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How much is too much? I find it difficult metering my loglines between giving away too much in the story and not giving enough. I try to keep in mind that I'm trying to tell 'some' of the story; but still, I don't want to give away too much so that my reader knows the story in advance.
All that said, could I please have a few comments on the following logline?
LOGLINE: A hotshot international bounty hunter must face the consequences of his past actions when he agrees to rescue the kidnapped family of a billionaire-shipping magnate taken hostage in the South China Sea.
Thanks in advance.
Way too much info for a logline IMO.
A bounty hunter goes to sea to rescue a wealthy kidnapped family, and finds his own past waiting for him.
It's not necessarily too much, Jerry.
Here's how I'd write it:
An international bounty hunter faces his past when he is hired to rescue the family of a shipping magnate, taken hostage in the South China Sea.
I've cleaned up the original to streamline it, but I've left some things in on purpose.
In this form, it is understood that the shipping magnate did the hiring, which saves on some excess wording.
"International" tells a prospective producer or director that the story has scope. This is not a little indie flick, and the author wants them to know that right off the bat. "South China Sea" is an exotic locale--a producer or director with vision would be intrigued by this.
In my experience, adding spice to a logline sets it apart from others that are too generic.
Here's my modest offering:
A world renown bounty hunter takes on more than kidnappers while attempting to rescue a billionaire family held hostage in the South China Sea.
I like the idea of not revealing it's his past coming back to haunt him right away. It may provoke enough interest to request your script to find out what the bounty hunter encounters. Hope this helps you decide.
THE SIEGE meets PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN in this modern-day tale of crime, recompense and atonement in the South China Sea.
ALL good points above - highlighting my dilemma - how to say more, without saying too much. I'll work on it.
More to Ellum - and perhaps others could weigh in: I've tried to shy away from comparing my scripts to noted works already out there.
The danger, as I see it, is that the reader will think: "already been there, done that." Kind of a double edged sword really - been there, done that versus sounds intriguing, good combination.
Anyone care to weigh in on the good, bad and ugly of citing specific works in loglines?
Thanks in advance - again.
Write always - I do.
When I wrote coverage, there were occasions when I would cite other movies (usually in terms of "been there, seen that") in my comments on a script. I NEVER did it in the loglines I wrote.
I think citing other films is better left to the end of a face-to-face (or telephone) pitch. Remember, with some very young studio or creative execs, you run the risk of them not having seen the film(s) you are citing! Don't laugh. No one wants to appear stupid or uninformed in Hollywood. Egos being the way they are, a greenhorn 23-year old "creative exec" would rather pass on your script than appear dumb to his peers.
Once when I listed a script with InkTip, the interest was scant to say the least. Then I changed the logline to Film X meets Film Y and the hits really escalated. I did make sure the film titles I used were very familiar ones though. Hope this helps.
I would suggest against putting other films into your logline. The story itself should be the draw. Imagine it's a TV Guide blurb. Just enough to pique their interest.
When I read your logline I was overwhelmed by the amount of facts and descriptions. It seemed to be too much.
But as you can also see, everyone's got their own ideas. I'd suggst sticking with the TV Guide description. Just enough info to tease them with power words in an active voice.
We know what your hero is (a bounty hunter) and we know what he is going to do (rescue the kidnap victims). There is nothing unique in this premise, so I assume the difference between this story and the many others in the genre is the 'consequences of his past actions'. IMO, you need to spell out out these consequences and past actions in your logline so that whoever you are sending it to can see that you have written something more than a run-of-the-mill thriller.
You logline should be longer if that's what it takes to convey the flavor and uniqueness of your script.
As for comparing your script to other movies, it's up to you. I described my seafaring time travel adventure as HORNBLOWER meets DIE HARD, but I didn't use that in the logline, only in the letter. I got plenty of reads, but who knows if that made a difference.
You are right - as I step back and look at it, the script does have a "generic" appeal. The key, thoug, is his "past action" and how it has managed to aid in getting him into his current situation.
I'll give your suggestions some consideration and see what I can come up with. The bottom line is making the logline stand out against a field of run-of-the-mill thrillers.
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