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logline What about this logline?

Firstly, remember I am extrapolating everything I think I know about your story from just this logline.
I have questions. 1. Did his LT actually hang him, or did he try to and your MC escaped? 2. Why did the LT hang/attempt to hang him? 3. Is him being black relevant to the story? By that, I mean is it a major plot point or is it simply a character trait? 4. What is the primary struggle of the protagonist? Obviously, he is trying to survive, but what is his struggle with the captured platoon mates? Is it just an issue with the LT? Did everyone hate him?
Also, your logline is just one clunky run-on sentence. Break it up into more meaningful pieces. An example would be: "After his own Lieutenant tries to hang him, an African-American soldier fights through enemy lines only to discover his former platoon has been captured by the Viet-Cong. Their lives are now in his hands." I would not use that version, I just stuck as close to yours as reasonable.
If you post answers to my questions, I might be able to assist you as you craft the next revision of your logline.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
You have all these new brainstorms which is great! But you keep asking if this is a good logline. No, it is not. And I am not talking about your story. Why don't you ask is this a good idea? Then you will get responses based on that instead of trying to help tidy up a snappy logline for you. In other words we can waste our time on that, when you are just brainstorming stories left and right, and that's what you really want input on. Right? This means you can post your run on sentences, and as much as you want and nobody will care. We'll just talk about your idea. :)

Then if the idea seems good you can try a logline.
 
After viewing i.t.'s response (and checking your post history), I have more questions. Have you ever written anything before? Have you taken any screenwriting classes? Have you ever used screenwriting software? Do you know the fundamentals of story? Can you properly format a screenplay? If not, that isn't a problem and I'm not judging you. I just want to know what level of writer you are so I can better assist. It seems to me you have all of these ideas running through your head like a stampede of meth-crazed wildebeest. That's great. Creativity is awesome, but you have to reel it in to make use of it.

There is a school of thought that postulates a solid logline is the best first step in successful writing. I'm not in that camp. I think everyone has their own best process, and what works for me may not work for you. Hell, a lot of times, what works for me on one project may not work on a different one. I agree with the idea that a logline, even a preliminary one, can provide you with a roadmap of sorts so you don't get lost in your writing. For that to work, you have to know the answers to the questions I asked in my previous post.

Like i.t. said, pick one idea that resonates with you and work on that. Keep a journal or computer file with the germs of all of your other ideas so you can revisit them later. I have a folder of ideas, snippets, and characters that goes back more than 20 years.

Bear in mind, even though I do write for a living, I am not a professional screenwriter and have not sold a single screenplay or show idea. Yet. All of the advice I give is just my own opinion and you can take it or leave it as you choose.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
There is a school of thought that postulates a solid logline is the best first step in successful writing.
I believe @Unknown Screenwriter calls that a compass logline. It keeps you focused on the heart of your story. And then there's the marketing logline. The one you polish when you are ready to market. So he has two.

However the compass logline doesn't need to be called that, you can just say, do you like my idea. And that be a "rough" logline you are calling an idea. Otherwise, we are literally critiquing the logline.
 
After viewing i.t.'s response (and checking your post history), I have more questions. Have you ever written anything before? Have you taken any screenwriting classes? Have you ever used screenwriting software? Do you know the fundamentals of story? Can you properly format a screenplay? If not, that isn't a problem and I'm not judging you. I just want to know what level of writer you are so I can better assist. It seems to me you have all of these ideas running through your head like a stampede of meth-crazed wildebeest. That's great. Creativity is awesome, but you have to reel it in to make use of it.

There is a school of thought that postulates a solid logline is the best first step in successful writing. I'm not in that camp. I think everyone has their own best process, and what works for me may not work for you. Hell, a lot of times, what works for me on one project may not work on a different one. I agree with the idea that a logline, even a preliminary one, can provide you with a roadmap of sorts so you don't get lost in your writing. For that to work, you have to know the answers to the questions I asked in my previous post.

Like i.t. said, pick one idea that resonates with you and work on that. Keep a journal or computer file with the germs of all of your other ideas so you can revisit them later. I have a folder of ideas, snippets, and characters that goes back more than 20 years.

Bear in mind, even though I do write for a living, I am not a professional screenwriter and have not sold a single screenplay or show idea. Yet. All of the advice I give is just my own opinion and you can take it or leave it as you choose.
I wrote a feature last year which was horrible and I’ve written a couple of shorts. I’m in no shape or form a writer since I’m still at school and that takes up all my time ofc. That said, I know that I want to be in the industry and I don’t want to waste any time.

Nope I haven’t taken any classes. My education is pretty much all YouTube and google searches.

I think I’m pretty versed on formatting.

I’m only asking about loglines because I can’t seem to get my head around how a good one looks. I want help with my ideas as well of course, if you can.

Sorry for throwing all the ideas that come to my head at you guys lol.
 
The simple answer to your original question is "no". That is not a good logline. It leaves me with too many of the wrong kind of questions.

The best way to know what good loglines look like is to read them. The Black List (blcklst dot com) is a website dedicated to the best unproduced screenplays of each year. The scripts are listed along with their loglines. These are projects people in the industry are excited about.

I keep a copy of the first screenplay I ever wrote in my office so I can see how far I've come and remind myself of how far I have yet to go.
 
The simple answer to your original question is "no". That is not a good logline. It leaves me with too many of the wrong kind of questions.

The best way to know what good loglines look like is to read them. The Black List (blcklst dot com) is a website dedicated to the best unproduced screenplays of each year. The scripts are listed along with their loglines. These are projects people in the industry are excited about.

I keep a copy of the first screenplay I ever wrote in my office so I can see how far I've come and remind myself of how far I have yet to go.
Cool. I have read a lot actually. Just can't seem to formulate them myself.
 
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