Screenwriting : Logline by Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Logline

If you were a producer and read this Logline.... would you request the script? Please advise. It's been a struggle. Thank you. After her only child was abducted and found murdered, a distraught single parent discovers that the child she buried was not her own.

Robin Kenny

This seems to be the first minute of the movie. But stops. What happens next? What does she do now? Does the real identity of the dead child help with finding hers? Did she actually pay a ransom? Is this a team of lazy kidnappers who only care about the money - extorting a group of parents - and returning one random child at a time? The log-line needs to show the next step - something to compel the reader to go on.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Yeah, what Robin said. You've written a closed story. The logline needs to be along the lines of "When x happens, the hero MUST..." Like "When the distraught single mother of a murdered son discovers that the child she buried is not hers, her investigation forces her to confront etc. etc..."

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Robin and Kerry, thank you so much. A great help, both of you.

Kalisa Moore

Absolutely; Yes! Good Luck Sylvia...keep me posted!

Tito Germaine 'Ontherise' Ellis

I Agree.

Emily Cracknell

It definitely had me hooked, but yeah a little more about how she reacts to the problem. But great start!

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Kalisa, Tito. Emily and Emily Ann..... Thank you for commenting. I appreciate it. Here's what I've done.... I've taken Kerry's suggestion and added... "When a distraught single parent of a murdered child discovers that the child she buried is not hers, her investigation forces her to confront a respected police officer, who is also a neighbor." BTW... the title is STONE DRIVE. Yes? Or No?

Kalisa Moore

kudos! Yes! Man, what a great logline and the beginning to a future "Silver Screen Hit!" I don't know if you were able to read my post earlier on the Lounge post Sylvia, but when you are done with your spec and have the time even now, please go to www.blklst.com - you may have you a winner girlfriend =) keep me posted...no matter what Sylvia!

Kerry Douglas Dye

Great title. Now that you've taken my suggestion I feel somewhat responsible... Are we saying, "confront her neighbor, a respected police officer, who may just be the killer?" I know you're using my wording, but I guess being forced to confront a neighbor doesn't quite send chills up my spine. Are we talking about a killer/abductor here?

Kalisa Moore

Wow! that would be a true thriller! So the police man winds up being the killer, and the mom doesn't realize this until its almost too late when clues regarding the officers help, become skeptical and truly eerie once she realizes he trying to kill her. Single mom narrowly escapes her death and gets help in the nick of time!

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Yes Kerry he's an abductor... but of course nobody knows that till towards the end when the mother finds out that her daughter might be in his basement, she breaks into his house and actually finds her... then the abductor traps both of them.

Kalisa Moore

Awesome Sylvia!

Kerry Douglas Dye

Sounds like it has a lot of potential. I'd just say punch up EITHER the subject or verb at the end of that logline. If it isn't "the police officer who may be the abductor", then rather than "confront"ing him maybe she "clashes" with him, engages in a deadly battle of wits... runs afoul... I dunno. It sounds like a great story. Make sure the logline promises what the story delivers. (And don't worry about spoilers, if that's your concern.)

Gav Elias

Got me curious to know more! However, as a couple of critical comments, I would remove "murdered child" as technically she is not the single parent of a murdered child as I understand it. I would tweak it to something like the below to keep some mystery about the abductor and demonstrate that it is a thriller. "When a distraught single parent discovers that the child she buried is not hers, her investigation forces her to confront an abductor that is not only in a position of authority and respect, but also closer to home than she realises."

Kerry Douglas Dye

Yeah, Gav's is good. I like that.

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

The logline promises what the story delivers... except the climax is never included in a logline... correct?

Kerry Douglas Dye

No idea. But I'd certainly tease the climax, if that's where the juice of the story is.

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Thanks Gav. I like that as well... It needs to entice someone to at least look at the synopsis after reading the Logline... or even better yet, request the script. Just so you know I've had some high quality Coverage done on it by professional screenwriter, not consultants that have never written a word... received comments like "riveting, tense, compelling." Very encouraging. Of course there were a few holes in it which I've fixed. So I'm happy to go to Market now. The Logline/Synopsis... are my 'not so sure' about them. What to include, what not to include, set the tone, etc. The usual I guess. Thank you all. When you work by yourself sometimes it is difficult to see the forest for the trees.

Victoria Lugovskaya

I would not request the script, because the idea is banal. Make the story unique, and it will get me interested.

Gav Elias

No probs Sylvia. Always glad to help where I feel I may be of some use :) Victoria's comment is a bit blunt, but perhaps fair ish in the main. However, as you have already had feedback on it being compelling and riveting I would ignore this advice in this instance. It is not always about the uniqueness of the story as many successful screenplays would testify to, particularly those related to crime, thriller and drama genres. As off the top of my head examples, Superbad, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction etc are all examples of highly successful screenplays that didn't have particularly unique stories, but we're more about the delivery.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Yikes. Someone brought an axe to the garden party.

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

I know, right?

Kalisa Moore

Kudos Gav! The movie Superbad, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are definitely three of the best screenplays ever! Nothing unique in the stories as you mentioned but my goodness, what good movies they were! Thank you for sharinG and putting thee "aXe" to reSt! =)

Victoria Lugovskaya

Sylvia, you asked me if I would request the script, and I wouldn't. As it sounds now, the logline is not attractive. I know that people are very sensitive about all kinds of criticism (including me), but seriously, where is the harshness of the comment? In the word "banal"? I was frank, not harsh. Besides, online comments often seem colder than they are. The person on the other side of the screen doesn't mean to make you feel bad. By the way, you can criticize my comment, too, if you wish. You can say: "You ask for uniqueness, but you don't give any concrete advice. How shall I achieve this uniqueness? I want to tell a story from real life that would touch hearts, but how can I make this stand out in my logline?" There is always room for criticism, and the key to success is not to take it personally and to keep in mind that the other person wants to help. P.S. I didn't bring an axe, but a stone, and stones are part of the garden :)

Kerry Douglas Dye

Very few loglines read as "unique". Here's a list of weekly top grossing movies (US) this year. How many of these loglines would read as "unique"? - Lone Survivor - Ride Along - Non-Stop - Divergent - Captain America 2 - Neighbors - Godzilla - X-Men: Days of Future Past - Maleficent Every single one, as far as I can tell, is a variation on things we've seen before. I'd say it's the rare high concept movie where you read the logline and say, "wow, what a great original idea!" Mostly you say, "okay, that's in the genre I'm looking for. Let me read it and see if it's any good."

Victoria Lugovskaya

Thank you for the information, Kerry. I think it's a pity that the majority of the films that the industry produces are a variation on things we've seen before. Cinema desperately needs to explore more original ideas, instead of remaking fairy tales and comics stories. However, studios receive tons of screenplays with very similar loglines, and to make yours one stand out, it should have some specific details to catch attention and to make the agent want to read your script.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Correction, Victoria: you came to the garden party, picked up a stone, and hit Sylvia on the head with it. Here is the harshness of your comment: 1. Sylvia asked for feedback on her logline. You took it upon yourself to dismiss the ENTIRE PREMISE OF THE SCRIPT ITSELF (not just the logline). 2. You spoke from on high. "The idea is banal", you said. Not even an "in my opinion" or "to my taste". 3. Your criticism was not at all constructive. "Make the story unique" is basically telling her, "scrap your months or years of work based on this premise and start over." Not very helpful. But that's just my opinion. Maybe other people read your comment differently.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Great, I like this constructive stuff, Victoria... any ideas on the sort of specific details Sylvia should be thinking about?

Kerry Douglas Dye

And, for the record, I agree with you that it's a pity. But I also don't fault a writer who wants to tell a (variation on a) familiar story well. As long as they can tell it well.

Victoria Lugovskaya

Kerry, I assume that everything that people write here is in their opinion or to their taste. I wrote my first impression: the logline didn't appeal to me, for the very reason I expressed in my first comment. But you are right: my criticism was not constructive, it was more like "It's bad, make it good." I should've given Sylvia ideas for improving her logline, as some people in this discussion did. I didn't mean to hurt with my stone, but next time I will be more careful. By the way, I don't think that we should value the work only because of the amount of time and effort that the author invested into it. The story must be great, no matter if you spent three months or five years completing it. If after five years it's still not good, rewrite or start over.

Kerry Douglas Dye

I appreciate you saying that. Anyway, I'm on shaky ground claiming the moral authority to play civility police around here. The role doesn't suit me, so I'll stop now. It's also possible I'm defensive because nothing I write would pass the "blindingly original premise" test. It's frustrating to come up with an idea that you feel is entirely your own invention, but you know that in 100+ years of cinema and hundreds more of modern storytelling, other writers have written stories with similar premises, themes, settings, whatever. We're too late to the (garden) party to be the first to arrive at most of our ideas. We just have to render the idea with as much invention and surprise as we can.

Victoria Lugovskaya

Kerry, although you did criticize me, you've been a good cop and played the role of a civility policeman just fine :) And you helped Sylvia a lot to improve her logline which now sounds more concrete and compelling. I understand what you are saying about arriving late to the party. It amazes me to discover that some ideas that look relatively new were created decades ago. An old idea taken in talented hands can become a masterpiece. But my passion has always been creating original ideas and making them work. That's why I'm so picky, perhaps. I'm tired of watching the same stuff all over again. This year I participated in the Page Awards with a sci-fi script that I believe is truly original: I haven't read or seen anything like this before. So I'm very confident about my idea, but the thing that worries me is the way I delivered it. I know it needs more hard work and can be written a lot better. That's why I'm going to keep improving it, because the idea is worth it.

Danny Manus

It can also be said that different loglines and stories will connect differently to different countries. There are people all over the world on Stage 32, which is great, but that often brings a different taste level or knowledge level about the American/Hollywood Market.

Mahrukh Chikliwala

very interesting. good potential for a crime thriller

Cherie Grant

i think the logline has a good mystery to it. it's not easy to fool a woman into taking home the wrong baby. Anyway, if you believe in the story then work on it. There is bound to be a producer out there who does like your logline. I mean how many people here have said no? A tiny handful. And is it even the sort of film they would produce anyway? Unlikely.

Gav Elias

Wow. This blew up whilst I was asleep over here in the UK, and I am glad the "axe" situation got cleared up for Sylvia's sake :) Now, i have never been to film school and only just started writing myself. However,I have seen thousands of films and am obsessed with them, so take these as you waneed and as my own opinion.I am officially new to writing but have previously written review columns and self-studied and analysed tons of films. To me there are 10 factors that make a great script, which are: 1. Likeability The main character (and others) needs to be likeable to make audience engage with them and be interested in them.This can take the form of unexpected 'likeability' if you understand human exposition very well. For example, people sympathise with Walter White in Breaking Bad and Piper Chapman in Orange Is the New Black even though they are meant to be disliked criminals by society's usual perspective. This is achieved cleverly and you need to work things like this out for yourself as to how. 2. Rewatchability The story needs to have a strong rewatchability factor. This is that no matter how many times you watch it, you still get drawn into the story. This, to me, is what makes a film a classic and makes it stand out. Think of the times people have watched Star Wars, Jurassic Park, It's a Wonderful Life etc, all because of this rewatchability factor. The twist ending can make it rewatchable too, as long as it is not a one trick pony. Think of a film like Saw for this ending example. 3. Surprises and Cliffhangers Try and put some sort of unexpected part of the story into every scene.This should be in every scene, think of the start of Pulp Fiction where two seemingly clumsy robbers are having breakfast talking about robberies of gas stations and then all of a sudden try to rob the place Also from Pulp Fiction, think of unexpected twists like not knowing Vincent and Jules are hitmen on way to a job while driving along talking about burgers, not knowing how Butch and Mar sell us are gonna interweave, not knowing that Mia is gonna overdose, not knowing how Butch and Vincent interweave etc. Cliffhangers are slightly different to surprises. These should be things that are resolved in later scenes and should occur intermittently to keep the audience engaged and playing detective. 4. Make the audience ask questions This is kind of linked to 3. You need to keep the audience playing detective and don't resolve questions until you have laid new questions upon them to keep them in an inquisitive and intrigued state. Examples of doing this is allowing the audience into secrets that the character in the movie does not yet know, making the audience question how he will find out. Think of when Tom Roth tells the police officer he is an undercover cop in Reservoir Dogs so the audience know before all the Mr's involved in the heist. 5. Opposing viewpoints Characters in a scene who agree with each other tend to get very boring very quickly. Having opposing viewpoints antagonises the characters and creates natural conflict via opposing viewpoints. Think of any 'duo' films like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or even sitcoms and this is rife in them in order to make things more interesting. 6. Uniqueness This is NOT the uniqueness of a story, but rather there being a unique and quirky stamp of your style on the scenes you write. An example of this, again from Pulp Fiction, is the "Le Royale" conversation between Vincent Vega and Jules which Tarantino observed during a timeout he had in Amsterdam, which also seeped into the script with Vincent also having just been to Amsterdam. 7. Fantasies You need to play on the audience's fantasies. This means giving that sense of escapism to the audience and experiencing something they would never normally experience. Even real-to-life stories are usually based in circumstances where the vast majority would never have experienced. 8. Making it memorable For this, I believe you need to make each scene have a purpose and be memorable to the audience. On top of this, you also need to have at least 4 unforgettable scenes that in time, people will think of automatically think of when people mention the film title. 9. Journey You need to try and hook the audience onto the protagonist and make them feel they also went on the journey where by the Third Act, they feel they have been through everything with the character and are now in an unexpected resolution. 10. Write for Yourself To me, this is different to write what you know. This, to me, is about using your own imagination and creating something that only you could write avoiding 'copying' your idols. This is THE main reason why the story does not have to be unique as the telling of the story in you own style with your own spin, twist and personality on it is what makes it your workind and different to "the same" stories that have previously gone by. Now, these might be wrong or buckle some trends as they are things I have derived from personally studying and analysing tons of films before I felt equipped to tackle my own screenwriting.However, these are what I stripped out, as an appreciator of film, that are important to the audience, even if most are subconsciously. On the side of a unique story, I think that is just the way cinema has gone. The big players are now operating more like businesses than innovators, which is fair enough considering the budget they pump into some films. For this reason, they will always go for the tried and tested to recoup their investment and this is the reason you have comic films with a pre-built fan base, as goes for fairy tales, sequels etc. If you want to innovate, you would be more likely to get this in the indie film scene the way things are now. However, for true innovation and uniqueness I think the best medium at the moment is TV. This is where you can experiment more and write more innovatively. If your script has the above pointers and does them well, it does not matter in the slightest if it is a re-telling of a similar story previously gone by, in my opinion.

Emily Cracknell

Entirely depends on the producer whether they would pick this up or not, you have to research your market as well as get the logline right. For the producers who are saying no, I wonder what sort of films you produce? This sounds like a good MOW to me, which may not be the sort of thing you make. Or perhaps what you want to make Sylvia? Like most things in life there isn't a a cookie-cutter correct answer.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Alle, if Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty meets Wicked?) counts as original, then my work is original as well. :)

Victoria Lugovskaya

Dhiraj, thank you very much for your cheer-up message. It's great that you participated with an original idea you are proud of. Whatever the results of the competitions are, I hope to see this idea on the big screen one day. Greetings to a fellow sci-fi writer.

Cherie Grant

Wow the two producers on this thread have tickets on themselves. Outside of this forum i've never heard of either producer so to Sylvia I say don't worry about them. They just like to lord it over us mere writers and tell us how we should be grovelling in gratitude for any crumb of validation we can get from them. I'm okay without though.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Having a "producer" credit means, at minimum, that you have a video camera or know someone who does. (And I speak with the authority of someone who has IMDb "Producer" credits but no ability to produce anything at this time.)

Kerry Douglas Dye

Noted, Alle. And for the record, I wasn't referring to you (or anyone specific, including myself!). I was just pointing out the fact that these days to get an IMDb producer credit you just need to be involved in the making of any zero budget movie that plays at any minor regional film festival. That comment shouldn't have been taken to impugn anyone in particular. It's more of a tip for screenwriters: one doesn't have to take seriously every Joe Schmo with a business card that says "Producer". On this point I'm sure we're in agreement.

Victoria Lugovskaya

Alle, thank you for your support and for reminding me that I don't have to defend myself or feel guilty for being frank and straight to the point. It was interesting to know a producer's point of view, which confirmed what I believe: every author should try to create something original and not just write one more story in the genre. I understand that asking for a critical opinion is different from inviting people to a garden party. If someone told me: "Your story is banal, I'm not interested", my reaction would be: "I don't want to write banal stories. How can I make it better?" Or, I would explain why my story still stands out from the multitude of similar ones. Unfortunately, few people would take straightforward criticism this way. Keeping this in mind, and for the sake of the author's better understanding of my opinion, I will provide more detailed advice. But on no ground should we (regardless of our profession and experience - we are intelligent people, and we all watch movies) dismiss our criticism just because the writer feels uncomfortable receiving it.

Cherie Grant

It's interesting that when a writer disagrees with anybody it's just us being precious and defensive, but when say a producer disagrees it's just them being frank and honest. I'm starting to notice trends in behaviour from certain types of people.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Sylvia: I think you have a great start. However, you may want to expand on suggestions by saying something like this: "While on the trail of a killer, a single mother discovers her brutally murdered child was not biologically hers and sets out on a whirlwind journey to locate her real child." Now your protagonist has the dual purpose of seeking justice for a murdered child, as well as discovering what happened to her biological child. I recently saw a switched at birth story involving a kidnapping on 20/20 or Dateline.

Danny Manus

There's a difference between having an opinion and it needing to be heard. Personally, I dont ask for opinions on my work from people less qualified than I am. i dont see the point. If you didn't respond to the logline, that's fine. I think the issue was how you responded. It's like if an Actor put their new Headshots on here and asked "What do you think of these pictures" and You responded with "You're ugly!" The actor wasn't asking you to comment on her looks, but on the picture. Sylvia was asking you to comment on her logline and instead you threw out a pretty nasty insult about her story. see the difference?

Gav Elias

Good point well made Danny!

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Danny: I agree with your remark and will take it a step further. I don’t give a rat’s ass what level of skill you’re at or where you perceive you’re at. That is no excuse for lack of manners or civility. The more success or skill one has, the more they should take care to offer other creative souls constructive feedback.

Gav Elias

Victoria, I fear that you are slightly missing the point again. If a producer told you "it's banal, I'm not interested" and you went away to work on it on the back of that statement alone, as you suggest you would, then I am afraid to say that I think you would be foolish and gone down a never ending spiral of rewrites constantly questioning yourself unnecessarily. What would you work on? What part was banal? Why was it banal? What made it uninteresting? Was it the genre? The story? The concept? The protagonist? The antagonist? What elements worked? Which didn't? If you would have answered these questions in your original post to back up the "banal" statement instead of a flippant, almost condescending "it's banal, not interested" as your commentary on the story (rather than the logline as requested), then it would have been constructive and valid criticism and there would be something to work with for the rewrite, should the author wish to do so.

Cherie Grant

Like Danny, like Phillip, like Gav. I don't need to add anything I just have to agree.

Victoria Lugovskaya

Cherie, I believe that writers must have a good skill in defending their work. When they do it, they look for the best arguments, and in the process understand what really works in their story and what doesn't. If somebody told me that my idea of a sci-fi movie was not interesting, I would defend it with all my heart. And I would also ask: What can I do to improve it? What can I do, in your opinion, to make it more interesting? I would gather as many opinions as I can from different people (that's the future audience of my movie), analyze them, and then apply the best advice that I choose (the author is still omnipotent, don't forget that) to my work. I would be grateful for any opinion, as long as it's sincere.

Victoria Lugovskaya

Danny, the story described in the logline that Sylvia offered deserved the word that you by some strange exaggeration called "a nasty insult." The insult would be to say: "Your story is stupid, or ridiculous." The example with an actor's headshot is also wrong. I didn't respond: "You are ugly," I said: "Your looks are not fit for this role, I wouldn't cast you."

Victoria Lugovskaya

Gav, of course, I would ask the producer what, in their opinion, makes my story uninteresting. And again, the question was about the logline and the story described in it. Sylvia got my opinion but wasn't interested in asking: why?

Cherie Grant

Wait so now you're putting it on Sylvia why she didn't ask you to elaborate on your insult? Looks like you're back peddling and trying to shift focus onto others. It's not you it's her. Seriously. Just accept you went about it the wrong way.

Pj McIlvaine

A wise screenwriting guru once said that a poorly constructed logline often means that the script will have problems too. But I'm a nobody who knows nothing.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

dear PJ: I officially declare you a somebody.

Jacques Haitkin

Good logline, Sylvia. IMO, yes, producers looking in that genre would definitely take the hook. Personally, I think it's a great story idea.

Martin F. Levine

Hi Sylvia, My first question would be this: How could a mother mistake another child for her own? It would have to have been a gruesome death and that might be a tough one for audiences.

Shakir Hussein

It is not a good logline. It should give an indication of the scope. Is she going to go into depression, end up in a hospital and bad things will happen to her, or is she going on a search for her daughter, or is she going after the killers? Why would she have any chance against killers being a single parent? Better a single parent policewoman or someone with some skill.

Danny Manus

Alle, I'll be honest, I can't really read your posts anymore. They're a damn novel and repetitive and only seem to be attempts at convincing us how much of a professional you are - and everyone else isn't. But ya know what, I'm a producer too and have been working in the indie and Hollywood studio system for over a decade in numerous capacities - casting, production, post production, development executive, and consultant. So, you're not the only one around here who knows a little something... I just don't need to write 3 pages to prove it. And I still to my original analogy with the headshot.

Marie E. LeBlanc

There have been so many horrible deaths of children just in the past few years, that I think this storyline is quite depressing. Also, considering the Police can do DNA tests and can check dental records for a positive identification, it would be almost impossible to explain how such a big mistake could have been made. Why not make the victim a nasty ex-husband, instead? That way the main character could be seen as a potential criminal and an unsuspecting victim, too, especially if the man she - thought- was her former husband turned out to be someone completely different.

Ken Belsky

Great! Grabbed my attention. Hook is really interesting. For a one liner, I'm ready to hear more. www.bryankent.com

Andrew Panek

True about how technology today can determine and ID a child.But, WHAT IF we go back in time, like Jack The Ripper, where so many murders happened.Back then no one could positively prove that the child wasn't theirs.I would be able to make a story using that logline.Just a matter of going back in time.True, about the logline being depressing, but children disappear every day, many never found.

P. Alan Richards

Andrew, You must be a writer.

Victoria Lugovskaya

Alle, I'm not a producer, I'm a writer who gave her opinion from the premise: "If you were a producer..." But that's irrelevant. All your arguments defending a producer's right to give their opinion briefly and to the point are valid and necessary. I'm glad that you understood me very well and quoted the paragraph that you liked. In my turn, I want to quote your paragraph that sums up the common sense that some people missed in this discussion (blinded by the word Banal, obviously :)) "The answer is NO. And we can’t tell you how to write a better log line for the script, because, WE HAVE NOT READ THE SCRIPT." That's just it. We read the logline, and it didn't encourage us to read the script. Again, what I would expect from the writer is: "Okay, I see that my logline doesn't look interesting and original, but my story is great because of that, that, and that. How can I include all those details in the logline?" And here I would give more advice. The author would give me some material to work with. And Alle, I think you defended me, too, because you defended some of my personal opinions that you shared. You are welcome to take a closer look, at least at my profile :) To those people who told me I needed to learn some manners and considered the word "banal" a nasty insult: What if when pitching your work you heard the word "boring"? Would that be another nasty insult from an arrogant producer? :))) P.S. Guys, I have to leave the garden party. Work calls me. Besides, the majority of the snacks served were bland or sour. I did admire a few flowers, though, that some people planted in this discussion. Good luck to everyone with their creative struggle.

Lee Davis

This doesn't sound like a story only Sylvia could write. Here's one that she alone could pen. "After a nine year-old boy is found in an aligator's stomach off Cedar Key, his mother moves back to the island to hunt down his biological father and figure out whose child is buried in the sunken grave beside her mother.

Andrew Panek

i am a writer.I started writing lyrics for music for friends, then it evolved into writing poems ,and a few began getting very long which turned into stories.During that time I've watched hundreds of movies.i remember many writers saying , do research on your stories.It's true, eventually you will find a comfortable era in time that suits your story.

Danny Manus

Anyone who suggests she change her story because it sounds dark or sad or depressing, isn't a real writer. Stories don't exist to make you happy and full of puppies and unicorns.

Andrew Panek

When I write a story, I try to write for a guy or girl.Both have different feelings towards a movie.Guys like cars, bikes while girls like romantic .I try mixing to try to get many emotions to satisfy everyone.Many times, it's easier doing a story that flows in one direction like a mystery.

Cherie Grant

Females do NOT all like romantic movies. Take the TV show Supernatural. Blood, guts, monsters, has a mostly female following. On forums they complain about any romantic relationships because they want the characters to just fight monsters. Dr Who has a huge female following too. Your view of genders Andrew is shockingly simplistic and stereotypical. And i know for a fact plenty men love a good love story too. Not one male in my family or life care for anything about cars, bikes, etc.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Cherie: I agree. BBC's "Pride and Prejudice" with Colin Firth is one of my favorites. I also love "Groundhog Day". And I think "Matchmaker" with Jeneane Garpfalo is one of the best romantic comedies I've ever seen.

Rick Meyer

Good logline. My only suggestion, since it is nicely succinct and hooky, would be to begin with: In this thriller, in this mystery, in this paranormal horror tale, etc I asked Erik Bork about this and he agreed that it is a good idea.

Mary Winborn

Can you add a little bit more to it?

Danny Manus

Andrew, that is a horribly stereotypical and completely untrue way of looking at story and demographic. If you said that to female writers (Professional ones) they would literally light you on fire. Plus, I'm a guy and I hate bikes and cars. Hate em. @RICK MEYER - NO NO NO NO. Never EVER start a logline with "In this thriller" - that is a horribly amateurish way of writing a logline. If your logline doesn't inherently get across your genre, then you have not written a good logline. I like Erik but he is WAY off on this one. you should never state your genre in your logline. SAY IT WITH ME - Never state your genre in your logline! Same goes for theme.

Gav Elias

Can't believe Andrew said that in 2014 :) My best friend is female and her favourite films are 12 Angry Men, Pulp Fiction and Psycho and she is obsessed with Hitch cock and that era and type of film. She must have missed the "women nut like romantic films" briefing :) On the note of the era of the story, I usually find this falls in to place as you flesh the story out. For example, I recently began writing a screenplay and to achieve certain things I wanted, I had to go back in time to remove technological 'fixes' to the issues. I also had an international and political angle to it, and found myself going very specific and back to October 1978 to set my story in as the time where every angle ties in nicely.

Andrew Panek

I'm glad I got a different opinion.It's a good way to get opinions I need.When I write a story, I don't specify who I write for.My stories go their own direction.But it's nice to know what girls like to watch.When I was younger girls hated scary movies, I'm glad that's changed and thanks for your opinions,lol.

Marie E. LeBlanc

Pulp Fiction was Brilliant! So too were all of Hitchcock's films! I think the BIG difference with a lot of films today is that - they are violent purely for the sake of being violent. Very little intelligence, or, imagination is required to watch them. :)

Chas Franko Fisher

Hey Sylvia, I am intrigued but I guess I want a few more details, particularly about the mother. Of course she is distraught. But great hook.

Elaine J Jackson

Well, I'm not a producer (writing is my thing), but as a reader/viewer, I find the concept intriguing, and would definitely want to read more! Have you written a full pitch? If you haven't, I think you should... wish you all the best!

Petre Sefton

If I read that on a tv listings page I'd definitely take a look. The only thing I'd suggest changing is the word 'distraught' because it's a given. If there was something extraordinary/different about the single parent, I think you'd have a big winner. Good luck!

Lord Zion

Intriguing, although I am not a fan of using the same word twice so close to eachother (ie "child"). How about "After her firstborn was abducted...". Just a thought - I'm not one to be critical :-)

Victor Wuamett

right now, it's a premise, not a log line, its doesn't hint at what happens next. good premise, though

Jason Vinley

It's a fantastic logline. Unique, brief and captivating.

Janet Biery

I would definitely want to read it.

Wallace Brown

Interesting story. Question: I'm assuming if the child was murdered (presumably after being found) then she would've identified it and thus would've known whether or not it was her missing child in the first place? (tip: you don't want my question being the same question raised by a director, agent or producer).

Gav Elias

Wallace, I think it is more maybe the child was switched at birth, perhaps by the abductee and then when the child dies it is then that she discovers it was not hers. I obviously don't know, but that was how I (maybe wrongly) interpreted it

Wallace Brown

True. And the child's true fate will be explained in the script. In the logline, however, you want the reader begging to find out more, that is, asking all the right questions rather than the wrong ones.

Bob Corso

I think it's great. Love it! Says all you need to know. Would certainly go to the synopsis and of course the script if it is as good as the logline. Don't change it! You nailed it. Good luck gal.

Greg Hickey

The premise is very intriguing, but I find it a bit ambiguous. Is the murdered child not the same as the buried child? Or are they the same child, but the mother discovers the murdered/buried child is not biologically hers?

Bob Corso

In commenting to Gregs post, this is what I'm talking about. These people don't know the difference between the logline and the synopsis. My god man, pay attention to the question!

Kalisa Moore

Wow! All I can say is Sylvia? Come back into the Lounge...your question about the logline for your screenplay, has become "famous!"

Lisa Clemens

I have to jump in about the "what women write/watch".. my first produced screenplay is a HORROR and I'm working on an action/thriller for the same production company now... :P

John Ryan Kelmer

Very cool well structured longline- sounds great!

John Ryan Kelmer

Very cool well structured longline- sounds great!

Alan Knittel

That is an intriguing log line.

Ami Brown

I'd leave out the word "found", I don't think it's needed. Just my opinion though.

Bob Corso

"Found ". It's only one word, but it adds another element in the story.

Ami Brown

I guess I feel it is redundant in the logline, because if you knew he was murdered - he would also have been found without having to say it. Found is already implied. Abducted and murdered... he was obviously found - or he would still be missing. I can't see how it adds another element to the story. Explain. :-) I like to the point, less wordy, but impactful. Just me though.

Bob Corso

Not that the one word makes any big difference, but you are right on that Ami. It really isn't necessary. I somehow envision the whole ordeal of the child being discovered, which adds more drama to the story in my mind. But that's just me.

Rachel Miranda Jones

For me, the problem is that I can't quite get the sense of the longline. Does it mean the police misidentified the child's body, which was really that of a stranger? Or that it was never biologically hers = had been switched at birth? Forgive me if this question has been answered on the thread already- it's a very long thread and I haven't time to read it.

Elaine J Jackson

I think maybe if Sylvia had asked "Producers only, please answer this..." rather than "IF you were a producer...." it might have worked better, in terms of getting the desired response? But I've found the responses very interesting, and hope Sylvia did, too!

Doug Nelson

I am a (very) small time producer and after reading that logline, I would request a story synopsis (to see if I like the story) along with a few pages of the script (so see if you can write.) I see a paranormal, murder mystery, thriller or… It’s a good logline because it leaves the reader questioning where does the story go – and isn’t that what you, as a writer, want after all?

Bernice Policastro

Sounds like it may lead to something more interesting, possibly a child abduction ring with the authorities involved , or something more sinister. A little tweaking might be in order.

Janet Scott

Sounds like the making of a good paranormal, murder mystery thriller indeed....

Janet Scott

I like your idea Bernice...

Janet Scott

Nice one... much better.. Could even be a new potential partner....

Janet Scott

Gav's idea is good... how about making the abductor a potential Marriage partner....

Janet Scott

How did she know the child she buried was not her own??? I would have her have the body exhumed due to suspicious circumstances.... That is when, she realises the child is not hers... a distinguishing birth mark is missing... The person ( The high standing citizen ) who abducted the child only pretended to be interested in the mother to get to the child... A satanic situation, where the high profile abductor is a high Priest..... he used the mother to get to the child. The child exhumed... comes back from the dead to haunt the mother who is driven to torment by the apparitions of the boy until she realises, the child is there to help protect her against the abductor and try to help her find her son. When the spirit of the boy takes her on a journey fraught with danger to find her son, she finds herself unexpectedly looking for another lost boy. A boy, who turns out to be her real son swapped at birth by the hospital staff.

Janet Scott

The mind boggles at the potential.... smile.

Janet Scott

Well done Sylvia..........

Rich James

I too think it has potential. BUT... you must bear in mind that even when it is (as it seems to be here) a "character driven" script, the logline must ALSO contain the character's motivation in terms of the action (crucial), which yours does not currently. Feel free to contact me for advice on this and we can fix it.

Alan John Denman

Hi Sylvia, I think this is intriguing but is it enough to hook a producer? For me several elements are missing: who is the antagonist and what's at stake? It doesn't quite sizzle yet. How about something like: "When she discovers that the murdered child she buried was not her own, a distraught single parent must risk her life to find her daughter - and the murderer who kidnapped her". Of course, this may not be the story you want to tell but for me the stakes are very high and there's some serious danger!! Let me know what you think.

Janet Scott

Sure has the room hopping Sylvia... you really do have the potential for twist and turns... as the producer said... Paranormal, suspense thriller in the making....

Doug Nelson

Sylvia – Your logline is fine. It leaves questions that are to be explored/resolved in the film. As you can plainly see by the number of responses from others telling you how/why you should write it their way that others want to jump on your bandwagon. (It’s called the fire hydrant principal – every writer/dog on the block wants to mark it as their own.) Sylvia – It’s your story; you tell it as you see fit. Some producers will like it, some not. That doesn't matter! A savvy producer would ask to see the synopsis, a few opening pages (I would want the ending scene too) to see if your story fits their production criteria – schedule, budget, talent, directability, marketability, on and on… Stand proud - your logline is fine.

Bob Corso

I totally agree with Doug. As I mentioned previously, most of these people don't know the difference between a logline and a synopsis. Someone mentioned the motivation aspect of the mother. Please, does anybody really need to ask what a mothers motivation is? Daaah! Your logline should make the reader ask questions and your logline does that. That's what stirs you to request a script. And you don't need to be a producer to comment on this, any aware and insightful person can answer this question. It's good. It's actually damn good!

Lisa Clemens

Remember a log line is like what you might read in a TV guide: Enough to get you to want to see it, but without the backstory and exposition.

Janet Scott

Gav you just agreed with my suggestions mate.... I think I threw a spanner in the works there with my thoughts in regards to being swapped at birth. I wasn't quite sure as to if the script had been written or in the process of being written, my thoughts for the plot were added after a Producer suggested it could be a Paranormal thriller. I then put forward suggestions based on how I myself visualised how the story could flow. I had no intentions of cashing in, peeing on hydrants is not my style ... far from it. Sorry to confuse folks... was just offering suggestions should it go along in a paranormal vein twas all.

Andrew Panek

It all goes like this..Why didn't I think of that. That's show biz.

Janet Scott

I would imagine the killer would have set the stage by killing the other child first and foremost before abducting the woman's child. He had to have a body to produce... Drowning would allow for the body to be so bloated it would be hard to tell the difference if the child chosen... was the same age, height and colouring. The woman's child goes missing..... a week later they find the body of a drowned child. My mind went to the darker side when thinking of...why the child was taken in the first place, and for what purpose exactly. Question... How did the mother find out it was not her child?

Janet Scott

Andrew... I have always put forward suggestions over the years... some have been appreciated and used ... I do it for the love of the story, not to cash in on receiving accolades.

Edward St.Boniface

In fact, simply for brevity you might consider just the second half, after the comma. It's self explanatory and has real impact. Yep; I would read the script if a producer.

Andrew Panek

There are times when our mind finds the perfect words that can make a short journey last forever.

Janet Scott

Nicely expressed Andrew.....

Marie E. LeBlanc

Sylvia hasn't been back here for the past two weeks. Perhaps she no longer cares about her script?!

Cherie Grant

Why would she not care about her script just because she hasn't been here for a couple weeks? What does this place matter?

Ami Brown

Marie if you look at Sylvia's profile she was on here earlier today. Maybe she is busy writing instead of on Stage32. :-)

Danny Manus

I'm with Cherie. this thread stopped being useful to Sylvia - or anyone - 100 comments ago. Sylvia was hurt by the original salvo of comments and I'm sure doesn't care who says what about it anymore. so how bout we let it die...

Bob Corso

I'm sure Sylvia is quiet happy with the input she's gotten. It's probably been more than she expected or needed for that matter. It is good to see that so many people got involved. Think I'll put my logline up here. This group will even help rewrite the script for you!

Janet Scott

Sylvia got hurt by the original salvo of comments... I was not aware of that at all. Sylvia, my apologies if I overstepped the line in suggesting what I did. I meant no offence. Janet. Bob, I hope you are right in what you say... would prefer to think she was quite happy with the input. I do wish she herself had said something if she had been hurt by it all.

Mary Winborn

It is really good for a writer to get constructive criticism from those who have sold scripts, and those who have written several but haven't sold yet. I feel we need to stick up for each other here, as much as we can. From everything I have heard and read, this is a very competitive business . No critique is complete without positive and negative elements. Thanks.

Mary Winborn

I can appreciate what you are saying re: competitive. Guess I am on a different page, anxiously thinking about all the scripts of any kind, that may compete with each other for a script reader's attention . But someday, some of the writers here may be in competition for the same producer's attention.

Doug Nelson

Mary – As a writer and small time producer, I approach each filmmaking project as a complex interactive mix of many participants and each is as valuable as the others. To my way of thinking, filmmaking is a collaborative process - not a competitive process. There is no room on my sets for counterproductive competitive manners. If you bring a personal subterfuge to one of my sets – you'll be invited to just go somewhere else (take your ego with you.) We are a team – all for one and one for all.

Mary Winborn

Doug, thanks for your comment. I do appreciate that making a movie should be a team approach, otherwise, nothing really good could get done. I think there is a misunderstanding of what I was tying to express here. What I was addressing was what screenwriters would have to deal with before their work is even being considered by a producer. All my prior work in the medical field has been team oriented. One cant save a life on a code by one's self. I just don't like to see less than kind remarks on here about a screenwriter (scroll up) who is honestly asking for feedback from peers. I come from many years in a work ethic where people must be supportive to each other, in order to go home at night and be able to sleep. Thanks for reading this.

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