logline Please read my longline!

Hey guys, this is a longline I just made for a feature im trying to write. its my first feature, and really my first time being critical about a longline like this. Please tell me what you think and what I should fix.

-An Undercover FBI agent based in North Korea falls involve with a woman on the other side.
 

indietalk

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What the hell would the FBI be doing in North Korea? They are national cops! Yes they can track suspects and arrest in other countries but they would not be working undercover, I think you mean our spy agency, the CIA.
 

indietalk

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Staff Member
Admin
Do you know our relationship with NK? The FBI is not there. No way in hell. CIA, yes. Sure. Spies. Why would the FBI be there? What is your reasoning? Yes they can set up shop in other countries, it has to authorized and they are usually chasing crimes that originated here. NO WAY that happens in NK!
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Hey guys, this is a longline I just made for a feature im trying to write. its my first feature, and really my first time being critical about a longline like this. Please tell me what you think and what I should fix.

-An Undercover FBI agent based in North Korea falls involve with a woman on the other side.
Strike one - "falls in love" rather than "falls involve".
Strike two - I find it ridiculous that the FBI would have an under cover agent in North Korea.
Strike three - this tells me nothing about core concept.

Okay, you have a Shakespearean forbidden romance. So what? I see those script all the time.
They are almost always boring. What is going to make YOUR version of this interesting? Is
everything riding on North Korea? That might be an interesting concept. I can't recall a romantic
drama set in NK. How much do you know about NK? From this is seems you know nothing
about the FBI.

What you should fix...
Have you ever looked into how to write a logline? Do that and then rewrite it.
 
Strike one - "falls in love" rather than "falls involve".
Strike two - I find it ridiculous that the FBI would have an under cover agent in North Korea.
Strike three - this tells me nothing about core concept.

Okay, you have a Shakespearean forbidden romance. So what? I see those script all the time.
They are almost always boring. What is going to make YOUR version of this interesting? Is
everything riding on North Korea? That might be an interesting concept. I can't recall a romantic
drama set in NK. How much do you know about NK? From this is seems you know nothing
about the FBI.

What you should fix...
Have you ever looked into how to write a logline? Do that and then rewrite it
Yeah I don’t have much knowledge on either of them. I just read the chapter on long lines in the book save the cat and wanted to try out the first one that came to me. I knew it was heavily flawed from the jump, but I just wanted to see others opinions
 
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Do you know our relationship with NK? The FBI is not there. No way in hell. CIA, yes. Sure. Spies. Why would the FBI be there? What is your reasoning? Yes they can set up shop in other countries, it has to authorized and they are usually chasing crimes that originated here. NO WAY that happens in NK!
I don’t know the relationships and I guess I don’t know much about the FBI. Just an idea that came to my head, and I wanted to get the opinions of
What is the story? Are you saying you don't have one? You shouldn't waste people's time here.
It was the beginning of an idea. I don’t understand why you are coming at me like this.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
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Because if you have no story why are we wasting time on your marketing line? A logline is for marketing. It is a distilled version of your actual story. It is very hard to write. To take all the elements of your story and boil them down into a line or two. I'm not here asking you how to write a good ad for my mansion for sale when I have no house.
 
If you want to practice loglines try writing some for films that exist, and don't peek at theirs. And see how you do. You can post them here.
Well, thank you for keeping it real with me and not sparing my feelings. I do appreciate that. I only did the longline first because Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat book said so. I’ll give that a try tho. Thank you
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
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That's fine if you actually have an idea. But why write about the FBI and North Korea if you admittedly do not know much?

I am not one to stymie creativity. I would like to tag @Unknown Screenwriter here to explain the (his) two versions of loglines. One is a compass logline which keeps you on track of your story, and one is pure marketing. He can explain further, look out here for him to post back.
 
@UchLove

Okay... First off? Congratulations on wanting to write a screenplay. I mean that sincerely. Save the Cat seems to do that to a lot of people. Second? It's a LOGLINE and not a longline or a long line. Let's get the terminology straight so we're all on the same page. Third? @indietalk and @directorik are both correct... There would be no representatives of the FBI in North Korea let alone a spy. The FBI does go undercover but only here in the United States. They do have people stationed overseas but those agents are in the FBI's Legal Attaché program. They basically work with local law enforcement when an investigation would be of interest to our country (U.S.A.). The FBI does have a Legal Attaché in Seoul, South Korea so maybe that's your IN if you want to keep the whole idea of the FBI being involved.

Before you write a spec screenplay, it's PRUDENT to go ahead and create a logline beforehand and then memorize the hell out of it and maybe even print it out and keep it with you and even post it in front of you as you're writing... Especially when you're a new screenwriter. Why? To help keep you ON TRACK while you write. I call this a COMPASS LOGLINE i.e., it's NOT a marketing logline to help sell the final draft of your script but a logline that keeps pointing you toward the actual CONCEPT of your story so you keep on track as much as possible during the writing.

Once you get a final draft completed? Then you can and SHOULD sit down and come up with a MARKETING LOGLINE that is going to get people INTERESTED in your spec.

The two loglines are completely different but once your spec is completed, you can cannibalize your compass logline a bit to craft your marketing logline.

Right now, based on what I've read? You don't yet have a story... YET. Which is fine. You have an IDEA and now you have to figure how to expand that idea into a story. I think involving an FBI Legal Attaché could be a great story. Maybe something happens in Seoul that leads the Attaché to North Korea but if that's what you make happen, know up front that the FBI agent/attaché is going into North Korea ALONE and would be going rogue so to speak in order to do whatever he has to do there. Which in and of itself ain't such a bad idea.

At this point, I think you need to perform some research so you can brainstorm this idea even more so you can expand it into an actual concept and story.

Like for now? Who's your Antagonist? How does the FBI agent get involved with the North Korean? What incident LED up to all this taking place? What does the FBI agent have to do once he's in North Korea? What's the central question of the eventual movie? What's the FBI agent's goal? How does he get OUT of North Korea? Will he stay with the FBI when he accomplishes his goal or will they fire him for going to North Korea?

You've just got some missing parts that really need to be filled in before we can help you. Get those missing parts figured out and keep this thread OPEN and we can go from there. I think it could be a great thread for others to keep up with.

GOOD LUCK WITH IT!
 
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@UchLove

Okay... First off? Congratulations on wanting to write a screenplay. I mean that sincerely. Save the Cat seems to do that to a lot of people. Second? It's a LOGLINE and not a longline or a long line. Let's get the terminology straight so we're all on the same page. Third? @indietalk and @directorik are both correct... There would be no representatives of the FBI in North Korea let alone a spy. The FBI does go undercover but only here in the United States. They do have people stationed overseas but those agents are in the FBI's Legal Attaché program. They basically work with local law enforcement when an investigation would be of interest to our country (U.S.A.). The FBI does have a Legal Attaché in Seoul, South Korea so maybe that's your IN if you want to keep the whole idea of the FBI being involved.

Before you write a spec screenplay, it's PRUDENT to go ahead and create a logline beforehand and then memorize the hell out of it and maybe even print it out and keep it with you and even post it in front of you as you're writing... Especially when you're a new screenwriter. Why? To help keep you ON TRACK while you write. I call this a COMPASS LOGLINE i.e., it's NOT a marketing logline to help sell the final draft of your script but a logline that keeps pointing you toward the actual CONCEPT of your story so you keep on track as much as possible during the writing.

Once you get a final draft completed? Then you can and SHOULD sit down and come up with a MARKETING LOGLINE that is going to get people INTERESTED in your spec.

The two loglines are completely different but once your spec is completed, you can cannibalize your compass logline a bit to craft your marketing logline.

Right now, based on what I've read? You don't yet have a story... YET. Which is fine. You have an IDEA and now you have to figure how to expand that idea into a story. I think involving an FBI Legal Attaché could be a great story. Maybe something happens in Seoul that leads the Attaché to North Korea but if that's what you make happen, know up front that the FBI agent/attaché is going into North Korea ALONE and would be going rogue so to speak do whatever he has to do there. Which in and of itself ain't such a bad idea.

At this point, I think you need to perform some research so you can brainstorm this idea even even more so you can expand it into an actual concept and story.

Like for now? Who's your Antagonist? How does the FBI agent get involved with the North Korean? What incident LED up to all this taking place?

You've just got some missing parts that really need to be filled in before we can help you. Get those missing parts figured out and keep this thread OPEN and we can go from there. I think it could be a great thread for others to keep up with.

GOOD LUCK WITH IT!
Awesome! Thank you for the knowledge! I will get on that and report back here later!
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Also pitch your ideas loosely here. Not as loglines or we will be judging them as loglines. A logline helps YOU when you are this early. It can help you see if your idea can be boiled down into a central story, etc. But you still just have an idea. WE don't need to see your logline yet. When you have a screenplay AND boil it down, sure. That is my opinion, others may vary. But if you would have just loosely pitched it like "I don't have the full idea yet but what do you think of this premise. An FBI... blah blah blah" we would have chimed in on the idea and perhaps helped you flesh it out.
 
The FBI does go undercover but only here in the United States. They do have people stationed overseas but those agents are in the FBI's Legal Attaché program. They basically work with local law enforcement when an investigation would be of interest to our country (U.S.A.).
Just to expand on that a bit, Special Agents who work overseas in the Attaché program work international corporate crime, narcotics and terrorism. They do a lot more, but those are their primary foci when working with law enforcement agencies in other countries.

And some wisdom from good 'ol Uncle Bob...... A number of the writers here on IndieTalk are working professionals; several of them responded to your post. These folks write for a living. Their time is valuable; like most working writers they are constantly asked to vet others work, mostly newbs, who have a greatly expanded opinion of the quality of their work. This is why they are so hard on incomplete ideas, vague questions, etc. As they are very generous with their limited time please make sure that you have a definite direction to your posts. And be prepared for brutal honesty. It's a tough swallow, sometimes, but if you have the right (write? LOL) mindset you will greatly benefit. I know that I do. (BTW, my daughter is an aspiring writer of scripts.)

Now, on to your script. Can you describe your story in ten (10) words or less. It's a film about ________________________ . Not a logline, although it should help you with that, but it provides the central core of your story. (When I worked on "Johnny Montana" it was "a film about choices.")

Your FBI Special Agent could be the Legal Attaché in Seoul, which is where he gets involved with your North Korean intelligence officer. Perhaps she is embedded in the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA), which is the South Korean version of the US FBI; this is how they become involved. Depending upon the thrust of your story, their cooperative involvement with an investigation, besides initiating a relationship, leads them both to a situation that questions their loyalties. Or maybe they are unknowingly investigating each other. Perhaps his position as an FBI Special Agent is a cover for his work with the CIA. The possibilities are myriad, which is why you need a definite, specific direction when you start to write. That the direction may change - even numerous times - is part and parcel to the writing game. And, as has been quoted often, sometimes you have to kill your babies. I can't tell you how often I have heard someone say that the scene which started the whole project in the first place became unnecessary after a few rewrites.

And, just because I'm Uncle Bob and can't resist...

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Long Line Bra

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