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Broken man tells us less about your hero they you could. Anyone with a diagnosis would be broken per se. Expand just a bit.
e.g., I think more interest is piqued if he the trip to Vegas is otherwise really out of character for him. i.e., if he were a gambling, drinking thirty something then the trip to Vegas is just a natural course of things. If he were a deeply religious, conservative introvert type then it draws more interest because we know he's going to be a fish out of water.
First off, welcome hope you find this place useful.
The logline: You have the protagonist and the inciting incident which is good. What is missing for me is the goal and stakes.
What exactly is he trying to achieve in this movie, and what are the consequences if he doesn;t succeed.
Is this movie about him having his last hurrah and the ending is that he isn't actually dying? or, is the movie about his life after vegas trying to put together his life after the trauma of thinking he was going to die and blowing his life savings?
Thank you so much for the reply Matthew! Your comment (as well as the previous ones) has made me think very deeply about whether or not my logline is even still relevant. It may, in fact, be irrelevant as I continue to write. Is this something you would suggest addressing now, or should I continue to write and let the writing take me to a new logline? Sorry if this question is confusing. Again, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to help. Mike
Thank you so much for the reply, Matthew! Your comment (as well as the previous ones) has made me think very deeply about whether or not my logline is even still relevant. It may, in fact, be irrelevant as I continue to write. Is this something you would suggest addressing now, or should I continue to write and let the writing take me to a new logline? Sorry if this question is confusing. Again, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to help. Mike
The question is not confusing, I don't think lol
A simplistic view of a logline is that it is a tool to sell your screenplay. If that is purely what you are going to use it for, then you can wait until you finish your script before finishing the logline.
However, to the writer, log lines are much more than that... now you will have to bear with me, I am not very good at explaining what I mean. It makes sense in my head, let's see if this makes sense in words lol
Loglines are a super-condensed summary of your story elements (Protagonist, antagonist, conflict, plot, goal, stakes) --NB note that resolution should not be included in a logline, don't reveal the ending -- So if you have a problem with parts of the logline, then it could hint at a problem with the story. For example, if you struggle to summarise what the conflict is in the logline, there probably isn't enough conflict in the script. So log lines are good to the writer for that.
Loglines can also keep you on track - Some people like to start with a logline, then jump into the script. Checking back to the logline can help keep those writers from swaying too far from their original vision-- BUT, gonna slightly contradict myself...
Loglines can be used in the opposite way and help you discover what your true story is, and it kinda looks like this is where you are at. So, we come up with a brilliant idea and we start writing the script, as we do so, the story seems to naturally change and evolve into something quite different... I prefer this process of letting the story come out naturally rather than forcing it to fit my original vision. Anyway, during the writing process of a feature or pilot (less so with shorts) it is easy to become lost and overwhelmed, especially when the story has taken different turns than originally intended. In this case, it is beneficial to rewrite the logline, if not for others but for yourself, so you can kinda recentre (reground? refamiliarise?... I dunno, you choose the buzz word lol) yourself with what the story is truly about. It may be different from your original idea, and that's OK, but sometimes the logline helps you take a step back and think "OK, my story is actually about this!"
Does any of that make sense?
I hope so. If nothing else, I know what I mean lol
It does make sense! And I feel as though I am in both of your described situations. I started off with one story, but the damn has taken off in its own direction. I like it because I am also curious to find out what happens. lol . I think I will keep writing until I get stuck, and then work up a new logline. Thought?
P.S. Regarding your logline I'd up the stakes with 'life savings' rather than just savings which could just sound like he's put a bit of money aside.
Forgive me if it's been said already but now he's not dying - he faces losing the house, his girl, now in debt to the mob?
Thank you LC for the comment! I actually had "life" in my logline but I accidentally left it out when entering it here. And I agree completely that the stakes need to be raised. As I tried to explain in another post, I started writing with this logline, but the script has kind of taken on a life of its own. This is my first time so I'm not sure if this is a common thing? If not then I guess I'm just a scatterbrain lol. Maybe it will help to add more of the story:
- Before the story takes place, he lost his wife and kids in a car accident which he survived. - The script opens with him discussing (convincing) his wife and kids that they should move to a ranch, away from the terrible city. - He wakes up to real life where they are gone and he is an alcoholic and pain med addict. - He gets the diagnosis and decides to go to vegas to die, really. (Sound too familiar?) - In vegas he meets a very young prostitute who makes him feel love (daughter he lost) again and so he takes her under his wing and together they try to kick their habits. - Enter the evil pimp who beats her and forces the hero to make a decision to take her back. - His money is now all gone so he has to find a way to save the girl and buy the ranch which he has decided will be a place for disadvantaged children - There is a subplot that includes an insurance investigator who is holding up an insurance settlement check (which could solve the ranch problem) because the blood sample from the night of the accident was lost and he believes the hero may have been drunk. Hero doesn't remember that night but struggles with the guilt of maybe having killed his family by being drunk.
OMG I'm sorry for the novel. I didn't mean to write so much. Just happens. Any feedback, as always, is greatly appreciated.