Do you have a logline? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 6th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Whitman, Massachusetts
Posts: 168
Do you have a logline?

I'm just wondering how many of you are more focused on image and lighting and consider yourself more of a cinematographer or DP than a director or writer. Do you make films just so you have something to work on camera wise... planning that someday in the future (or maybe even now) that you'll DP for other directors?

If you consider yourself a true writer or director, do you go through the effort of making a logline for your projects?

The logline seems to be an essential element discussed in every screenwriting book I read, but I never really see it put to good use in films I see in these forums or others.

Being able to describe your film in one sentence is a great anchor, you can refer back to it every time you get stuck on a scene. Being able to describe your film in one sentence and hook a reader/audience is difficult, but well worth it.

I'd like to share some tricks/elements of writing a good logline I've learned in the past.

The logline for my most recent film isn't perfect and could probably use some tidying up, but I'll use it as an example since it's fresh in my mind.

"An unassertive loser is pressured to rid his home of an outspoken neighbor on Christmas day."

You should always mention the protagonist and the antagonist. Always use precise adjectives that make the conflict very clear.

I found a pretty decent page if this topic interests you.

http://twoadverbs.site.aplus.net/loglinearticle.htm (Not written by me)

I personally find the book Save the Cat (look for it on Amazon, I highly recommend it) to be a great help.
__________________
Late December. A feature film by Matthew Overstreet & Christopher J. Adams.
Matthew Overstreet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 7th, 2010, 09:11 PM   #2
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 22
I only write so that I will eventually have a script to film & direct. I don't write for any other purpose than that, so I have never even given any thought to log lines.
If I had to pick one job to do, I'd say 'director', but at such low budget levels I work at, I will always pretty much do multiple jobs on every shoot I do.
Although I won't buy any scriptwriting books right now, I will check out your link, I could always use more help.

Lee
Lee Stokes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11th, 2010, 05:45 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Whitman, Massachusetts
Posts: 168
I'm kind of surprised with that attitude considering the fact that a screenplay will make or break a film. No amount of good directing can save a bad script, but a good script can ease the pain of bad directing.
__________________
Late December. A feature film by Matthew Overstreet & Christopher J. Adams.
Matthew Overstreet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13th, 2010, 06:48 PM   #4
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 22
Oh, I'm not making movies as a career, and have no intention of that happening. So I am not polishing them up fro others to read. I write scripts with the intention that *I* would be the only one making them, hence, no need to think about log lines.

Lee
Lee Stokes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13th, 2010, 08:58 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Whitman, Massachusetts
Posts: 168
Gotcha ;) Makes sense then.
__________________
Late December. A feature film by Matthew Overstreet & Christopher J. Adams.
Matthew Overstreet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 18th, 2010, 11:30 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 628
Hey Matt - Agree about the Log Line comments.

Here are few books I've passed along the way that I wanted to share about screenwriting, conceptualizing and even effective living.

Amazon.com: Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course (9780312302764): Jerry Cleaver: Books

Best book I've come across to get your ass glued to a chair and coming up with ideas.

Amazon.com: The 101 Habits Of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insider's Secrets from Hollywood's Top Writers (0045079205505): Karl Iglesias: Books

The best book I've read on screenwriting- period. Thoughts from the guy who wrote Forrest Gump. Every contributor is validated because they work in Hollywood.

Amazon.com: In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition (9781879505629): Walter Murch: Books

Had the opportunity to hear Walter speak at LAFCPUG- the man still has it and this book is a must for filmmakers (not just editors)

Amazon.com: The Power of Focus: What the Worlds Greatest Achievers Know about The Secret of Financial Freedom and Success (9781558747524): Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt: Books

This is the best book I've read about organizing your life, goals and finances. Useful stuff in here - not the ordinary fluff from the self-help genre.

Anyway, hope this helps.
-C
Christopher Drews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 18th, 2010, 11:33 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Whitman, Massachusetts
Posts: 168
Thanks for the great suggestions Christopher. I'll have to check some of those out if I ever get a chance.
__________________
Late December. A feature film by Matthew Overstreet & Christopher J. Adams.
Matthew Overstreet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2010, 01:45 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Lielvārde, Latvia
Posts: 326
I'd like to suggest: Amazon.com: Stealing Fire from the Gods: The Complete Guide to Story for Writers and Filmmakers (2nd Edition) (9781932907117): James Bonnet: Books

And some good advise here: http://www.amazon.com/Directing-Four...3887079&sr=1-1
__________________
Our Fire Films - a free film project.
Andris Krastins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 20th, 2010, 02:10 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Posts: 425
I really like the 'Save the Cat' book. I'm not trying to sell scripts to studios either, but it was very useful in finding ways to sharpen ideas and work on pacing and arc.
Dennis Stevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 21st, 2010, 04:14 PM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Whitman, Massachusetts
Posts: 168
I completely agree... I can't count the number of times people have bashed the guy for writing "Blank Check." Just because he doesn't appear to have talent, doesn't make his years and years worth of experience in the industry worthless. He says himself in the book, PG movies are big earners, no matter how you look at it. The guy knows his stuff.
__________________
Late December. A feature film by Matthew Overstreet & Christopher J. Adams.
Matthew Overstreet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 22nd, 2010, 12:53 AM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 9
Totally agree Matthew.

Nobody stands in line and pays twenty bucks to see a movie because the production company had really cool gear.

And if you can't write a catchy logline or do an intriguing elevator pitch without saying "my story is really to complex to be boiled down in a few sentences," chances are your story has problems and can't be solved by a really nice tripod.

But then I'm a gear-head so I totally understand everyone's enthusiasm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Overstreet View Post
"An unassertive loser is pressured to rid his home of an outspoken neighbor on Christmas day."
Looking at your example ....

"unassertive loser" seems redundant and "outspoken neighbor" does nothing for me at all.

I get it though, some guy is trying to get his chatter-head neighbor out of the house on a holiday. We all understand that.

The tough question is; what's compelling or unique about that situation? What are the stakes? How is the loser pressured? Pressured by who? Is there a mad-bomber holding his family hostage in the next room? Is it the wife saying he goes or you do? Did he promise his kids he wouldn't be rude for one day? Was he so down on life he was going to off himself today but after listening to his jackass neighbor ramble on for hours he decided his life wasn't so bad after all?

These are the type of questions you get pounded with once you start writing your logline. And the truth is, loglines are a bitch to get right.

But back to your point; if you can't write a great logline ....

-------------------------------------------------

"A psychologist struggles to cure a troubled boy who is haunted by a bizarre affliction – he sees dead people." The Sixth Sense.
(now that's a logline)
Joe Ed White is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 22nd, 2010, 09:15 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Whitman, Massachusetts
Posts: 168
I agree with you Joe, all the way. I've rewritten that logline a dozen times already. I realized I needed to make a point as to who was pressuring him... his wife.

Also, every conflict needs pretty high stakes that appeal to primal instincts... survival, love, hunger, etc.

I guess you could say my feature deals with love, from every characters aspect. The neighbor is over there for one reason really... and... although you might not want to pin "love" to that reason... it's basically within the same category.
__________________
Late December. A feature film by Matthew Overstreet & Christopher J. Adams.
Matthew Overstreet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 22nd, 2010, 07:34 PM   #13
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 9
Ahhhh, so that's what neighbor's up to.

Sounds like a good indie shoot; one main location, limited cast.

Best of luck Matthew. Hope to hear more about it.
Joe Ed White is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14th, 2010, 05:23 PM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NYC, NY
Posts: 69
I write the logline first, then the treatment, then the script. That's how I was taught to do it and it works for me. The logline and treatment are absolutely essential as a guideline for writing the screenplay. They keep me focused on the basic skeleton or nugget of the story.
Diane diGino is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:16 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network