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Updated Logline: “Soldiers of Fortune”

As I said before, all of my notes on my various projects were in storage for the move. I just so happened to start this blog during this move. One of the first things I put on here were loglines for my projects, all annotated that they were subject to change. (Read: write them from memory and replace them with the real versions once I got them unpacked.)

New Logline:

The government’s go-to bounty hunter has just three days to retrieve the Senator who’s been taken captive by treasure hunters.

Old Logline:

The State of the Union Address is in three days and that’s all the time a bounty hunter has to retrieve a missing Senator, who has been taken captive by treasure hunters.

So how exactly is this new logline better than the old one? For starters, the use of State of the Union Address isn’t necessary because we still have the same time limit (three days). We also are being more specific about the main character: not just a bounty hunter, but the government’s go-to bounty hunter. Why would the government go to this guy? What makes him so special? Questions like that are what helps a script sell… sort of. Lastly, notice that just by tweaking a couple phrases, the new logline is a bit leaner than the old one. Leaner = always better.

Here are a couple older loglines I came up with, descending from most recent:

  • The government’s go to bounty hunter gets roped into a treasure hunt while trying to bring home a kidnapped senator.
  • After a ship falls from the sky, a Senator goes missing while investigating it; giving a government-utilized bounty hunter three days to retrieve him before the State of the Union Address.
  • A bounty hunter has three days to retrieve a missing Senator, who was taken captive by treasure hunters.
  • The State of the Union Address is in three days, and that’s all the time a bounty hunter has to retrieve a missing Senator, who has been taken captive by treasure hunters.

Can you spot what might’ve caused me to change it from a previous version?

There are three components to a good logline: 1) Main character, 2) the goal, 3) the central source of conflict. You can read more about how to craft loglines in the links below. So are all three points shown in my latest logline? Let’s take a look.

1)Main character? Yep, the government’s go-to bounty hunter. 2) The goal? Yep, three days to retrieve the missing Senator. 3) The main source of conflict? Sure thing! The Senator’s been taken captive by treasure hunters AND there are only THREE DAYS to find him. (Double Whammy there)

It may not scream “BUY THIS NOW!!” yet, but that’s the point of this blog: to show improvement in a craft where there is always something new to learn.

Until next time, Movie Buffs!

Links: (All open in new tabs)

Bit-O-Progress, Part 1

Today, as the title suggests, some progress has been made. On what project? A couple, actually. “Soldiers of Fortune” has gotten a couple of thoughts put towards it. Thanks in part to these two articles over at Scribe Meets World.

Lately, the “Hard Hitters” pilot has gotten the most attention from my brain cells. This comes mainly from the fact that Netflix Instant is AMAZING. Seriously. If you’re a writer, it’s LITERALLY your best friend.

I LITERALLY couldn't love Netflix any more than I already do!

I LITERALLY couldn’t love Netflix any more than I already do!

The other day I finished watching a three-part series of Falls Count Anywhere matches from WWE. Then it hit me: why haven’t I been paying closer attention to this? These series have a ton of information in them. What makes the crowd react and to what degree? How might the color commentators discuss a heel? Would they each take a separate stance? Do they both like or hate them? So many things to learn from, so few hours in the day.

Just this afternoon, I was watching the hour special about NWO and how they took over WCW. It was interesting. When several of the reveals of which faces turned heel, the crowd’s reaction was shockingly similar to the reaction to the NXT rookies wrecking havoc on Monday Night Raw several years ago. Again, more inspiration. Thanks to Netflix, I can enjoy getting a history lesson that I might not have otherwise come across or sought out.

While I’m still on the subject of Netflix, you should check out “Milius” IMMEDIATELY! It’s a terrific documentary about one of the most prolific screenwriters ever known to Hollywood. If you haven’t heard of John Milius… first off, shame on you. Second, if you don’t know the name, you most assuredly know his words: “Do you feel lucky, punk?” “Go ahead, make my day.” “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” “Charlie don’t surf.” And countless others. It’s a great story about a great man. See it immediately.

It's gonna make your day.

It’s gonna make your day.

Lastly, how do I define progress? I wish I could say completed script pages, but I can’t. I haven’t written a single page in about four months. Do I feel lazy? On one hand, yes. What is a screenwriter without a script? A writer. I heard this idea not too long ago that writing the actual script takes up maybe 20% of the overall writing process. And to that extent, I kinda have to agree. On the first draft of “Soldiers of Fortune,” I spent maybe five or six weeks doing research on certain elements. Mostly having to do with the dimensions of a 17th century ship. This article, again over at Scribe Meets World, only goes to back up what became of most of the research involved in the project. I would argue, however, that it is a necessity, in the event of the script getting made, so I could relay any and all logic found in my research to the production crew.

Today, I wrote up seven note cards. These are my favorite possessions. A pack of 100 cards for only 88 cents at Walmart. What a bargain! I use these all the time. Now seven isn’t the most cards I’ve done in a day. On “Soldiers of Fortune” and “While This Offer Lasts” I was writing up anywhere from one to two dozen a day.

A writer's best friend.

A writer’s best friend.

I just want to point out just how useful these are to my writing process. If I have a quick idea for any project, I just write it down on a note card and then continue on with whatever else I was doing. Plus, I don’t feel like I’m wasting as much as I did when I used to use just yellow legal pads for notes.

Until next time, Movie Buffs!

Preparing for Action

Sorry it’s been a bit since my last useful post. My family and I just finished moving to a new place and all of my notes for future projects have all been in storage. Now I have them, so I plan on getting the ball rolling on making progress. There’s a lot to do, so a plan is always necessary.

On the right of the page is the list of my current projects. The one that’s the highest priority right now is “Soldiers of Fortune” so that’s what in all likelihood I’ll be updating you on the most as far as personal projects go.

The other one is “Hindsight.” With that one, the updates will more likely than not be about taking the finished script and breaking it down for potential production.

One side note: My old computer with all of my software (Photoshop, Sony Vegas, etc.) is in the midst of dying. More specifically, the hard drive is failing. Having been without employment for nine months make replacing the parts a more trying task.

The unemployment has been intentional, however. I was going to utilize a year or so to write a few spec scripts before once again gaining employment so I could save up to move to Los Angeles. My parents’ decision to move to North Carolina did upset that plan, but when you’re living rent-free (for now, anyway) you aren’t left with a whole ton of options.

I am planning a computer build in the near future, and that project I will most likely document on here as well. (An editing/authoring machine — it’s been in the works for a few years now) I will most likely have to get a job here in Madison before the move to North Carolina to start saving up. I’m hoping in the free time I have, I will be able to fine-tune my screenwriting process and figure out how to utilize what little time I’ll have to maximize results.

Right now, this week and next are going to be devoted to getting 100% settled in to the new apartment, and getting my head back into the screenwriting game. In the near future, you should expect a few more films dissected for screenwriting tips to be gained from them.

I’m thinking these will focus on the lower budget (in my mind) spectrum of filmmaking. IE, what I can put into the low budget feature script that I can shoot locally and still have the project kick ass. Right now, I’m thinking of looking at the first three features directed by Tarantino, for starters.

There are some other really good titles in mind, but I’ll discuss them later. So I’ll beg your indulgence, since this week will be a little slow.

Until next time, Movie Buffs.