Loglines Are A Big Problem – Jay Fingers

Jay Fingers, Novelist, Journalist, Editor, and Screenwriter: Sent to a remote island to bury the dead, a wisecracking young inmate soon finds his life in danger when the island is overrun by hordes of the undead who had been killed by prison guards.

Film Courage: Are there different screenwriting rules for established screenwriters versus those that are new writers?

Jay: I think so. I think that there are unwritten rules. Again I think a lot of it basically boils down to formatting, how your script looks, how you present your script. Newbies can’t do what established writers can do. I mentioned the Robert Towne thing or I feel a lot of screenwriters don’t use slug lines at all. For me that’s a big thing. I think that that’s insane but I know that William Goldman for instance doesn’t use slug lines and of course he wrote Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid but I feel like a William Goldman can get away with that, Jay Fingers cannot. So I’m very careful in how I format and present my work so that one day if I do decide that I want to break a rule here or there I can.

Film Courage: Do you have an opinion about log lines?

Jay: Yes, I do not like log lines. I think log lines suck.

Film Courage: Why, what’s wrong with them?

Jay: They’re just difficult, they’re difficult. Everyone’s just like Oh if you can’t, if you’re unable to distill your story into one sentence, if you can’t tell me in one (maybe two sentences) what your script is about then already I know that your script is terrible and I’m like no that’s not true. I do understand the importance of log lines. Crafting them is a pain. I just don’t like doing it. My log line for Potter’s Field I worked on for weeks before I finally got one that I thought was decent. I can’t even say that I was truly pleased with the final log line but at a certain point I…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

 

BIO:

Jay Fingers is a novelist, journalist, editor, and emerging screenwriter. He grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, before attending film school at the University of Miami. After college and working in Miami Beach’s nightlife scene for several years, Jay moved to New York City — Brooklyn, specifically — where he wrote four books: Guestlist, Kisses for Tati, Orange Mound and Manhattan Sweetheart. Deciding to fully pursue his lifelong screenwriting ambitions, Jay relocated to Los Angeles, where he currently lives and has been tirelessly working on spec scripts. 

 

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