Film Courage: What are three mistakes screenwriters make with loglines?
Naomi Beaty, Writer, Screenwriting Teacher and Consultant: The three that I tend to see are stopping at the setup. So describing just the initial situation and not really giving us any indication of what is the meat of the movie if that makes sense?
Often when we come at stories, we come with an interesting what if and that is a great entry point into a story. But then you sort of have to develop that continuation of the conflict, right? What is the real problem that they are trying to solve?
In a logline if you just give me the setup, I don’t know if you’ve thought that through. If you’ve come up with the story part of your screenplay I know that you’ve come up with a situation but not necessarily a story so that is the first mistake that I see people make with loglines.
The second one is not having an act two which is a little bit different from the first one. If you’re conveying to me what’s happening in your movie but it’s something sort of transitory or that it can be done in one scene or one minute then that raises a little bit of a red flag because then it feels like maybe you don’t have enough to sustain an entire movie.
The third mistake I see a lot is packing too much detail into your longline. Usually this happens after somebody has written the script and so they know so much about the story and they’ve fallen in love with everything that they’ve written then they try to distill all of that down into one sentence and it’s really hard because they have all…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
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