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Readers are the hell spawn of putrid corpses mating.
Sorry, that just caught my eye...
I just want to agree with my learned friend (above), BillyJ, that the tone of this, (well, at least the opening), reads as a family comedy. Okay, granted I'm not able to get right into this at the moment but I also thought (obviously incorrectly) that the main character was the young boy, Jack.
So, who is the protagonist of the piece? I know you're set to write another draft of this so you might want to review your pacing and structure with regard to the attorney's daughter mentioned in your logline. Is it the teacher? If it is, you need to make her more front and centre. She seemed secondary to Jack. If it's her...I don't even know.
Hey LC, I just thought the opening with the school was good to show some of Jack's upbringing, why he latches on to drugs because he felt out of place. His teacher was having an affair with Jack's dad whilst Jack's father's wife - Jack's mother was dying of cancer. It may seem comedic but it's not supposed to be, by the end of the school day he goes home and gets his dreams crushed by reality. Nearly kills his pet bird.
Then Jack wakes up at age 40 in 2019.
Jack's daughter is secondary to him, until she overdoses and that's when he learns. I know that's supposed to come by page 6 but that's the strange thing about this script, it is character based and I know that this will never sell to a production company if they just saw it from those rules.
I'm not nieve - my second script and every other one I do in the future I have followed the rules more closely and planned before aswell - my second script is 120 pages I'll post it on here next week.
Is there anyway you guys can help me make a logline? Thanks sam yeah I made the story first and then it was time to make the logline and I was like......... Oh shit what can I say? We know why he takes drugs, we know it affects his daughter no matter how much money he chucks at her life, she overdoses and maybe Jack needs to be closer, but I think he has grown closer by coming with hyer to get set up at university in UCLA.
Thanks for your comments though, really love you guys for reading this affectively
The way I write a logline is to cover everything up until the middle of the story. So you need the context (The first part of your story), the inciting incident and the actual story (first part of act 2). The way youíve written your logline means I have no idea what Iím going to read. If we look at the film Thelma and Louise we could write the logline in two ways.
1. Two women go on a journey that will change their lives forever. They will discover who they really are but will a patriarchal world accept their change?
2. Girlfriends on a weekend camping trip put some distance between themselves and their Ďsignificant othersí, only to be caught in a long-haul adventure when a return to their ordinary lives is no longer possible.
You can see that the first logline doesnít build an image of the film in your head. Itís completely meaningless and it could be about anything. It could be set in a law firm or a circusÖ who knows? But the second one (which I stole off the internet) gives you the context. You know its going to start off as two women going camping, you know theyíre best friends and you know they have lives at home with a partner. We can assume it will change their lives forever and theyíll discover more about themselves because itís obvious that this plot will have that affect on the characters.
As I havenít read the entire script Iím going to use your story breakdown to try and extrapolate the story. Iím sure Iíve got this wrong and Iím not saying you should change the script accordingly Iím just trying to read between the lines and pick out what I think might be important. The break down doesnít actually make sense to me and reads as a series of unrelated events.
From what I understood Itís a story, at itís core about jack and his relationship with his father and daughter. Jackís Father has high expectations for him which has lead to him being successful at a law firm but caused emotional anxiety which has caused him to show reckless behavior through drug use and poor social skills. Although Jack resents his father he finds himself doing the same thing to his daughter which causes her to go down a similar road.
So that feels like the set up. Now we need an inciting incident that will force Jack to change and address the issues. You mention a court case but there arenít any details as to what that is. I would assume this is linked to Jacks change. The film Liar Liar actually has a similar set up. His court case is about a woman lying to manipulate her family to get what she wants. Thatís the whole theme of the film! Everything in the script should be about Jack, his father and his daughter. Iím not a big fan of scripts that shows the characters as children. I think itís a misnomer that this shows character development. The only thing that shows character development is the characters actions.
Going by my interpretation of your story then the thing you need to show in the first 10 pages is the relationship Jack has with his father and his daughter. Youíve got an interesting mirror of relationships. Jack knows how harmful his fathers style of parenting is but itís all he knows and applies it too his daughter. Discipline yourself to the theme.
Iím not sure how useful or practical what Iíve written above is but I think the takeaway point is that after reading 2 loglines, a story breakdown and 30 pages of the script I still donít know what the script is about.
I think the key word is ďconceptĒ. Itís the combination of all your ideas into one identifiable idea. I canít recognize what the concept is. I know the series of events that happen in the script but I canít mentally connect them into one ĒthingĒ.
If you would find it useful I would be happy to read a more concise story breakdown. Weíve talked about your action lines but I do see your skill as a writer and your ability to have interesting ideas and characters. I just want to see them under one umbrella.
BillyJ, ok, let me try this again. Check your pm, also...
Um, my reviews are Helter Skelter. Sometimes I give just some nuts-and-bolts comments and other times I go into greater detail. Now I'm not going to do a complete CSI investigation into this, but...
I had the same issues most everyone else voiced. It seems to me you likely have a very clear picture in your mind about this story but there's a disconnect between that and what you're putting on the page. You may be leaving out things you think are obvious (but aren't to the cold reader), while adding things you believe are necessary when they're not.
Let me suggest that you don't underestimate the importance of this. It's a very important thing, whether the goal is physical or emotional. The characters goal is the driving force of your story. Without it, you're story will drag. Which it does...
After reading, a couple of things struck me. For one, it's definitely a little too prose-y here and there for my tastes and I can't stand all the use of your asides, similes and metaphors (ĒShe slyly grins like a bitch. A bitch grin hidden by cheap lipstick.Ē ďWalton's outburst is like a cruel act. Logan sits, obeys like a puppy.Ē This one... "CLASS WATCHING LIKE A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS ON A FRENCH FRY.") are unnecessary; they don't add much.
Look, it's not a crime in itself, it's ok to use things like similes in a script so long as they are clear, not overused, and apt. Satisfying these criteria requires care, however, or you may find yourself in screenwriting purgatory.
Secondly, need to get in/out of scenes fast. You don't need to see folks coming into a scene or folks leaving. Cut to the chase. Along these lines, small talk, greeting slow down the read and make story less compelling. For example, you don't need nearly an entire page and a half(50 plus lines) of what Mrs Fortstone and Agatha can get across about Stephanie on p. 49...50...
Third, some of the choices you make puzzle me. But there's also something about the good spots that tells me you have skills. You just need to be more discerning and ask yourself at every turn, does this serve the story. For example: Yes, I know they're best buds and work together. Yet, I have to wonder what his (Teddyís) personal life got to do with anything. I mean, the story is about Jack. Teddyís a sidekick, don't let him overshadow Jack. Also, it feels like I'm reading two different stories. My instincts are for you to throttle back.
Argh! I'm not too keen on the whole therapy session scene, with Jack and his doctor. It just feels a little too obvious and hammer on nail to me, nobody wants that. But i understand you need it. A couple of indirect lines. Less is more, in and out. Maybe...
This could be the backdrop for very compelling drama, IMO. What this is really about on a primal level is getting a second chance e.g. Redemption. Being better than you are, or have been.
From an emotional standpoint: we meet Jack as a boy. Children are always empathetic. So emotionally I was attached to Jack. But then... flash-forward to 2019. Hard drugs, hard sex...neglecting his daughter, and so forth... we get it, he's a shit father.
Past that...I think the problem here is that you have resigned yourself to painting this guy in a certain light of depression and it's like you feel the need to not only show that at every opportunity. This might be intentional, it might not.
But the larger point is that your characterization is at odds with itself, here. I don't have a great sense of your lead, Jack, but to the extent that I do have a sense of him, he's not someone I'm particularly interested in getting to know better. Given the log line, treatment, from here on in, from what you've shown me, this reader is just not seeing it -
Heck, there is not one scene with Jack and Stephanie until around p. 72. And there should be. But what does he do? Blows her off, again. I wanted to see some fleshing out of their relationship.
Also, I think any father would be more apt to comfort his daughter in her time of need. For example when Stephanie learns of Stan's death. In fact, Jack seems very comfortable showing no interest in her life.
I could care less if the protagonist is likeable. I care if he/she is relatable. Do I understand why the character is the way they are. So after 100 plus pages I just don't particularly care to follow him. In laywoman's term...I personally think the keyword is "empathy." It's making the audience identify with the character's situation/struggle/plight. Context helps. There is this tidbit... Jack's daddy issues but...
A self hating, middle aged attorney will go to any lengths to stop his daughter from turning out like he did. Yet the only way to save her is to change the way he is.
OK, but Iím not seeing it. Of course this is just my opinion, but what you need to be showing is Jack - struggling to get out of the trap heís fallen into of mimicking bad parental behavior like his father was towards him. Fighting to own up to responsibilities would give him growth. A character arc. Of course, this would be a battle he constantly fights throughout the story, but somewhere, at some point, he accepts what he has to do - be a better father to Stephanie. I mean, this is essentially the goal, right? All Iím seeing is you focusing on all the negatives...
So...what makes him someone I want to root for? You don't get 100-110 minutes to make me root for this guy. You get 10...20 at most. I want to root for Jack. Really.
Picture Stephanie on the high school basketball team, and her missed free throws cost them the game. So Jack makes her stay after, sheís already exhausted, shooting free throw after free throw until she can shoot a bunch in a row. If she misses one he makes her start all over. Thatís devotion to his daughter.
I know, I know, a suck ass analogy, but... we're missing a scene like that here.
Disclaimer: Jackís not despicable by any means. Just trying to reinforce a point.
Scarface, the guy is a drug addict, drug dealer, murderer, he's vile, lewd, profane. The list goes on and on providing reasons why nobody would ever want to be around this guy. However, we also see that he is family-oriented, cares deeply about his sister, provides for his mother without question, and when he gives you his word, you can take it to the bank. Those positive traits are stronger in Tony Montana than they are in most of the nicest characters ever put to screen! And it's because of those positive traits that allows us to see past the negative ones and root for him whether we like his character or not.
The irony in this thread. And in case that hasn't convinced you,
SAVE THE CAT God rest his soul... I've always thought Mr Snyder was a little set in his ways, but he was right about one thing. Your protag should have SOMETHING that makes us root for them. That doesn't mean they need to be likeable. Actually contrary to what Snyder says they can be downright dislikable, but what they do need is an quality to empathize with that makes us content to follow their lives.
I think it's sort of like how Horoscopes can "capture" us in their web and make us think... that's so me. Methinks that's what we have to do with our characters. Make them unique to their story, but an everyman to the audience. Fun little trick. Easier said than done, I know.
In all fairness, Iíll admit Iím speaking with prejudice rather than fair judgement...so take it with a grain of salt or the whole shaker.
It's really difficult because it's character based and I don't even understand what the goal is, Jack doesn't even know what the goal is until his daughter overdoses.
That's...uh...kind of an important step. It doesn't sound like to me you have a good grip on your character. The deeper you know your character, the easier it is to set up conflict. What makes him tick. What makes him annoyed. What scares, what drives, what... dig deeper into your character and quickly you'll get past this crossroad.
In my utterly, ignorant advice: I completely understand your urge to get going with what is obviously a passion project for you, rather than attempt a quick rewrite, take a step back from this one, work on something else, then come back to this one with fresh eyes, not stale ones...
Anywaz, just my incredibly wordy 2 pennies, for what they're worth. If I sound like I don't know what I'm talking about, there is a 50% chance of that being true. But I can't imagine I'm way off base. I hope some of that helps you.
Keep after it. Rome wasn't built in a day. Best of Irish luck!-A
OK thankyou alll for commenting and I am learning from you all. Should I get rid of the part when Jacks a kid then? But I like how that relates the the lakehouse scene with the birds, I can't do it, but maybe I could get rid of the school bit?
I'm rewriting it right now and editing it, cutting it down and deleting alot of action words, making conversations less draggy and more to the point.
Hey shout out to all of you though, the fact youve all read this much into this and all helping me is really something. I hope your all good. Keep you posted and thanks ghostwriter for helping with the loglines I love them and see what you're saying how it needs to be more external, this is the first and last screenplay I write where it's this character oriented or rather start writing with so little planning. My second script I will post soon, cheers everyone.