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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Review My Logline  ›  Honey, I killed A Bunch of People In The Nineties Moderators: LC
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  Author    Honey, I killed A Bunch of People In The Nineties  (currently 317 views)
AlsoBen
Posted: August 1st, 2020, 4:53am Report to Moderator
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Logline/concept review for me?

It's a black comedy I'm writing in the vein of Todd Solodnz.

"When the elderly patriarch of their family confesses on his death-bed to a number of unsolved rapes and murders in the 90s, his selfish adult children and child-like wife take the time reconsider how they missed the clues -- and debate how to properly give the man of their family a proper second-off".

For an idea of what kind of humor I'm going for her, I've made an opening few teaser pages available to read (but this isn't necessary), here


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Yuvraj
Posted: August 1st, 2020, 5:12am Report to Moderator
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Not an avid reader in the black comedy genre. But do like your premise. But also be careful, black comedies tend to fall into the offensive basket easily. Which serves the reason why black comedies don't have a repertoire as they should have.

Let's hope some black comedy expert chimes in.

Bonne chance!  


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bert
Posted: August 1st, 2020, 9:09am Report to Moderator
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As a concept this isn't bad at all, but murder will always have more comic potential than rape, even when going dark.

Stick with murder.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Yuvraj
Posted: August 1st, 2020, 10:35am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bert
As a concept this isn't bad at all, but murder will always have more comic potential than rape, even when going dark.

Stick with murder.


True that.


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AlsoBen
Posted: August 5th, 2020, 11:21am Report to Moderator
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I'm going for a Todd Solondz "Happiness" vibe here (he has the MC be a sex offender and still be hilarious)


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Matthew Taylor
Posted: August 10th, 2020, 8:45am Report to Moderator
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Are you still after a review for this logline?

I'll throw it out there anyway - I've been away from anything scriptwriting for a few months (feels longer) so I am looking to blow off the dust a little.

For me, the main point of a logline for a spec is to entice whoever reads it to open the script - a bit simplified I guess but I want producers/directors or whoever to actually read the script.

With that in mind, I would lose this part "to a number of unsolved rapes and murders in the 90s" - If I just know its a confession I would be more inclined to read the script to find out what the confession was (plus, your title kinda gives that information anyway)

"...take the time reconsider how they missed the clues -- and debate..." - this part also feels a bit humdrum - "taking the time" "debate" - just sounds like a family discussion and doesn't excite me to open the script. Considering how their lives have just been rocked I would personally find some more emotive words

"Elderly patriarch of their family...the man of their family" - you have few words to play with, I would lose the double info here.

Forgive me if I am being dumb - what's a second-off?

There's not much in the way of conflict, stakes or antagonism the way it is. Are the family taking different views? is it tearing them apart? are they trying to bury it? confront it? find the victims and their families to right the wrongs of their father?

At the moment I am quite liking loglines that break from the conventional - probably because I read so many that when they keep following the same beats it becomes a bit monotonous (I guess producers/script readers may suffer the same)  - I guess it's probably safer to stick to tradition, might just be me who likes to bend the rules. (Although i do think that a comedy, especially dark, would be a good fit to experiment with loglines - more so than other genres)

Anyway, I will stop my waffling.

Oh, concept - I like the concept as it feels very open to some dark comedy, but just not sure where you are going with it. where my mind went was that a family member could be trying to find the bodies to destroy evidence so there is nothing linking to their father, another wants him to get justice blah blah blah (conflict) - but yeah feels like a solid basis.

Best of luck with it




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Heretic
Posted: August 10th, 2020, 11:45am Report to Moderator
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Ha, the pages are funny. Nice work.

The title is attention-getting, but I don't know if it actually fits the tone you're going for. Solondz's titles are typically much more innocuous -- not giving away the joke or tone. Everyone's searching for 'Happiness,' but we don't typically think about people like Dylan Baker as being on the same search we are -- Solondz's movies highlight the way that people very unlike us ultimately want the same things as us.

I think the logline could be simpler. Your hook is a horrible deathbed confession. Your bread and butter is a selfish, childish family fighting (I assume?) over how to deal with it. Those are the two elements to sell.


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eldave1
Posted: August 10th, 2020, 1:36pm Report to Moderator
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Hmm.

I read the 15 you put-up. Well crafted as always and I did laugh. You're a solid writer, IMO.

But hmm.

So, mate - as much as I really like the premise, I'd probably be leaving this one - there just something that is a bridge too far for me combining rape and comedy.  It's not that I am squeamish - believe me - a drama involving this premise would cause me no problem. It's just the rape - comedy thing.

On the logline - Not optimal IMO. It's not very efficient and I haven't a clue what a proper second off means - may be a culture thing I guess. Anyway, the first part: I'd streamline a bit. e.g.,

When an elderly man confesses on his death-bed to a series of unsolved murders from decades ago, his dysfunctional family must ....

In terms of the rest - I think I am missing the stakes. Kind of lost why they need to go through all of this.  Why do they need to reconsider?  I'm sure you have it - I'd include it.

But most of all, I'd lose the rape part - that may just be me.  


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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MarkItZero
Posted: August 11th, 2020, 8:09am Report to Moderator
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You've got a great hook. I really like the potential here.

You just need to give us a sense of the fun stuff in the script. Or, if it's super depressing with no fun, then show us where is the real conflict, drama, etc. Show us the juicy part of the script.

Right now you have... "take the time reconsider how they missed the clues -- and debate how to properly give the man of their family a proper second-off"

None of that sounds like the real meat of the script.

I like what Heretic said about a selfish family fighting over how to fix this. If that's not actually what happens in your script then this next example might not be helpful... but here goes...

When a dying patriarch confesses to a series of unsolved murders, his spoiled heirs descend into a take-no-prisoners battle on how best to protect the family legacy (and save their inheritances).

The inheritance thing in particular might not be in the script at all. Or maybe it's more about the family having to grapple with all their dirty secrets...

When a dying patriarch confesses to a series of unsolved murders, his selfish children and dependent wife must save their dysfunctional family as secrets past and present threaten to tear them apart.


That rug really tied the room together.
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eldave1
Posted: August 11th, 2020, 4:57pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from MarkItZero
You've got a great hook. I really like the potential here.

You just need to give us a sense of the fun stuff in the script. Or, if it's super depressing with no fun, then show us where is the real conflict, drama, etc. Show us the juicy part of the script.

Right now you have... "take the time reconsider how they missed the clues -- and debate how to properly give the man of their family a proper second-off"

None of that sounds like the real meat of the script.

I like what Heretic said about a selfish family fighting over how to fix this. If that's not actually what happens in your script then this next example might not be helpful... but here goes...

When a dying patriarch confesses to a series of unsolved murders, his spoiled heirs descend into a take-no-prisoners battle on how best to protect the family legacy (and save their inheritances).

The inheritance thing in particular might not be in the script at all. Or maybe it's more about the family having to grapple with all their dirty secrets...

When a dying patriarch confesses to a series of unsolved murders, his selfish children and dependent wife must save their dysfunctional family as secrets past and present threaten to tear them apart.


Dude, you;re a logline wizard - both of those work great


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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LC
Posted: August 11th, 2020, 8:37pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from eldave1
But most of all, I'd lose the rape part - that may just be me.  

It's not just you, Dave. I agree.

Ben, you write effortlessly, it's always a pleasure to read your work as the pages fly by and you nail characters and dialogue really well. I think the rape element is just going one step too far and could potentially derail the enjoyment and alienate your audience. Jmho.

Stephen King did similar here with the exposť of a homicidal maniac within a family:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2180994/

The wife discovers her husband's extra-curricular activities and has to work out what to do. The husband is still alive and continuing with his dastardly deeds.


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Heretic
Posted: August 12th, 2020, 8:57am Report to Moderator
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Have y'all naysayers seen Happiness? The audience for a Solondz-style black comedy is relatively small, but they will not be alienated by well-handled jokes about rape.


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Yuvraj
Posted: August 12th, 2020, 10:30am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Heretic
Have y'all naysayers seen Happiness? The audience for a Solondz-style black comedy is relatively small, but they will not be alienated by well-handled jokes about rape.


You are right, Heretic.

I previously wrote the same. It's fine to use any theme the writer wants. But the jugglery is to perfectly balance both the theme without getting hostile.

The subject is obviously sensitive and not everyone's gonna approve it, but if handled the proper way, it may appeal small if not a large audience.


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khamanna
Posted: August 12th, 2020, 12:23pm Report to Moderator
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Ben, I really like the premise here. Good luck writing it.
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eldave1
Posted: August 12th, 2020, 2:01pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Heretic
Have y'all naysayers seen Happiness? The audience for a Solondz-style black comedy is relatively small, but they will not be alienated by well-handled jokes about rape.


The operative word there is small.

Yes, some people won't have a problem mixing comedy and rape. And of course Ben can makes this work. It's a matter of strategy IMO. You got a great premise working here - investigating the crimes of a father you just learned about in a death-bed confession. The strategic issue is, does Ben want to limit the appeal/the potential audience. If the answer is yes - move forward. If the answer is no - maybe rethink.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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