Your Stage : Logline feedback - comedy by Julian Martin

Julian Martin

Logline feedback - comedy

I see folks posting loglines and asking for feedback, so I hope this is okay.

Title:  Poppycock

Logline:  It's like the Marx Brothers vs. Cthulhu when a vaudevillian trio of cosmic Ancients takes over America in a manhunt for a dark god on the loose who gets VERY angry when he's not drinking.

Sock it to me!

Brad Mason

A vaudevillian trio of Cosmic Ancients takes over America while on a manhunt for a Dark God who gets belligerent when he's sober. - Just my take.

Julian Martin

Closer to my original. I added the "Marx Bros vs Cthulhu" bit today because I felt it clarified expectations for folks. Do you think it actually detracts?

Brad Mason

I've always been led to believe comparisons don't belong in a Logline.

If I'm wrong, ignore my input.

Julian Martin

Interesting, I don't know. Does anyone know? Internet research is not turning up answers.

Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator

Hey Julian. Yes no comparisons in a logline. The basic logline formula should be something like, "When [INCITING INCIDENT OCCURS], a [SPECIFIC PROTAGONIST] must [OBJECTIVE],or else [STAKES]."

Julian Martin

Ok, shoot. That was my big idea today. Well, thanks everyone!

A. S. Templeton

Dump the "nutshell" and clarify. Who is/are the intriguing protagonist(s)? What interesting situational change affects her/them? What is the unusual emerging threat or stake relative to an interesting antagonist (person or challenge)?

No idea what a "cosmic Ancient" is, nor what taking over America has to do with the conflict.

Julian Martin

Well, "cosmic Ancient" is a fairly common notion related to Lovecraft, Cthulhu, etc. but certainly conveys that the three are magic/interdimensional beings. There's enough Lovecraft going on out there for most industry folks to pick up on what I'm referring to, I believe, from In the Mouth of Madness to Hellboy to Lovecraft Country. And they're vaudevillians, which if it doesn't evoke the Marx Brothers explicitly, evokes a certain style of entertainment that they deliver, with wordplay and slapstick humor everywhere.

Okay, so they take over the country, with the Groucho-type worming his way into the presidency and the Chico/Harpo types fetching the alcoholic dark god with the tentacles from some Rich Housewives types in Las Vegas. The (secret) goal is to get him to join them for dinner in the White House, insult and infuriate him, get him to bet the stake of the planet on a bowling game in the White House basement, and have it all timed to sync up with an earthquake that screws up the dark god's throw and ultimately causes him to lose the game.

So I can't elaborate that much in a logline. Doesn't it seem now like it captures the most fundamental parts of the story?

Rutger Oosterhoff

"No comparison in a logline." Yes, and No.

No, because the logline formular makes sence. Yes, because without a HIDDEN comparison, there can't be IRONY in your logline. Besides an intriging theme, IRONY in your logline is about the strongest tool in selling your screenplay.

Julian Martin

Interesting, Rutger. Seeing my logline and the gist of the story I just described, do you sense that irony you’re speaking of in there?

Adam Jestin

How about:

A vaudevillian trio of cosmic Ancients go on a nation-wide manhunt for a alcoholic god that's on the loose.

Rutger Oosterhoff

So forgetting "It's like the Marx Brothers vs" which is X meets Y.

Your logline:

"When a VAUDEVILLIAN trio of cosmic Ancients takes over America in a manhunt for a dark god on the loose who gets VERY angry when he's not drinking.

"A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. ..."

So they have no 'moral intentions' but they HAVE 'psychological intentions', by keeping him drunk so he is harmless; sounds like an impossible contradiction (being cool), maybe even a dilemma, controlling this person by keeping him drunk. Don't try this at home parents!!

Also 'flawed' hunting 'flawed' already is Irony.

What you have.... and What you miss is the logline/story.

When a VAUDEVILLIAN (semi-Gods) trio of cosmic Ancients takes over America in a manhunt for a dark god (God) on the loose=Inciting Incident (but too long), ......

they must do X (control) to Antagonist= dark god, to win the battle, or Earth faces doom. You fill in what 'precise' they have to do and what in your words happens if they fail.

Bill Costantini

Hi Julian,

LOL. "Marx Brothers vs. Cthulhu" - I love that. Of course, your logline/premise could yield either a bad story, or a really great story. Which will it be?

Lovecraft (and some other writers) were so ahead of their time. And Cthulhu has been the inspiration for dozens, and maybe hundreds of pieces of art - and even political candidates, if I recall correctly. Run with it!

Best fortunes in your creative endeavors, Julian, and stay safe!

Julian Martin

Hi Bill, thanks for the encouragement! I had the time of my life writing it. I’ve received four reviews and they seem to agree that it absolutely feels like a new Marx Brothers movie and is very funny, although some fault it for being too much like a Marx Brothers movie and treating the plot with a lackadaisical attitude. I’ll quote my favorite review:

“I'll admit entering it with such high expectations, I kept turning the page expecting it to slip up or not follow through on one of their hallmark tropes which their films followed, but even when I thought you had missed a ‘beat’, I need only turn a page or two to see you know your stuff. Mid read, I was making a note in a scene that ‘perhaps Mavious could break the 4th wall here’… but two pages later, he did just that. Even the song numbers, which are usually a chore to read in screenplay format, jumped off the page. And the scene of the Oval Office jam-packed with people was a wonderful nod to the crowded cabin room in A NIGHT AT THE OPERA.

It takes a lot for this cynic to laugh at anything on the written page, but your script had me laughing out loud at least every page. I jotting down ‘HAHAHA’ in the margins of almost every page. Even the title screams the type of on-screen absurdity that the Marx Bros practically invented.”

Julian Martin

Rutger: the more you say, the more I wonder if I should ditch the manhunt because it’s really more like laying a trap.

They do have one moral intention, which is to save the world from this dark god. Though that does not compel them to be anything less than totally irreverent along the way.

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