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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Alternative Pitch Fever

UPDATE 05/07: Many thanks to Lee for his help...The polls are now up! You've got one vote for pitches/synopses and one vote for the loglines on their own. Let voting commence!
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Well, here they all are folks... Your loglines and synopses in all their glory! I had to guess with a few re: genre btw because you forgot to tell me... Should be interesting to see if expectations "marry up". By all means leave feedback for the contestants, but please make sure it's constructive criticism. If you're not sure what constitutes criticism being constructive and are worried about treading on any toes, check out this very handy guide to giving good and apparently sexy, constructive criticism. I thank you!
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PITCHES WITH SYNOPSES

Please click on the titles and authors' name to view synopses in their entirety.

JESSICA LITTLE AND THE MANOR HOUSE SPY [Musical Comedy] By Julie Gribble, NYC, USA
In a musical adventure set in WWII England, an orphaned girl risks her life and future happiness to thwart a spy and save her friends.

RAGING GURRL [Action Thriller] by Julie Gribble, NYC, US
A shy reserved cartoonist becomes entangled in a political conspiracy when her superhero’s plotline stumbles onto real plans to take over the government.

KILLER LOOKS [Action Comedy] By Julie Gribble, NYC, US
A couture loving hitman dreams of becoming a clothing designer, but soon he must choose between his life of crime and his passion for fashion.

THE CORPORATE PARENTS by Clare Swift, UK
Can you care and make a profit? Abbey joins a reputable private fostering agency and discovers that exposing dark secrets is bad for business.

SHAKIN’ ALL OVER [Horror/Comedy] by Norman Revill, London, UK.
A hopeless band accidentally uncovers a daemon that makes them sensational. Only ‘Mr Lynne’ can save them, but they must sacrifice their newfound fame.

PENNY DREADFUL [Horror] by Elinor Perry-Smith, London, UK
A grieving prostitute turns killer in Victorian London. When her trail of blood implicates the Prince of Wales, the establishment sets out to destroy her.

ECLIPSE [Horror] By Lucy Hay, Devon, UK
A circus made up of flesh-eating shape shifters searches for its missing final member, only for a vengeful loner to stand in their way.

GIVING IT THE BIRD [Comedy] By Shell Wilbye, Cumbria, UK
Bonds, convertible bonds. But can Victor Bond turn ‘James’ enough in time to save a blind boy and his seeing eye parrot?

DAY OF THE DEVIL [Supernatural Crime Thriller] by Chris Smith, Chester, UK
The Guardian Angel of a group of students who are murdered by devil worshippers comes down from Heaven to avenge their deaths.

SEDITION [Political Thriller] By Pauline Kiernan, Oxfordshire, UK
The extraordinary untold story of the young radical Shakespeare who dared to oppose his Queen, risking execution to save his beloved country from bloody civil war.

SILENT SCREEN LOVER [Romantic Comedy] by Laura Reyna, California, US
An insecure TV actor gets career and love advice from the ghost of a famous silent screen actor haunting his mansion.

THE FEARLESS [SF Action Thriller] by Martin Adams, Dorset, UK
When aliens attack the spaceship he works on, a lowly kitchen worker has to save the world.

CLICK [Thriller] by Jackson Pillock, Devon, UK

A City trader buys a busted crack den cheap, but finds himself involved with a Ukranian mobster and his dangerous girlfriend.

PERSONAL ORGANISER [Black Comedy] by MJ, Edinburgh, UK
Anyone can set themselves up as a guru these days, but what if the one you choose has a devilish agenda all their own? [SHORT]

THE ELIZABETH TAYLOR MAN [Black Comedy] by MJ, Edinburgh, UK

It’s a hard lesson but we all have to learn it - never judge a book by its cover, even if it happens to be wearing full-length satin and a pair of Cleopatra earrings.

THE LIFE YOU MAKE [Supernatural Action-Adventure] by Lee Thomson
One boy and his grandad's ghost must save the world after cantankerous spirits accidentally threaten reality when they punish him for vandalising their graves.

THE VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE Articles By William The Bloody
In the first days of the vampire apocalypse, a human friendly vampire leads one pocket of resistance. But help could arrive from an unusual source.

WHERE'S MY DAD? [Tragic drama] by Kelly Potter, Romford, UKThis is a sad story of how far love can be challenged when someone is desperately lost in their body [SHORT].

A WOLF IN EDEN [Drama/Romance] By Lisa, UK.
Wolf conservationist Joel O’Neill is planning to re-introduce wolves back into Sullivan County. Thing is, the wolves never left and the good people of Eden, Sullivan’s biggest town, don’t want outsiders interfering in their lives...

BROKEN BIRD [Drama] by Laura Anderson, Edinburgh, UK.
A lonely girl develops a dangerous obsession for a woman with seemingly divine powers. In her strict, religious community, such reverence could have fatal consequences.

HEARTS OF IRON [Drama] by Steve The Wordsmith, www.land
A timid nurse is blackmailed into betraying a crippled inventor; she must liberate herself to redeem him and prevent world devastation from his stolen designs.


LOGLINES

BE MINE (Drama). When an adopted woman goes in search of her biological family, she discovers her teenage mother murdered her father. Anya Ricketts, NYC

THE HARVEST (sci-fi). Genetically-modified crops gain a consciousness of their own and attack a small farming community in the future. The Artiste, NYC

SHOTGUNS AND INCONTINENCE PANTS (comedy drama) Five pensioners, one zimmer frame, one cowardly son, shotguns, a container full of used Euros, and a plan. Robbery has never been so wrinkly. Dom Carver, Bournemouth, UK

A DOG'S LIFE (Comedy). 4 teens borrow a car to go on their first holiday together and end up knocking down a dog [Short]. Charlie who's a girl, York, UK

UNTITLED (B Movie-style Horror). A monstrous giant flying doughnut preys on size 0s. Twinkletoes, www.land (yeah I know it was a joke but it's funny!!)

TRIAL AND ERROR (Comedy). A bumbling assassin gets jury duty for a murder case where they killed the victim. But what happens when the assassin falls in love with the defendent? David Bishop, Scotland, UK

GUARDIAN DEVIL [Animated Comedy]. When jinx, Morty Jube, is struck by lightning he discovers that instead of a guardian angel he is accompanied by a devil, the source of his bad luck. But now Morty can see his devil - he can fight it! Gavin, UK.

BOLLYWOOD THRILLS. Two single parents fall in love while their children prepare for a Bollywood dance competition. However, their different social classes and opinionated families are determined to keep them apart and stop cupid’s arrow from striking. Niraj Kapur, Milton Keynes, UK.

And two from Gavin Boyter, UK:
REHAB [Action Comedy]. They've kicked the habit - now they're kicking ass! A motley crew of celebrities - actors, rock stars, heiresses and has-beens - have to team up to fight terrorist kidnappers who hold them all to ransom at their exclusive addiction rehabilitation centre deep in a forgotten LA canyon. All this whilst kicking their crack cocaine, gambling and shopping habits.

THE PACT [Romantic Comedy] - You made a marriage pact with your best friend - he's come to collect. Daniel adores Sarah... but Sarah just wants to be friends. Late one night she makes a pact with Daniel to become his wife if they're still single when they both turn 30. Sarah immediately forgets her drunken words. But lawyer Daniel has them on tape...

From the most prolific enterer of the competition, Ron Shears of Australia: since I couldn't make a google page for your synopses Ron (the site wouldn't respond that day unfortunately, so I've given you a few extra! Yes I know I said only 3 the rest of you, shows you don't get if you don't ask!! :)...

NAZI GOLD AND THE REINHARDT MEMORANDUM [Historical Action-Adventure] by Ron Shears and Aimeee Lamb
$2.5 billion vanishes without trace in the aftermath of WW2. What goes through a Swiss Bankers mind when questioned about ‘Nazi Gold’?

SADDLE THE WIND [Drama]
On October 21 1639, a great thunderstorm burst out of the sky, battering an isolated church located on an ancient road at Widecombe, Devonshire, England.

THE LETTER [Drama]
To return and marry his fiancĂ©e Christmas Eve 1943 means taking risks, but you ditch in the Channel. James’s 1943 letter arrives Christmas Eve 1993.

THE ADVENTURES OF TAE AND KWON [Action-adventure] Teenage martial artistes Princess Tae and Prince Kwon, are zapped down a ‘time-tunnel’ into the 21st century from ancient Asia, and Martial Arts changed forever. Ron Shears, Australia.

PENTAD [Supernatural Thriller] Five Wizards have been out of action for centuries. Until the charred remains of a leather bound book is discovered in a cobweb-strewn castle dungeon.

Three loglines from Laura Reyna, California, US

FAMILY WEDDING, Comedy. A failed businessman and a high class call girl have a fling while traveling to a wedding. Things get complicated when they discover his father is marrying her mother.

MR. WILSON'S MATINEE, Comedy/Drama. In 1950s London, a gay playwright desperate for a sponsor courts a lonely, rich widow. But he has second thoughts when she falls in love with him.

BURNSFIELD, Thriller. A man with a history of mental illness is in love with his cousin and suspects her fiance of being a killer. Despite the doubts of others, on the eve of the wedding, he sets out to prove it.

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WHAT NEXT? Well I had hoped to put a poll up, but couldn't find a free one online that would take on all you lot - the most options offered was 9, so I'm afraid you're going to have to make do with the old-fashioned way of my counting you lot actually saying which ones you like in the comments section. Remember you can keep your anonymity. Remember, extreme adoration is at stake here... May the best wo/man win!

50 comments:

David Bishop said...

Judging purely by the loglines, my favourites are KILLER LOOKS and FAMILY WEDDING.

Lee said...

Blogger do polls now, that sit in the sidebar, and I think you can add as many options as you like to them, and let people select more than one.

You need to go to your dashboard, and hit the Blogger in Draft link, in the Buzz section. Then if you go to your blogs layout section, you can add a poll from the page element list.

My votes are comin...

Oli said...

Until the poll turns up... TRIAL AND ERROR, hands down.

Lee said...

Actually - beware of the poll! If you want to add more than the default four options to Blogger's poll, you need to save after adding each one. Then you can just keep going and going.

Lianne said...

Well done everyone for submitting! Loved reading through those - you should make this a regular thing, Lucy, then maybe I'll get my arse in gear for the next one!

Penny Dreadful really stood out for me because of the female lead, emotional content and the period it is set in. Am intrigued by your flesh-eating monsters, Lucy, and the 'dangerous obsession' of Laura A's protagonist.

Elinor said...

Wow! Fantastic list Lucy! I'm looking forward to reading everything and getting back to you forthwith. Meanwhile, thank you kindly, Lianne.

Gavin Boyter said...

My owns works of genius aside, both Penny Dreadful and Eclipse have good, original horror premises. The Harvest sounds daft but interesting.

...and finally, Burnsfield could be gripping and I especially like the idea of a hero with mental health issues.

Lee said...

Hate to be a stinker but I'm disqualifiying those who couldn't keep the word count down - 25 words, people! Sorry - otherwise I'd throw in with SEDITION, as I dig the period and think this could be a rowsing spectacle.

The clear winner for me in the Pitch/Synopsis contest is BROKEN BIRD. The outline alone is tender and atmospheric, and the hints of a mystical side to the story really pulled me in. Good work.

I've already said how impressed I was with TRIAL AND ERROR, and despite the high quality of many of the other samples (especially BOLLYWOOD THRILLS and NAZI GOLD...) my assesment stands.

Pats on the back all round!

the artiste said...

Gavin: sorry only hearing one word there, DAFT??? You are aware that I live in NY and already pay protection to mobsters, I'm sure they're not aversed to a bit extra this month and a little overseas travel... ; )

Lucy said...

Been out all day doing stuff, had to post this at 5am this morning! Lucky I remembered to do it last night, hey???

I can see a poll is definitely needed here tho... Good news is, you CAN add as many options as you like, bad news is Lee, no frigging idea what you're talking about. Been messing about for ages and not getting ANYWHERE which is most likely down to my techno-ineptitude. Looked at Blogger in Draft and there does not appear to be a link to wherever it is to get my poll - maybe it's on the video, which may explain it but I can't watch it as my PC is 476 years old and is on crappy dial-up.

RichardS said...

Family Wedding is the clear winner for me, a great idea that should be snapped up. I bid 20 quid...

Honorable mention: Trial and Error, though I'm not sure it would stretch to feature-length.

A lot of the others seemed a bit silly (perhaps deliberately?). Too many seemed rather passive and/or a bit vague.

The two I mentioned above made me want to know "what happens next" - and that's what it's all about, innit?

Lee said...

Lucy, go to http://draft.blogger.com> and sign in using you Google account details.

This will take you to a special blueprintified version of you Dashboard.

In the Manage YOur BLogs section, select layout, and then Add a Page Element.

Then you'll be able to create a new poll. The downside is that you can't add all the options at once. You have to fill in the first four, then select Add another answer, fill that in, and hit Save. That will take you back to your elements page. Choose to edit your poll, add another answer, safe, rinse and repeat.

It's a faff, but it works in the end.

Lee said...

What the hell kind of typing was that?

Pillock said...

I vote for Penny Dreadful, as the main plot points are all spelled out, and I find the setting and protagonist compelling.

Also loved Broken Bird, but would have liked to know a bit more about the ending.

Anonymous said...

THE FEARLESS by MARTIN ADAMS. This is the clear winner for me. A spaceship skivvy as his protaginist. Wolfie wouldnt do bourgeoise.

Laura Reyna said...

So then, are we holding off voting until you get the poll up, Lucy??

And we vote for one in each category, right?

Some general comments:

I noticed a fair amount of loglines were too vague. Some of you need go beyond "the tease" & give us more specific details. You shouldn't leave us wondering what it's all about.

Also noticed i liked a lot more of the pitches w/ synopses than just the plain loglines. Could it be those partipating in the pitch portion are more experienced??

There were a few loglines i think have potential & need a bit of tweaking.

Good job everyone. Very enjoyable!

Lee said...

I can see you - setting up that poll!

Lucy said...

The bastard's only letting me do it one at a time!!!

Lee said...

Ho Ho. Told ya...

Lucy said...

Well I just hope you horrible lot appreciate my efforts... ; )

Lee said...

Yer a darlin'.

And I have exercised my democratic right.

Lucy said...

Nice one Lee... Now tell all your friends!!

Now - which ones do I like?

Special mentions for me go to TRIAL AND ERROR, NAZI GOLD, FAMILY WEDDING and KILLER LOOKS, but in my view PENNY DREADFUL stood out the most in the synopsis category and BOLLYWOOD THRILLS in the logline category, so I've voted for those accordingly.

The ones I liked all had one thing in common, as Jackson and Laura point out - they give us the whole story, in effect. As a reader, I don't like to be "teased", I want to know exactly what a script is about; loglines for me are about utility, rather than funkiness. Some of the loglines here seem to me more reminiscent of taglines - the kind of thing you get on the front of a DVD box or cinema poster. That doesn't mean they aren't cool, they are - but I'm left wondering what exactly the story is about.

For those of you who want to read more about Loglines in particular, check out The Bang2write List of Wonder on the right hand side bar: there's a particularly great article called "What a Logline is and what a Logline isn't" that I found v helpful when approaching this notion for the first time.

Robin Kelly said...

Well done Lucy and everyone for pitching. Here are my comments, hope they're useful, I’ve tried to think like a producer

Killer Looks is tops for me based on the logline. But the synopsis makes me desperate to read the screenplay.

Jessica Little and Raging Gurrll's loglines don't impress as much but what producer in their right mind could fail to ask for the scripts after reading the great synopses?

Once I realised it was for TV The Corporate Parents seems interesting but the synopsis maybe had too much plot and not enough of a general overview of what the series would be like. I think it has the legs to be returnable with all the relationships and different kids and parents.

Shakin' All Over - I'm not quite sure what's happening from the logline and I wasn't entirely convinced by the synopsis but there's the elements of a really good story there.

Penny Dreadful - From Hell with a female protag is always going to be interesting but I'm not sure grief explains everything she's doing for me. Why not just kill the Prince instead of killing other women to implicate the Prince? The events are spectacular but I need to be convinced by the character motivations

Eclipse - Maybe more focus on Jake and why he's doing it in the logline?

Giving it the Bird - I think the logline could reflect the dilemma in your synopsis, Shell but crucially like Big Daddy we have to believe that he has no alternative to taking the kid

Day of the Devil The angel doesn't appear to have any obstacles to the revenge, is s/he defying god? What is s/he risking?

Sedition is bloody intriguing, avoids completely Shakespeare in Love comparisons

Silent Screen Lover - interesting enough to ask for the synopsis as I’d like to know the conflicts

The Fearless - Under Siege meets Alien. I'd ask for the full synopsis.

Click - If you mention that the Ukrainian and his girlfriend are tenants in the logline, maybe? A “Gets it cheap then gets more than he bargained for” angle would hook me more

The Elizabeth Taylor Man If I was a good producer I would see that this is good and has potential but the logline and synopsis didn't really sell it as best it could, I think.

The Life You Make - I would ask to see the synopsis, to see how it all plays out.

The Vampire Apocalypse - This perhaps could be clearer about what's going to happen in the logline but once I understood it I like it. What intrigues me is vampire traitors helping humans which is a big internal and external conflict

A Wolf in Eden - this intrigued me but I didn't understand the clause in the will and how it came about

Broken Bird - lovely, I can actually see it in my head but like Pill said having the ending would be nice. Does she die? Please say she doesn’t die.

Hearts of Iron logline intrigued me but I had to read the synopsis six times to understand it. I might just be thick but so are most producers. (Any producers reading this I didn't mean you but other producers)

Be Mine is the sort of indie drama I love but is there any conflict beyond that set-up?

The Harvest - I'm reminded of the Triffids superficially but the story doesn't remind me of it at all and looks like fun.

Trial and Error - the logline confused me, especially with the gender neutral terms. But once I understood, I'd be wanting the synopsis pretty pronto. Big comic conflicts and a big dilemma.

Guardian Devil. Bonkers - in a good and interesting way. But is there enough story for a feature though?

Bollywood Thrills - almost writes itself, it's so good

Rehab - I really like this but seeing the logline focussed and reduced to 25 words or less would be interesting

The Pact - :Love it. Not an original idea but it doesn’t have to be when you have good characters. I love the Daniel character, just thinking about him makes me laugh.

Ron's. Those are all interesting ideas but I think there's no sense of what the films are going to be like, what's the conflict with Saddle in the Wind for instance? Who's your main character and what do they want and what's in the way. Tae and Kwon changing martial arts is interesting but needing to do something important or else something bad will happen is more interesting.

Family Wedding - It's intriguing enough to ask for the synopsis to see what the story is beyond the initial premise. I’m not seeing where the conflict is at the moment.

Mr Wilson's Matinee I like it. The set-up reminds of the Producers but it’s the rest of that counts and I’d ask for the synopsis.

Burnsfield - nice premise, unique main character, can't be bad

Lucy said...

Wow Robin, nice one!

**mega round of applause**

Some great feedback there. What's particularly useful is you gave us it from your POV, showing us that what is clear in our own minds is not immediately to other people not connected to the material, something I believe writers need to be more aware of in general. I've lost count of the number of times I've written coverage saying I didn't understand whom was the protagonist in a script for example, because of this-or-that reason - only for a writer to say, "I guess you missed this bit..." ARGH!

Anya said...

Robin - thanks for that, I love those indie dramas too and to be quite honest I have no idea where the conflict is... I wrote the logline on sunday! ; )

P.S You'll give Paul (Artiste) a big head...

Elinor said...

Yes, big thanks to Robin for that feedback. It's been a very enlightening exercise. Not only do we get to see all the ideas that are out there but also what a tough call writing a synopsis can be to hook the reader.

Lee said...

Thanks, Robin, that's really great. You can see the synopsis on my blog, but it's a bit rough and ready I think. Definitely needs work.

Robin Kelly said...

Lee, I'm not sure How I missed it on your blog before but I've now read it. It's got lots of potential edgy emotion as well as cool effects. Something to think about is that I'm looking for a character to guide me through the story and chose Will but he seems to be banished (where?) and the point of view seems to change to that of the spirits as they try to get him back. From the logline I was also looking forward to the son-granddad relationship but the synopsis doesn't mention it.

Lee said...

Thanks for the notes, Robin. I struggled with the word count, and probably left out the wrong things when trying to shorten the synopsis. I'm working on v2 which should highlight the conflicts and alliances, and also contain more story beats.

Lucy said...

I found 150 words very self-limiting; it's hard to know whether you're leaving vital stuff out. Luckily the average synopsis going out to a producer or agent is not so short - a page is about right and I love The Adrian Mead method of the one page pitch, seems more well-received from the producers et al I've approached...So far, anyway!

will said...

Thanks to Robin for her opinion of my logline/pitch. Also to the person who left a note on my entry containing it.

I freely admit that I need to brush up on my logline and synopsis writing skills so any and all feedback is appreciated.

I haven't had a chance to look at anyone elses synopsis as am moving house this week. But I will get round to it.

Thanks again.

Will

Lucy said...

I think this comp has helped all of us Bloody - forcing ourselves to condense our stories right down can only be a good thing in the long run I reckon.

Tho, I probably should mention that Robin is in a fact a big hairy bloke. Run, Bloody - RUN!

will said...

Tho, I probably should mention that Robin is in a fact a big hairy bloke

Well, in that case I apologise. Seems the old saying about what happens when you assume is spot on.

Good Dog said...

Certainly an interesting variety, which is always very good. I think some of the synopses let the idea down by not concentrating on the relevant aspects of the story, which is a shame. Maybe everyone needed more time to think it through and work out the plot and know the plot. There are a few where it doesn’t look like the writer has a firm grasp of the story. Oh, and a disturbing lack of hyphens.

Jessica Little and The Manor House Spy is an excellent title that perfectly captures the time and place. Can’t quite see why it’s a musical though? While it’s a great little story, there isn’t much to suggest a comedy either. Drama, certainly.

It’s obviously a great idea for a story but perhaps a little more research first and plot to get the reader really salivating. The orphanage would be out in the countryside – otherwise the children would have been evacuated – why would Arthur the inventor be there?

Sure, there were probably inventors out in the Home Counties and further afield. Barnes Wallis, for instance, who was pretty much humoured by the Air Ministry until he proved that he could break the dams in Happy Valley and disrupt German production there.

I think having Jessica’s father being dead is missing a trick. If he was a flier, say, Jessica could regale the other children with his “exploits” as she imagines them. If not an orphan, then she could simply be an evacuee, along with all the other children, sent away from the cities to a small town/village.

If the adults dismiss her accusations as “fantasies”, rather than saying they fail to see the danger – after all people were very wary of strangers at the time, given all the propaganda to watch out for strangers – then it’s up to Jessica and her close circle of friends to save the day.

The other thing to think about is, how does the German know of the location of Arthur and his invention? Is there a fifth columnist already there?

What about a ex-soldier from the British Expeditionary Force, invalided out after being injured at Dunkirk who is actually a German spy who mingled in with the shell-shocked soldiers on the French beaches?

Right, all of the above is not there to “hijack” the story. It shows how bloody good the heart of the story is. It gets the brain firing on all cylinders and all kind of ideas tumble out.

Quite tempted to vote for this one...

Penny Dreadful is interesting. The only downside is that in the synopsis there doesn’t seem to be that many obstacles in Penny’s way. She goes blood simple and then is off on her murder spree. The logline talks about the establishment out to destroy her. It’s only vaguely touched on in the last couple of sentences.

I like the idea, but again there are issues with the motivation that I think a little more different information could clear up. I suspect Penny had the child before she fell on hard times and was left with only her body to sell. Would the pimp be imprisoned? If he has a hold over her, wouldn’t she be powerless? What was it like at the time, would the police pay attention to the murder of a child?

Actually, did the Whitechapel or surrounding area prostitutes have pimps? Reading it the first time, I thought “pimps”, in this context, might have been an anachronism. But apparently it’s origin, though unknown, is from the late 16th century.

With a lot of the synopses, I get the impression that they were written to 150 words, rather than fully written out and reduced, in summary, from the original length. It’s better to write long and then take, say a twelve-word sentence and present the same information in eight words or even six.

With Eclipse, what happened to the circus? It appears in the log line but then is missing from the synopsis.

Again, the first thing I thought about was, where there circuses during the war? With petrol rationed, would they have got the coupons to allow them to travel. Or was the circus fixed in one location? And... “eclipses are a sentient force”. Huh?

The Fearless. I’d say watch coming up with things like “1st Great Human Empire”. Very Asimov. A little more background in what the universe is like at the time it’s set. Why do the aliens hate humans? Where have they come from? It just need a bit more background to properly set the scene.

And... ships have galleys not kitchens. Yes, it may seem irrelevant in the scheme of things, but again it’s the sort of slip that may make people think you haven’t put enough attention into creating the story and the world it takes place in.

Click I like as well, but I think “a busted crack den” is a very confusing description. In America I know they auction off cars, boats and houses confiscated from drug busts. (I always thought it would be funny to buy a convicted drug lord’s boat and then have it attacked by a rival who doesn’t know the original owner is doing hard time).

So the city trader buys a house at auction (sight-unseen, maybe) only to discover it was once a crack den... etc... If it’s put like that, or something similar, people can picture it better and it helps set up the story. Otherwise, buying the place, wouldn’t he have asked about the history or the area given something away. Three cheers for making the mobster Ukranian. Aren’t they real nutters?

The Elizabeth Taylor Man puts it all down perfectly. The characters and their motivations, the plot. Great title. Top!

The Life You Make sounds great and covers the bases. whereas a lot of the stories have protagonists who have a goal they are heading toward at full steam, here’s a stroppy, can’t-be-bothered kid who doesn’t give a rat’s arse what happens. Nicely ambiguous title.

Broken Bird. I think this is the one I’m voting for. Nicely written. Everything is on the page. You just know it isn’t going to end well. That’s my kind of movie!! (Miserable old bastard).

In the loglines...

Is the assassin in Trial and Error a woman? It seems odd that “they” is used instead of he or she. I wondered if that was one of the reveals. Works if you’re writing prose in the first person and don’t make any mention of the sex, but in a visual medium it’s going to be given away from the get go, so why not mention it now. Of course it both assassin and defendant could be both women or both men.

“Bumbling” seems... There’s that line in Casino Royale where Bond says to M that a double-o has a very short lifespan. Wouldn’t a bumbling assassin have an even shorter lifespan? Bumbling suggests... well, Inspector Clousau, you know? If they are absolutely perfect at their job but are, say, socially inept and don’t fit in, wouldn’t it be better to find a word closer to their condition?

Again, bringing this up because it jarred when I read it. And with a word count ceiling it’s all about finding the precise word.

Okay, so I’ll shut up now. Oh, an otter!

Laura Reyna said...

In the pitch/synopsis portion i voted for Elinor's PENNY DREADFUL. Though i'm not as intrigued w/ the J the R story as some others are, I like the twist of telling it from the chippy side. I could see this as a movie. Get some of the details worked out and this could turn into something exciting for you. Good luck with it, E!

Laura A's BROKEN BIRD came in a close second. Could make an interesting, emotional movie.


In the logline category i chose Niraj's BOLLYWOOD THRILLS. The logline was clear & well-written. As i read this I could see it as a movie, unlike a lot of the other entries. Study other films in this genre. This type of movie needs some funny/interesting supporting characters-- and a big Bollywood ending. Could make a cute film if done right. Good luck, Niraj!

TRIAL & ERROR came in second. I like the idea & think it has potential, but i had to read the logline a few times to get who was who & what was going on (the "they" threw me off). I didn't know exactly what the problem was until Robin made his comment about it being gender neutral. David, try re-writing it a bit to clear things up.

Robin Kelly said...

Relax Will, I don't mind being mistaken for a woman, women are lovely and it's nothing to be ashamed of. I'm joking, obviously, do it again and you're dead.

Silent Screen Lover

Laura's synopsis link doesn't work but I found it here

It's a good story and a sound structure and a nice ending. But it seems though that you could remove the ghost and it would still be good. I'd need to read it as this is so dependent on good witty dialogue and the tone. Also to to see how important the ghost was in helping Matt reach his goal.

Lucy said...

Good point GD, I did forget about the circus in the synopsis itself. Though actually I know a guy who was in a circus at this time and petrol wasn't really an issue: a lot of circuses during WW2, especially the Eastern European ones, drove mostly old gypsy-style horse drawn caravans and wagons and it's this notion I use during the script. Their biggest problem -as with all transients - were The Home Guard who apparently had check points everywhere. Apparently Romanians were often accused of being German, which caused a lot of problems.

As for the eclipse being a sentient force, it means the eclipse has a consciousness all its own - it's sending these creatures to earth, hence Brae being "born" from a solar eclipse and Rose from a lunar one. Out of interest, did that confuse or not come across for anyone else, since if it did it obviously needs re-working.

this is working out to be a nice little trouble shooting exercise!

Pillock said...

Thanks to Lucy for putting on a cool blogvent.

Good Dog, yes, Ukranians are all nutters. Nikolai Gogol was Ukranian.

Good Dog said...

Ah, so the circus folk are Eastern European... or are they? Because, yeah, foreign nationals, especially from those parts were put under restrictions if not interned. Meanwhile the Free French just sat around and got pissed in Soho. Well, but then there was a war on.

Yeah, I know it means the eclipse has a consciousness. It’s... radical, certainly. I guess it’s selling the idea to an audience. I mean, when Rasputin uses the moon as a portal in Hellboy you accept it because of the fantastical nature of the story that has already been established. But just being created by an eclipse...? Then again, unless you see a “birth” taking place and is an integral part of the plot, it doesn’t matter to the story at hand.

Laura Anderson said...

Just got a chance to read these - what a fab collection of loglines!

Some of them were just fantastic. Loved MJ's Elizabeth Taylor Man, Elinor's Penny Dreadful and Lucy's Eclipse. In the end I voted for Lee's The Life You Make - I'd love to see that as a feature. I thought the synopsis complemented the logline perfectly, the tone and style came through and it sounded quite different.

For loglines alone, I went with Shotguns and Incontenence Pants: again I just loved the style of this and wanted to know more. It sounded different, funny and with potential for some real pathos within.

Thanks for commenting on mine - interesting that there are differing opinions on what the end should be! Also interesting that maybe I should have revealed more: it's something I probably would have done, given more time. 150 words is quite a challenge! But that's a good thing :)

Well done everyone - and a massive thanks to Lucy for organising this. It's worked really well, and those voting buttons are great!

Sheikspear said...

Loglines:-
Close call between "Nazi Gold & The Reinhardt Memorandum" &
" Bollywood Thrills" --you can see both movies in your mind.

Pitch & Synopsis:-
Close again, but my top 3 are
"Eclipse" -- very visual, very dark and scary, feels like it leads to great finale
" Sedition " --intrigue, good plot and historical figures, would make great film
" A Wolf In Eden " reads like a slow build up that could draw you in to scary/dramatic revelation.

So...(rustling of paper as envelope is ripped open)

BEAT (for anticipation...)

Very close, but my votes go to...

"Nazi Gold & The Reinhardt
Memorandum"

And...

"Eclipse"

Laura Reyna said...

Lucy,

Re: ECLIPSE

I like the idea of monsters running around during WWII. The eclipse element sounds interesting.

Some observations--

Your logline is a bit vague and doesn't match the synopsis. In the logline you make it sound as if the shapeshifters are the protagonists, not Jake.

Perhps it would be more effective if you switched it around to something more like this:

After his family is wiped out by a group of flesh-eating shape shifters, a vengeful man hunts them down and must kill their leader before ....before...

They recruit their final member?...

He finds his mate & procreates?...

I don't know... maybe you can finish that...LOL!

After reading your synopsis, i came away with the feeling i still didn't know what was going on in the story. The plot wasn't all that clear. You use a lot of vague language:

"there is no justice in a world already in chaos"

"he searches for meaning to his existence, but finds only prey"

"Born from a lunar eclipse"

"the “other half” Brae craves"

These phrases all sound intriguing, but i don't know what they mean. I have no reference for them, so they serve no purpose but to sound literary. Poetic language is fine, it sets the tone. But i think you have a bit too much here.

Perhaps you could consider using some more specific (plainer) language that tells us what the story is about and where it's going.

Hope this helps. Thanks for taking the time to do the fest. Good learning experience.Perhaps you could do this every couple of months or so. :-)

~Laura

Lucy said...

Sheikspear - thanks for your vote!

Laura A: I think we can safely say that 150 words is a NIGHTMARE. Thank God we don't have this few on a general basis - sites like Inktip usually stipulate in the region of 450, which I feel MUCH more comfortable with.

Laura R: Thanks for taking the time to break down my synopsis, your effort is appreciated - though I do hope you know I was joking in my other article!! ; ) Think the synopsis certainly suffers from not having enough "meat" (pun intended!). You're right too, it has been an interesting learning experience. Every few months though??? I think it would have to be just loglines if we did do it again... Anyone else up for that? Hey: maybe I could interest someone in giving the winner a prize, something small probably - a DVD or something?? Anyone else out there up for that?

Elinor said...

Yes, I think a logline comp is an excellent idea! Count me in for that. Maybe do another pitch fest to time with Cheltenham next year?

MJ said...

I've gone for 'Bollywood Thrills' in the loglines because it made my heart do a joyous little leap, and 'Broken Bird' in the pitch section because it made me think of 'The Crucible' crossed with a little 'Witness' and a dash of 'Kes'. I want to see it unfold.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my humble efforts - much appreciated.

Congrats to Lucy for a great job, and a really useful exercise.

Good Dog said...

I like the idea of monsters running around during WWII.

It's probably just me, but I always think that there were more than enough monsters for everyone during the Second World War, without having to bring some sort of fantastical creatures into the equation.

Lucy said...

That was exactly the thinking behind the arena, GD.

Anne of Cleves said...

good dog - goodness...how can I thank you? I've been struggling with the story - Jessica Little is my first screenplay and there's so much I feel I'm holding back - comedy is a good tool for masking insecurities, and I think I've been adding these distractions (music, comedy) to keep me from expressing what I feel -
You've given me so much to think about and I'm very grateful.

robin, thank you for your kind words - I'm going to keep working to make the stories better.

Killer Looks, is pure fun for me. I loved "The Incredibles" - Dad's in crisis and his "gifted" family comes to his rescue in the end...very cool. Gonna have to do that! I'm happy the synopsis gives some people a laugh, too - that really makes my day!

And now, a question for the pros:
If a synopsis is about a page - how long would a treatment be?

Robin Kelly said...

Anne, treatments are generally between 6-12 pages but less is considered more. Check out Writing Treatments.com.

Anne of Cleves said...

Robin -

TY. I bookmarked the site!