My Writers Circle

Writing => All the Write Questions => Topic started by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 02:59:52 AM

Title: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 02:59:52 AM
I know this will open Pandora's box, but I skim through the screenwriter's forum every so often. So, I'm curious. Where's the logline for the scripts?

It's the first thing the agent asks and wants to see in the Hollywood pitch.

Just curious.

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: ma100 on March 30, 2009, 03:02:50 AM
Well from my point of view Wolfe. I don't know what one of those is.  ??? ;)
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 03:13:04 AM
In novel writing terms, it's the hook or tagline.  The logline pitches the script to the agent or interested party. It also demands an ironic twist. Typically, it's the agent's first request.

I'll demonstrate.

An atheist family turns to the Roman Catholic Church to exorcise the demons in their new home and save their souls.

If you lack the pitch, you can forget about an agent even seeing the script.

Again, just curious because all scripts I read showed this on the front or first page to give the interested party the theme beforehand. Kind of ... expected, I thought.

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: ma100 on March 30, 2009, 03:23:51 AM
I have to be honest, I was totally unaware of this Wolfe. Thanks for the information. :)
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 03:45:24 AM
Before I confuse and panic everyone, I mean the logline for the pitch. While outside the script's body, unlike the slug line or scene heading, they appear with a separate note posted with the draft and later used to pitch to an agent.

Again, just curious about their absence on the Script Board because they remain the first step before you write the script.
 
Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: thatollie on March 30, 2009, 03:57:54 AM
Before I confuse and panic everyone, I mean the logline for the pitch. While outside the script's body, unlike the slug line or scene heading, they appear with a separate note posted with the draft and later used to pitch to an agent.

Again, just curious about their absence on the Script Board because they remain the first step before you write the script.
 
Wolfe


It's the same as asking why people often leave out taglines on the prose board.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 04:06:16 AM
Interesting.

Yet, sometimes the fiction posters do ... though indirectly. Often the writers there will tell you what their story presents. They do this at the top, before the story starts.

Same principle, but again perhaps more rough draft than anything.

Just an observation, but I noted few if any scripts present this. Instead, I read musing beforehand and little about the script's theme or purpose ... if anything.

Maybe I'm just telling on myself at this point...

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: thatollie on March 30, 2009, 04:12:32 AM
If I ever post a script, I promise to include my logline.

But now I must leave because my computer wants to rest.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 04:18:52 AM
Well, I'll leave it alone.   ;)  But, I'll say this much: it was the first line I co-wrote, and the first line the agent and producer wanted to read from the script. If they hated it, they read nothing else.

And in that first attempt ... they tossed it.

Yeah, big ouch.  :(

Anyway, might want to suggest this for the future scriptwriters on the board. Hope I avoided any sensitive toes with this question. :)

Just my humble opinion.

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: sonofdenis on March 30, 2009, 09:22:29 AM
So rather than introducing a piece on a thread with a bland 'please review my work - it's about a disfuntional family torn apart by their wayward father', introduce it as we'd open our synopsis/query letter IE DAVID JONES took the descision to stop his life of crime the day baby JOHNNY found the gun in his toybox.  But it was too late.

Is this what you mean?
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: LinRobinson on March 30, 2009, 10:54:03 AM
No need for a logline on a forum.

Anybody interested in loglines should probably start a thread for people to post loglines for crit.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 03:49:10 PM
No need for a logline on a forum.

Anybody interested in loglines should probably start a thread for people to post loglines for crit.

I must say I disagree and find the dismissal disturbing. If it helps the reviewers and writers clarify the project, especially since required for screenwriters, I would think it would be perfect on a forum that teaches and reviews screenwriting.

Bear in mind, it appears most screenwriters on the forum lack knowledge about the logline as a rule rather than the exception. To continue to keep this knowledge and requirement from them sounds silly.

If fellow posters started to insist and use the logline before the script, it sets a standard for the screenwriters later demanded from the agents and producers.

After all, how can one more line to clarify the proposal hurt? We should promote a practice required from the target audience, right?  :)

Just my humble opinion.

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: LinRobinson on March 30, 2009, 04:19:43 PM
Do you really think I, or presumably anybody, is going to do something on "insistence from fellow posters"?

Is that how things work here?   Somebody decides it would be good to have something so it gets insisted on and anything else is "disturbing dismissal"?

There are lots of sites out there that deal exclusively with scripts and are populated by professional and near-professional writers, as well as pro readers and such: several are run by major star writers.  I have been on most of them.  Nobody insists on loglines for a script placed online.   and if somebody said they needed to do it, they'be get hooted at.  Trust me on that.

My feeling:  anybody interested in loglines do what the screenwriting sites do.  Have a forum thread for critiquing loglines.

I mean if it's OK to say that.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 04:30:05 PM
I find new trends, when first suggested, hear dismissal. The old guard resists change. Yet, later, when they enter standard, everyone wonders why they took so long to see use.

For example, on forum posts, we now ask our fiction writers to break text blocks into manageable material with white space. Before, many balked. Some still do. Yet we suggest, not insist, on white space if you want a majority to read it.

Another example, if I started to use a certain technique in my responses, and they work, you will find people will copy my example and follow suit.

Like when I critique, you'll see my fellow posters will do the same.

Like when I critique (consider: review), you'll (good contraction use) see my fellow posters (consider: peers) will do (consider: may) the same (consider: copy the style).

Like when I review, you'll see my peers may copy the style.

And change slowly happens.

No one forces anyone on this board.  But, if we ask and set the example, others will follow suit. Just because the idea differs from the norm, right now, no one should dismiss it.

Standards today will change tomorrow.

Trust me.

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 30, 2009, 04:49:20 PM
No need for a logline on a forum.

Anybody interested in loglines should probably start a thread for people to post loglines for crit.

Lin, look at the title of the thread and the person who started it; I think that is exactly what he did.

from Wolfe:
Quote
Bear in mind, it appears most screenwriters on the forum lack knowledge about the logline as a rule rather than the exception. To continue to keep this knowledge and requirement from them sounds silly.

I know little about screen writing, but, this sounds logical to me.

from Lin:
Quote
Do you really think I, or presumably anybody, is going to do something on "insistence from fellow posters"?

Is that how things work here?   Somebody decides it would be good to have something so it gets insisted on and anything else is "disturbing dismissal"?

I started to answer the questions above but before I could hit post, Wolfe had already answered it much as I would have.

from Wolfe:
Quote
No one forces anyone on this board.  However, if we ask and set the example, other will follow suit. Just because the idea differs from the norm, right now, one should not dismiss it.

The one thing I would have done different is: Just because the idea differs from the norm, right now, one should not dismiss it?
Use a question mark where Wolfe used a period.

This is so simple: Lin, if you do not want to explore the use of Loglines, the don't. No one will insist that you or anyone else do so.

If on the other hand, anyone wants to learn more about not only the craft of Screen Writing, but the business end as well, What's the problem in exploring it right here?

Seems like a sound idea to me.  But as I said, I'm not a screen writer.
 
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: twisted wheel on March 30, 2009, 04:59:40 PM
i've always struggled with loglines so i would be more than happy to put my next one up for critique. you all raise good points. 8)
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: LinRobinson on March 30, 2009, 05:06:40 PM
Quote
If on the other hand, anyone wants to learn more about not only the craft of Screen Writing, but the business end as well, What's the problem in exploring it right here?

Because this is not a screenwriting board with people with expertise in the industry answering the questions.   I'm somewhat experienced in that, but hardly an expert.  I DO take meetings with producers and such and have workshopped loglines on sites that speciallize in that.

If you want to write screenplays, your best bet is a screenplay site.   Let me know if you're interested and I'll show you some.

This is no "old guard" thing like Wolfe is trying to make it.   It was just my offhand comment on the idea of putting loglines on posting online scripts.

This has been a rather discouraging experience and makes me wonder why I'm doing this at all.

Again, if you want to learn about screenwriting, let me know and I'll give you some directions.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 05:37:10 PM
You know, the ironic part, I said this would open Pandora's box and made a comment about sensitive toes.

Let's be clear.  It is a suggestion.

A suggestion.

I see no reason to get enraged, post rage, or pm rage about differing opinions. And what I find most disturbing?

"Because this is not a screenwriting board with people with expertise in the industry answering the questions."

And this is why I made the suggestion. Let us help make that area more expert in advice and answers. I will step up to the plate if needed and gladly.  ;)

The 'old guard' refers to the established authors, agents, and otherwise who resist suggestions and changes from those newly entering the field.  I do not mean you.

I'm sorry my suggestion on this thread to help the fellow screenwriters so discouraged you. Can't image why. But my regrets since it did.

Again, it's just a suggestion. :)

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Spell Chick on March 30, 2009, 05:54:29 PM
It would seem to me that if something is expected by those who might actually purchase some of our work, it would be something to explore and practice and learn more about.

Our sponsors, WCCL, offer courses on screen writing. In fact, it was one of the prizes we gave away during our Contest Week. I don't know if that makes us a screen writers forum, but it seems to me we have a whole board set aside for that and so ...

One of the issues with any forum is the anonymity of the posters. We tend to think we know who is behind the names we give ourselves. In fact, we don't really know if there are agents or producers or publishers, or any other Big Person here. We know only what we are told and what we can surmise.

Some people give better advice than others, but it is all advice - given with the best intent. At least, I've not found anyone adamantly forcing their opinions especially about unsound practices. We advise and coach and try to get the best from each other and improve our own writing in the process. At least that is the goal.

If, and I'm not a screen writer (or a remunerated writer of any stripe) but IF there is a need for a logline when presenting a script, why not practice using them, writing them, honing them and increase your own skill level?

And if you already know how to do this, you can coach or help others, if you so choose.
If you don't think it is necessary, you don't need to post them. That doesn't seem like an issue to me. But posing the question seems like a worthwhile endeavor and will generate interest in the project. Or not. Maybe.

Patti
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: LinRobinson on March 30, 2009, 08:04:32 PM
I'll say again what I said before the insecurity attacks set in.

There's not real need for loglines in posted scripts and I really didn't expect anybody to flip out about my saying that.

Best way to handle logline learning is an area specially for loglines.

Anybody seriously wanting to write screenplays, let me know, I'll see if I can steer you to places where people know about that.

Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 08:16:55 PM
Please do not post personal attacks with veiled insults.  I attempted to go above and beyond, even apologized for something I think petty, but now you push it in public and private.

How ironic is it that you continue to post rage, private message me rage (three and counting now...), and now say someone else will flip out or show insecurity.

For God's sakes.

It's an opposing opinion.  People can post opposing opinions and suggestions without going into the deep end, you know?

Quit being so sensitive!

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: LinRobinson on March 30, 2009, 08:20:29 PM
What "rage"?  What the hell are you going on about kid?

You said people should post loglines.  You used the word "insist".   You replied to my comments that it might work better another way by being alarmed at the "dismissal".  Now you just keep chewing on it and yelling to me about going to moderators and having a hissy fit.

You should probably settle down.  But I don't really care, much less insist because I won't read this thread again.   You're a pain in the neck.

Sorry for suggesting something that works pretty well on real screenwriter sites.  You do what you want.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 30, 2009, 08:25:34 PM
What "rage"?  What the hell are you going on about kid?

You said people should post loglines.  You used the word "insist".   You replied to my comments that it might work better another way by being alarmed at the "dismissal".  Now you just keep chewing on it and yelling to me about going to moderators and having a hissy fit.

You should probably settle down.  But I don't really care, much less insist because I won't read this thread again.   You're a pain in the neck.

Sorry for suggesting something that works pretty well on real screenwriter sites.  You do what you want.

I count over three personal attacks here.  Please count how many I've directed at you.  :(

I'm not mad or in need to settle down.  I'm genuinely surprised and shocked you feel the need to try to turn this into a pissing contest. Because I suggested screenwriters add their logline to their script for critique?

Seriously?

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Spell Chick on March 30, 2009, 08:31:47 PM
I would like to once again point out that we all make choices. Those who wish to have their screenplays reviewed can post a logline or not. Those who post a logline in a separate thread, as with tag lines or queries, can get them reviewed or critiqued there.


Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: eric on March 30, 2009, 08:42:47 PM
Hm, you're both big boys although, Lin, in this pond Wolfe's a little bigger.  Neither of you are doing yourselves any favors today, though.  Neither of you are big enough to hurt the other one much, and there isn't much point in trying to drive one another off the website over a disagreement about workshop style, so I suggest you just back off.  In particular Lin, if you don't like the idea of Wolfe's thread you don't have to be here.  And Wolfe, come on.  Don't let him get under your skin.  If you consider his idea on its merit, you might or might not like it, or you might wish to go with yours.  Simple.

Guess what?  MWC is not a professional screenwriting forum, and it's not a forum limited to publishers, editors, and seriously published authors.  It's a writer's forum, and we do what we can.  Some damn good writing happens here, and some absolute schlock.  We don't get together to argue with each other ... we have a little fun and consider the craft.  Sometimes people forget that.

Also, what Patti said.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Xerika on March 30, 2009, 10:09:26 PM
Well, I was just on my way to bed when I saw this and felt compelled to comment.

I have to grudgingly ( ;)) agree with what eric says and also add a few remarks of my own.

I cannot see for the life of me why this thread seems to have got so out of hand when Wolfe introduced it, to my mind at least, as a simple word of advice for the newbie (awful word) screenwriters here at MWC.

Lin, whilst it's true that you have the biggest and most flamboyant signature line of anyone here on the forum, I really don't think that it is fair or honourable to cast stones at someone who I, for one, consider to be one of the most valuable contributors on this forum. Wolfe has spent many hours critiquing everything from query letters to extracts from novels with a wealth of professional knowledge and experience..

As for you, sir, what have you done other than join this forum to publicise your own self-published (no shame in that of course) novel?
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: LinRobinson on March 30, 2009, 11:37:44 PM
It is not self-published, though there's not shame in that.  Curious why you decided that.

I have not thrown stones at anybody here.  I made a contrary suggestion and ran into "disturbing dismissal" and  "insist" and a bunch of whining in the PM's.

I have not suggested outlawing loglines or any such thing.   I have not propounded "old guard".   I just said somthing different and have been watching in amazement ever since.

What the hell is the problem here, if it's okay to ask that?
Title: The Wizard of Oz (There's No Place Like Home)
Post by: Wolfe on March 31, 2009, 01:56:34 AM
How about simply adding a micro-logline to the title? We practice this in the subject line for electronic query letters. Check the example in the title for this reply.

Perhaps a header atop the page, bolded before comments, and the script?


Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.


Well, okay, that's not mine.  ;D  Thank you Richard Politto. If nothing else, I think the micro-logline would show a good starting point to inform potential readers and reviewers the overall theme, message, or plot.

What do you think?

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: LinRobinson on March 31, 2009, 02:06:20 AM
I hate to set anybody off again.  But there is no such thing as a "micro-logline".

One good way to understand what  logline is, is to read TV guide or the cable menu channel.  You see little one-line quickies of films.  They seem easy...until you try doing one on your own script.   

The biggest problem with loglines is that they ramble on and on and are full of extraneous details.

Another is that they get coy and peter out with "hijinks ensue" type endings.

Try to write a simple sentence that expresses the concept and story of your script.



Keep trying.

THEN puff it up a little to a few lines, the "elevator pitch".

Then try a one page synopsis/query.

Some people then build that up to a "treatment".

Trying to hack a screenplay down to a treatment is masochistic.

There are websites and workshops that deal exclusively with crafting loglines.   It's a sort of mini-genre, in a way.

There are some tips and models of how to do it.

If you get to the point of sending a script to anybody in the real world, you want a solid logline.  And you want solid professional feedback on it.

Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Wolfe on March 31, 2009, 06:05:48 AM
Again, I must disagree that loglines are difficult to create.  I find them akin to a novel's theme, hook, or tagline. If the writer focuses on them, it structures the work's entire plot, message, and goal.

Discussed earlier, in another thread, the line helps create the road map for the story.

As far as personal experience, well ... I find them easy.  :D  But, let me not toot my own horn.

That said, no one said scriptwriting, novel writing, or writing period would be easy. Yet, if you create the most difficult line first, there will be little struggle on this needed item later. Perhaps it's just me, but to quibble over jargon and minutiae where the result will benefit the writers in question...

Anyway, if nothing else, I hope this thread raised awareness of the logline. That said, I will use the technique and pass the suggestion to others.

Peace and moving on.  :)

Wolfe
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: PaulW on March 31, 2009, 09:43:15 AM
Just my opinion.

Wolfe is right - you will need the logline eventually. If you are going to sell scripts, get used to writing them.

Lin is right - you don't necessarily need it here. Some people are making their first steps in scriptwriting, exploring the format and asking for guidance with that. Let them learn to stay on their feet before they do the ice-dancing. :) Also, some questions are about explicit areas of concern. (Does this dialogue work - How do I express... - etc). The logline is largely irrelevant to these.

For the people posting there (few and far between), tell us what you need from your reviews. If you are asking 'is this ready?' I'd seriously include the logline as it will give your readers context.

As to the 'is this how things work here?' stuff Lin. Nope, not really. Quite a few members, not just Wolfe, put posts of the 'we should encourage...' type. Those of us that agree with it go along, those of us that don't, ignore it. There's no background agenda, no politics. Look at the number of posters that don't bother critting others before putting their own work up - yet they still get reviewed. There ARE ways to get more people to read/crit your work - (formatting it properly, commenting on other's work, etc) - but if you ignore that advice, so be it, just don't whine if you don't get many responses. Wolfe gives excellent crits - if you want a review from him and haven't stuck a logline in - you reduce your chances of getting one. Pure pragmatism really.

I think it would be interesting to have a separate loglines thread though - in the same vein as the 'how is my first line?' thread on the prose board.


Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: eric on March 31, 2009, 11:34:32 AM
Cheers to Paul, of whom I was thinking just as I sat down to the computer.  I considered challenging him to a duel, since he once said something that irritated me, but of course I'm much too lazy.  Luckily, he has a demon duck, and I have a demon dog.  We know who would eat whom, but these days contests to the death are more refined.  I was thinking of each posting the worst thing that the respective pet did in the last twenty-four hours for seven days straight, then submitting it to a vote.  I would have the advantage of a truly awful canine chum, while Paul would have the advantage of a limitlessly imaginary friend.  But it all seems too much work.

I think Paul is right, by the way, that there may be a way to reconcile loglines with our madness (or inanity take your pick), actually two of them, and they're right here in front of us.  That would have the happy effect of feeding our rather malnourished scripts board.  If Lin and Wolfe both share their expertise in the respective threads, that might be a good thing.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: PaulW on March 31, 2009, 12:03:26 PM
I considered challenging him to a duel, since he once said something that irritated me, but of course I'm much too lazy. 

Just once? God I must be slipping! ;D

Alas, the demon duck is a shadow of his former self. The baby drowned him in the bath, maliciously and repeatedly. Rather than the old ringing 'MUAHAHAHA' it's now 'Mua-squelch-AH-slosh-glug-AHA-squirt'. Nowhere near as impressive. :( Additionally, the baby listened to his plans for world domination and laughed at them, detailing his failings and showing him HER plans. It destroyed his fragile ego. He is currently developing a hunchback and slouching round the house practising his lisp and fawning on his new 'mithtreth'.
;D

Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: eric on March 31, 2009, 12:08:49 PM
Quote
Alas, the demon duck is a shadow of his former self. The baby drowned him in the bath, maliciously and repeatedly. Rather than the old ringing 'MUAHAHAHA' it's now 'Mua-squelch-AH-slosh-glug-AHA-squirt'.

Heh, yeah, that reminds me of me. 
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: LinRobinson on March 31, 2009, 01:44:48 PM
Quote
if you want a review from him


I canīt decide it that's a joke or just one more person here trying to piss me off.

Quote
I must disagree that loglines are difficult to create.


Sorry, I probabably should have specified "good, workable loglines that are useful".  Forgive me for the assumption,  I'm new here.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: PaulW on March 31, 2009, 02:44:35 PM
I canīt decide it that's a joke or just one more person here trying to piss me off.

Neither really. Just a generic 'you' using Wolfe as an example. Mostly, I was addressing the thread rather than yourself. However, if you go looking for offence, you're sure to find it.

It seems to me that if you come in with all guns blazing like this you aren't going to get the right sort of attention. Perhaps you want to chill out a little and knock that chip off your shoulder. If you read my post I was actually supporting a lot of what you said. So no, I wasn't out to piss anybody off.

It seems that every time I return to the forum though I encounter yet another poster with attitude. It's stopped being fun. So, thanks to all the great people I've met on this forum (if you chill out you might get a chance to meet them yourself) and adieu.


Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: eric on March 31, 2009, 02:52:02 PM
Might I point out that the role of English as a means of communication, rather than as the practice of warfare against your colleagues, may be much of the reason we use pens instead of clubs to write. 

Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: fire-fly on March 31, 2009, 07:15:10 PM
Enough said on the disagreement on this thread. If this continues to be a thread where the insults continue to be thrown at each other willy nilly, yet another thread will need to be locked to curtail it. I have had to delete a post here for that reason.

Freedom of speech or not, this will no longer be tolerated, pack up your marbles, back off and cool down!!
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: Don on March 31, 2009, 09:22:58 PM
Quote
...may be much of the reason we use pens instead of clubs to write.

Crap! Maybe that's what I'm doing wrong.
Title: Re: Scriptwriters: Where's Your Logline?
Post by: LinRobinson on April 02, 2009, 11:36:02 AM
My thought exactly. 

Probably explains my writer's cramp, as well.