it just because we had a falling out or didn't see eye to eye creatively. And sure, NDAs may be considered "amateur" in Hollywood, but at this point, Mr. Pierson, you won't be dealing with Hollywood, nor are you even close to being ready for Hollywood. And chances are, if you find someone who's willing to work with you at this stage, it won't be an industry player, it will just be someone to help you get your script written. So, if I were in your shoes (and I have been many times in the past when I first started), I would: Either 1- Research NDAs and have your collaborator sign it before you share you idea. Don't just share it with anyone who responds with "Send me your idea". Or 2- Research screenplay writing, write you script out the best way you can, and then get a copyright before you share anything. The script doesn't have to be perfect, just written. Good luck.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

George - One way to get started on developing and (per J. Brian's comment) protecting your idea is not to immediately set out to write the script. That is (for me, at least) a big undertaking. Instead perhaps you can do either a beat sheet (A numbered logical sequence of story moments. 'This happens. Then this happens...etc.') or a treatment (the story in prose. May be as short as 5 or 6 pages) (You'll find information on beat sheets and treatments on line.) You can register and/or copyright treatments. And I think you'll find the beat sheet or treatment will be quite helpful to you if you either write the script yourself or work with somebody else.

J. Brian

Good point, Mr. Mayfield. When I say "write your script" I don't mean literally sit down and write without a plan of attack first. You should outline your story and know what's going to happen and when and to whom. I should have clarified, because to me outlining and plotting is all part of the writing process. To someone else, it wouldn't be.

James Day

George, I'm going to suggest the where you can find everything about scripts, software and pitching. I would suggest Save the Cat for beginners, it assists in outlining and I use that software and John Turbys, but always write from the heart.

Craig D Griffiths

George. Ideas are free. As a writer I can tell you it is all in the execution of the story. How you tell your version of the idea. So I suggest you write a treatment if your can't write a script. It can be a bad treatment, dot points of your story. But it will at least protect your unique vision of the story. It will also give you something to show a screenwriter. Just remember ideas cannot be protected, because they are not a unique artistic creation. Plus, you will have hundreds of ideas. My suggestion is find a way of capturing them. They are the spring that stories will flow from.

Richie Holland

sometimes log lines are not needed with a good title

Sam Borowski

George, coming from an experienced writer-director/producer, my advice is that it sounds like you have to partner with an experienced writer who can help you. But, writers don't work for free. Some will work within your budget, but they will not do it for free. That may seem "hard" to you, but remember Tom Hanks' dialogue in A League of Their Own: "The hard is what makes it great. If it wasn't hard, than everyone would do it." Same thing applies here. You will need to work hard and make an investment. That is my advice to you.

Patricia Poulos

Just read this request. Ritchie information is not accurate. You need... a Logline to capture the eye of anyone. You need... a Synopsis to explain your story. You need... a Pitch... to sell your script. If you don't have a Logline it is doubtful you'll get to the next base. And it's true. You can't expect someone to work on your dream for nothing. They may as well work on their own dream.

Brett Goldman

When a ___________________ is ____________, then __________ must __________ in order to __________. More or less, follow this format and see what happens!

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