Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2014

Logline 148 - Egg Nog

When a lone bank robber accidentally steals fifty times as much money as he was planning for, he simultaneously becomes fabulously wealthy - and targeted by the FBI rather than local police. He knows he'll have to flee the country, but the entire point of the robbery was to fund his Christmas with his family, so he tries to elude capture until December 26. In the end, he's caught at a Christmas Eve service, but the agent pursuing him allows him to stay with his family until midnight before bringing him in. In the epilogue, he gets rich writing his autobiography while in prison.

Logline 147 - The Janitor

When a janitor overhears a murder plot at an office Christmas party - without seeing who was involved - he has to figure out who's trying to murder who before they do it and get away with it. When the police prove unhelpful, he has to navigate the office's social hierarchy himself, without looking too out of place - which is hard when you're the janitor at a white-collar party. He eventually manages to figure out who the target is, and jumps in front of the bullet meant for him, saving the man's life, and stopping the conspirators.

Logline 146 - Christmukkah

A Jewish girl who converted to Catholicism when she married doesn't fit in with her family anymore, nor does she really fit in with her husband's. During the holidays, she tries to convince her family to let her participate in Hanukkah, but they refuse, and they also refuse to have anything to do with her Christmas celebrations. Then, when her in-laws are critical of her "Christmas spirit," she tries to just call off the holidays altogether. Finally, she and her husband celebrate both holidays on their own, and start their own family traditions.

Logline 145 - The Christmas War

When the Frost Giants once again try to invade our world, only Santa and his army of elves can save us. The militaries of the world at first view both sides as hostile, but Santa manages to convince them he's on their side, and they swap secrets - Santa tells the militaries about magic, and they tell him about missiles. Together, they manage to fight back the frost giants and save the world.

Logline 144 - Enough

After losing custody of her children, an angry, lonely park ranger tries to prove to the courts that she's fit to parent her kids, in the hopes of getting to spend Christmas with them. Her efforts go from pretending she doesn't have problems, to hiding her problems, and finally, after missing one Christmas with them, to actually trying to fix her problems. While her efforts don't end up having any effect legally, after all of the effort she goes through to improve herself as a person, her ex-husband ends up inviting her to spend Christmas with him and the kids anyway.

Weekly Theme: Christmas

Sorry, still working on getting back into the swing of scheduling my posts in advance... or at least getting them out on time.

This week's theme is Christmas, whether that means Christmas movies like Die Hard, or movies just coincidentally set at Christmastime, like It's a Wonderful Life.

Logline 143 - Supernatural Disaster

When the daughter of a fake psychic receives a vision of a calamity, she struggles not only with whether or not her vision was real, but if her dad was really faking it or not. She tries to develop her "abilities," though unsure if they really exist, and investigates the likelihood of her foreseen disaster occurring. She finally decides that it is real, her father wasn't faking it, and manages to save the lives of hundreds - though her father dies in the rescue effort.

Logline 142 - The Comet

When a strange comet passes between Earth and the Moon, the leader of a cult pretends the phenomenon is a sign of the end times, growing his cult exponentially. But when strange, unnatural things start happening, he starts to fear that he's right, and uses his cult to try to stave off the end times. Eventually, when the comet passes and the Earth is none the worse for wear, he's left to wonder if he stopped the apocalypse, or if there never really was one.

Logline 141 - Big Buddha

A sports reporter interviews a former mixed martial arts champion who retired to a Buddhist monastery, trying to discover why he left fame and fortune for obscurity in a foreign country. He shares the story of how he had grown bored of his victories, and was intrigued by the some what exotic claims of the monks, who used martial arts not for combat, but for enlightenment. As he explains his journey from skepticism to belief, the reporter finds herself pulled down the same path.

Cutting down and opening up

As long as I'm making changes, I'm going to try cutting back to a 3-page treatment every two weeks, and let myself pick from any of my loglines, ever (and choose from any 3-page when writing a 10-page, etc.). 
The first change will, I think, do a lot to improve the quality of my 3-pagers without cutting back on actual productivity too much (half as many 3-pages, sure, but same amount of everything else (for now)). And then the second change will make up for the lesser selection that cutting back will cause.
Whatever, I'm just kind of feeling around. We'll see what works.

Logline 140 - Disappearing Act

When a street magician figures out how to actually make things disappear, she gets involved in everything from petty theft to kidnapping in her quest to master her new skill, with an ultimate goal of making herself disappear to see where she goes and if she can come back.

After years of honing her skills, she attempts it, and succeeds - she disappears, never to be seen or heard from again.

Logline 139 - A Deeper Meaning

When a worn-out office drone starts seeing signs and patterns in mundane things like clouds and floral shirts, his sister initially just believes he's gone crazy. But as more and more of his predictions come true, she wonders if he's on to something.

The ultimate test of her belief comes when he tells her that unless she quits her job, her son will die; she knows that if she quits, and nothing happens, she'll never know if it was because she quit, or because nothing was going to happen.

She decides to quit, and nothing happens. She attributes that to her brother, and asks him what she should do next.

Weekly Theme: Magical Realism

This week's theme is Magical Realism, or normal settings with fantastic elements that are played off as normal. For example, Inception just sort of pretends the whole going-into-dreams thing isn't a big deal, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is about a normal person with one impossible quirk. I think you could even categorize Field of Dreams as Magical Realism.

Playing Around

Starting this week, I'm going to be experimenting with including more information in my loglines - most notably, endings. The idea is for them to be full story ideas, and less... well, loglines.

Traditionally, loglines are more of a hook than a full story idea, telling you what the story is about, but not how it goes. I'm going to be trying out telling you how a story goes.

This is going to make them longer, but I think more useful to me, especially as I'll have to be actually coming up with good ideas (or at least, complete ideas), rather than being able to stop with just a clever insinuation of an idea.

Like I said, though, I'm going to be playing around with this for a while. Maybe sometimes I'll include a logline separately, maybe sometimes I'll do a more traditional logline just longer. Maybe I'll never really settle down, and will do different formats each week, or even each logline. I'm just playing around right now.

He lives!

Hello everyone! I'm back from break, though I'm coming back a little slower than I would've liked (the holiday season kinda beat me up a little).

I know you didn't get to really see what all I was doing (mostly, a lot of reading), but I think it's really gonna pay dividends now.

The biggest change is inspired by Robert McKee; I'm thinking about adjusting how I categorize things. He breaks Stories into Sequences, Sequences into Scenes, and Scenes into Beats. So I'm thinking about breaking my things down that way too; rather than writing loglines, I'll write a Story overview, rather than a 3-page treatment I'll write a Sequence overview, rather than 10-page treatments, Scene overviews, and then screenplays will be filling in the Beats.

I don't know how big or small it's going to appear to be, the main thing is going to be the way I'm thinking about stuff, I guess? We'll see.

Anyway, I'm obviously off to a slow start this week, but …

Still on Break

I'm expanding the break at least another week, maybe two. I know you aren't seeing much benefit yet, but it's been very rewarding for me to take this time to play around with other projects, reread all of my writing books, that sort of thing.

Rest assured, though, that if it goes much longer, I will start posting something so that this isn't all just empty while you wait.

Taking some time off

It was kind of an impulsive decision, but I'm going to take some time off from my regular writing schedule. Probably just a week, but maybe more. Writing, for me, is a pretty spiritual thing, and it's been getting less so lately, so I'm taking some time off from the schedule to focus on that side of things.

The break from schedule will also free me up to play around with some other stuff I've been interested in, too, and if I write anything, you can bet I'll post it up here. I'll also probably take this time to do a little housework with the site, put all my old screenplays up here, that sort of thing.

I'll try to keep you updated with what's going on and when, but I'm not going to stress about it. That's kind of the whole point.

10-Page Treatment 5 - The White Wind

I really like how this one turned out. Like, it might be my favorite 10-page so far. It might not be, but it might be.

I had a lot of fun just reading about Inuit culture, for one thing, not that a whole lot of it made it into the story; I was afraid of getting too... gimmicky, I guess. Basically, I didn't want to half-ass a representation of Inuit culture, so I went with just setting the story in a vaguely Inuit-esque setting, sort of like how Kung Fu Panda is just in a China-esque setting. I don't know if it worked, but that was the goal.

The one thing that I'm not crazy about in this treatment is the pregnancy aspect. It feels pretty tacked-on, but I also like it too much to just cut it. I don't know. I would certainly elaborate on it in a full screenplay, but for this treatment, it doesn't contribute enough, and I probably should've cut it. Oh well.

A link to the original 3-page treatment.

And the original logline:
When an Inuit shaman's village starts st…

3-Page Treatment 24 - That Girl with Amnesia

I'm not really used to writing rom coms (is it one word? Romcom? Rom-com?), so I'm not sure how good this is. It's probably really cliche, and if it's not, it probably strays too far from genre norms. Still, I had fun writing it, and I think it came out okay!

The original logline:
When a young woman with amnesia wanders into a small town in Utah, everybody does what they can to figure out who she is and where she came from. But as time passes and she finds a place for herself in the town, they stop helping her remember, and start hoping she doesn't.


I'm just doing it

So I'm sitting here trying to cram in enough work to at least get a solid first draft of this month's quality 3-page, and I finally had enough. That's not quality. It wouldn't be close to quality. 
Quality stuff was never really supposed to be too far beyond first draft, but it was supposed to be a *good* first draft, you know? Like, not one that you've pumped out, one that you've taken your time with, chewed it over, thought about for a while. So that's what I'm doing.
From now on, while I'll still be working on various Quality stuff (with a probable exception for loglines, after I get everything back to multiples of 5), I won't have any deadlines for any of it. It'll be done when it's done.

3-Page Treatment 23 - Streets of Gold

Whoops! Forgot to put this up on Saturday! Oh well, it's going up now.

This one, I don't feel like is living up to its full potential. After finishing it, I came to the conclusion that, rather than the 90-page screenplay I designed, this should totally have been the 120-page epic the logline implied. That would've been a lot more work, though, even for a 3-page treatment, so it ended up being this.

Which brings me to something that's sort of off-topic, but also relevant: I'm considering cutting Quality stuff. Mostly because, it's really not quality; it's just more quantity, and it's leading to all my other quantity stuff suffering. I think a real Quality counterpart to my system would have no time limits; it's just done when it's done. So rather than cutting it all, I may just, cut the deadlines? We'll see what happens. Just know I'm thinking about it.

Anyway, the original logline for this treatment:
The story of a Spanish conquistador wh…

Weekly Theme: Treasure Hunters

This week's theme is treasure hunters. There are a lot of great movies about treasure hunters and temple raiders, people trying to find pirate gold or legendary emeralds. This week's loglines will all be about people like Indiana Jones, Jack Sparrow, or Joan Wilder.

Logline 130 - That Girl with Amnesia

When a young woman with amnesia wanders into a small town in Utah, everybody does what they can to figure out who she is and where she came from. But as time passes and she finds a place for herself in the town, they stop helping her remember, and start hoping she doesn't.

Weekly Theme: All Alone

This week's loglines all have to do with being alone, whether it's a high school outcast struggling for acceptance, a castaway on a deserted island, or a lone conspiracy theorist who's the only one who sees what's really happening.

3-Page Treatment 22 - Queen of Air and Darkness

This week's treatment was rough. I think it was the intrigue of it. I had to figure out three different characters' plots and plans and how they interacted with each other. I'm sure I could've done it better, but I think it came out okay for only a week's worth of time.

But yeah no, this treatment in particular could've benefited from more time. But them's the breaks, and like I said, it came out okay. I'm not ashamed of it or anything, and it definitely came out a lot better than it would've twenty-two weeks ago!

The original logline:A young human woman, kidnapped as an infant and raised by fairies, maneuvers in the fairy courts in a bid to take the throne of a fairy queen.

Logline 121 - The Envoy

When the new queen finds out that her predecessor humiliated and executed Genghis Khan's envoy who had come seeking peaceful trade, she personally makes the perilous journey to his court to petition him for mercy.

Weekly Theme: Distant Lands

This week's loglines will all have to do with distant lands and foreign nations, whether that just means the protagonist is somewhere far from home, or if it's about an attack from a previously unknown enemy from over the mountains.

3-Page Treatment 21 - The Rat King

This treatment is my best yet, I think. Like, maybe "best" is a little strong, but it's a strong story that's been written well. Compared to my other stuff, that is.

I consider this the real firstfruits of my new method. See for yourself, tell me what you think.

The logline:
When the members of the Virtue Squad, a superhero team, are all killed by a new supervillain, their sidekicks and powerless allies are the only ones left to stop the villain.



Logline 118 - King of the Sea

When a viking king abandons his throne to become a pirate, his son and daughter both follow suit. But when his children conspire against him and seize control of the coastline, he's forced to ally with his former kingdom to stop them.

Ranking 3 Page Treatments 18-21

So we just realized that Teddy's schedule got a little wonky due to our vacation. Whoops! So this last Saturday was supposed to be the day I ranked the Treatments again, but I knew there weren't 5 new ones yet (because he didn't do one our vacation week) so I didn't rank them. He's still figuring out how to adjust his schedules. For now, I will rank!


Treatment 18
Treatment 19
Treatment 20
Treatment 21/Quality 2

The Mantle of Power This one just didn't stand out. I think the characters were just too weak for me. I didn't get most of their motivations or relationships.
The White Wind I helped with this one! So, maybe I'm biased, but I really like it. I like the twist that the bad guy was supposed to have been the best friend. I like her becoming more spirit like through the whole treatment. I like it.
That Time of the Month The title is so punny. Oh so punny.
I really liked this one. You do definitely hear more "Teddy" in it. The only downside is, i…

10-Page Treatment 4 - Mars or Bust

Oh man! Number four. On Monday I start my first screenplay. Well, I mean, fourth screenplay, but first screenplay from this writing plan! Exciting!

As for this treatment, it's short, but I think that's because it doesn't need to be longer, and not because I'm, like, lazy. I really like how it turned out, but if I choose it to turn into a screenplay,* I'm going to want to brush up on NASA and space and that sort of thing. It's definitely a kids' movie, so I don't have to be Hard Sci-Fi accurate, but I'd like to make something that people who know NASA would enjoy, rather than roll their eyes at.

On that note, I'm worried the Sally and Petunia subplot is a little off. Having never been to public school, all of my knowledge is based off of hearsay and movies, so I suspect that part of the world will end up a little cliche if I'm not careful.

All in all, though, like I said, I like it.

The original logline:
When a 12-year-old girl invents a propu…

Quality 3-Page Treatment 2 - In the Line of Fire

I'm not very good at bowling. I never have been. When I was younger, I didn't even know how to throw the ball. I'd use two hands and rock it between my legs, like throwing a basketball granny style. I got good enough with it that I could pretty consistently score in the 90s.

Then, when I learned the proper way to throw a bowling ball, my scores dropped even lower, because I was so unfamiliar with how to do it. It felt like I was going backwards, but once I got used to it, I was able to consistently score over 100. Not a huge jump, but a jump nonetheless.
(Full disclosure, I haven't been bowling in years now, and would probably be lucky to get a 70). 
With this treatment - and the Quantity one, but especially with this one - I feel like I'm learning how to do things properly, and it's hurting my game for the moment. I switched up my normal style two, two and a half times while writing this treatment, and it definitely suffered for it. 
But at the same time, ther…

3-Page Treatment 20 - That Time of the Month

This treatment is the first one I wrote entirely trying a new method of outlining, and I think it's clear that I'm still figuring things out. That said - and while maybe this sounds a little arrogant? - I really love how much of my voice was able to come through in the treatment. Which is to say, any.

I'm not normally one to say extensive outline strangles creativity, but in my case, it definitely has hampered my voice. By "voice," here, I mean a writer's unique way of phrasing and explaining things. I'm not experienced enough to have a strong voice, but I feel like everything I wrote before came off as vaguely clinical, whereas this definitely is more "Teddy."

So hopefully in the future I'll be able to develop that more, while still getting the structural quality of my earlier treatments.

The original logline:
An adopted Canadian girl discovers she's a werewolf, and goes on a quest among the supernatural community to find out about her h…

Supervillainy

Yeah, so, the mob doesn't count as having superpowers in today's logline. But I'm allowing it, on the basis of it still fitting the feeling of "Weak person against overwhelming odds."

So there.

Delaying the 10-Page Quality Treatment

I'm not one to let myself off the hook when the entire point of this blog is to, you know, put myself on the hook. However, I very much am someone who's into round numbers and simple patterns. I started with the whole Quality kick in the middle of things, so it's not all quite as round as I'd like, and the timing is weird with the 10-Page Treatments.

Next week, I'll be starting work on my first screenplay based off of one of my 10-Page Treatments. I'll work on that for four months. But one month from next week, I'm scheduled to finish my first Quality 10-Page Treatment and start my second, which also is worked on for four months. And I'd like those two four-month cycles to fit together better, basically.

I could move things up and finish the 10-Page treatment this week, but it's just not ready. Delaying it an extra three months to make it match up with the the Quantity first drafts seems a little excessive, too. So I've decided I'm instead g…

Weekly Theme: Supervillains

This week's theme is supervillains. Specifically, supervillains without superheroes. Movies where the bad guy is magic, and the protagonist has to stop him without any magic of her own - or at least, the movie is about her trying to get the magic to fight the bad guy. I'm okay with there being a superhero at the end. But only at the end.

3-Page Treatment 19 - The White Wind

I really like how this one turned out. It still could've benefited from another day or two of work, but this is already one of my longer 3-page treatments, so that work would've actually been polishing, rather than adding content. Which is cool! I feel like that means I'm getting better at writing quickly.

I think part of it is that I've started outlining less? Which is interesting to me. Maybe I'll write a post about it sometime.

Anyway, the original logline:
When an Inuit shaman's village starts starving to death, she goes on a spiritual quest to discover the source of their misfortune, and to reverse it.


Weekly Theme: Animals

This week's theme is animals. Whether it's some animated children's movie with talking animals; a grim, Planet of the Apes style sci-fi; or one of those movies about a dog that dies at the end; animals will all feature prominently.

3-Page Treatment 18 - The Mantle of Power

This treatment is weird.

It's not bad! It's good. Well, I think it's good. But whereas my treatments in the past have been written kind of (kind of) like a very short story, this one reads a little bit like a list of bullet points. And that's probably because it was written as a list of bullet points.

I was working full-time again this week, you see, so I knew I needed to try something different to make sure this week's treatment wasn't so... well, bad. Given that the biggest problem with last week's treatment was the basic structure, I wanted to focus on structure and basic plot for this week. So, I made a bigger outline than normal, and pretty much just kept stretching it until it was a full treatment.

So while the core idea itself is solid, the treatment itself isn't as casual a read as most of the others. I don't think that's an inherently bad thing - it could even be a good thing, and I'll probably fool around with this method of writin…

Logline Rankings 91-96

This week, my pick is:

The Mantle of Power
When a street urchin stumbles upon a wizard's mantle of unparalleled power, she uses it to force her way to the top of the social ladder. But when dozens of power-hungry sorcerers come seeking the mantle, she has to fight to keep it - and try not to destroy the city in the process.

Magic is most interesting when it clashes with our rational world, and this logline has a lot of interesting moving parts. You have our hero, who we want to see succeed because undoubtedly she's been spat on and discounted her whole life; you have the mantle itself, which suddenly changes her entire world and now she becomes top dog (and we can probably assume that some of the power will go to her head and she might make a bad decision or two); and then you have these other sorcerers who, even if they're not as powerful as she is, they're certainly more learned in the magical arts.

This idea has a good amount of conflict, and everybody loves a good u…

3-Page Treatment 17 - Exit Stage Left

I'm not going to sugarcoat this: This treatment sucks.

I took on some temp work this week,  but even though it's temporary, it's full-time, and so I just plain didn't put in the time this treatment needed. I really wanted to not post it, but that would ruin the entire point of this blog, so.

I'll be working full-time next week, too, but after a treatment like this, you can be certain that I'll be putting devoting more off-time to writing next week's treatment.

It's sad, too, because I feel like this one could be really fun with more effort. Oh well. Hopefully I'll read this in a couple days and realize it's not as bad as my sleep-addled brain is telling me it is! Right? Right?

For reference, the logline:
After being dropped by her agent and kicked out of her apartment, a wannabe actress takes a job as a hitman, and turns out to be pretty good at it.


Logline 96 - Kamikaze

When the Mongol hordes threaten to overwhelm Japan, the sorceress who broke the storm god Raijin's heart is the only one who can convince him to save Japan. But in order to do that, she has to get to him before the Mongols do.

Ranking 3 Page Treatments 13-17

So apparently I get to pick two this time! One for Quantity and one for Quality. I feel like that makes things easier because I really liked this batch and would have had a hard time picking just one. Good job husband! Also, you are a mean, mean husband who makes my job too difficult...

Treatment 13
Treatment 14
Treatment 15
Treatment 16
Treatment 17


Black Magic Grandma This one is a good deal better than his first attempt at comedy, I'd say. I also really like the concept, and I think he did a good job of fleshing it out. But, I don't think it is making it into the top two. There some others I like a lot, you see.

The Chosen One I think this one is lacking motivation. Why is Gunda determined to fulfill the prophecy even though her parents don't want her to? Why don't her parents want her to? Where was the tension there? What makes the king or Qirsh an exception that actually wants to help? And was Gunda always ok with tyrants and becoming one? There just wasn't enough …

Logline 92 - The Mantle of Power

When a street urchin stumbles upon a wizard's mantle of unparalleled power, she uses it to force her way to the top of the social ladder. But when dozens of power-hungry sorcerers come seeking the mantle, she has to fight to keep it - and try not to destroy the city in the process.

Logline 91 - Rainbringer

After her entire family dies of starvation during a famine, a shaman summons and kills the spirit who had been withholding the rain, and takes the power of rain for herself. She finds, though, that these powers come with responsibilities - such as taking the spirit's place as a soldier in an upcoming war.

Weekly Theme: Epic Fantasy

Last week (well, two weeks ago) I did low-budget loglines, so this week I'm going to let myself splurge a little on the highest-budget movies around: epic fantasy! Note that "high budget" isn't the goal, here, so I'll allow myself to include not-quite-so-high-budget things, like modern fantasy, as long as it's still appropriately epic.

10-Page Treatment 3 - Adversary

The first thing you should notice here is that I'm officially bumping the page length down to 10 pages. After three treatments, all of which are in the 10-page range, I decided to embrace that rather than try to, apparently, completely change what I was trying to do.

Also, as long as we're talking about structure rather than content, I've been thinking it may be good to break up the 10-pagers somehow. Not, like, into chapters or anything. But maybe into acts? I don't know. It's just a lot of text to assume someone would read in one sitting on the internet. I'll think about it for the next one.

As for the treatment itself, I like it. I think it's the first of the 10-page treatments that I can say that without any reservations. I really like the way it came out. I still haven't picked a single protagonist, but if/when I do, it just means I'll have plenty of B-plot material. 
The logline: In ancient times, a pair of prisoners from different cultures cod…

3-Page Treatment 17 - The Lesser of Two Evils

This one wound up more interesting than I think I was expecting it to. I suspect part of that has to do with the way that I made magic inherently evil, fitting with the colonial New England setting. I don't know that I'd been expecting to write it that way when I started, and it's always fun when your writing surprises you. Typically it's the characters that do that, but apparently the setting is capable of it, too.

Here's the logline:
When a town falls under a dreadful curse, the local witch has to find the source of the curse before the town decides she's to blame and hangs her.


3-Page Treatment 16 - Mars or Bust

This week, Micah made exactly my choice, with Mars or Bust. I loved the idea as soon as I wrote it down, and I  loved it the entire time I was working on it. I don't know why, but I really enjoy... I don't even know what to call this genre. Imagination sci-fantasy. Like, kid books but taken the whole nine yards.

Basically, I just really enjoy the idea of a 12-year-old girl actually inventing a new type of spaceship.

Here's the logline:
When a 12-year-old girl invents a propulsion and landing system that will allow NASA to go to Mars, she refuses to sell it unless she'll be on the first ship there. 


On the difference between being fat and being big-boned

Yesterday's logline, To Live For, is big. Like, really big. Still technically only two sentences, but they're long ones, and at least one of them is kind of a run-on. I try to keep my loglines short; the vast majority are only two or three lines (on my screen, as things are currently formatted), but there are the occasional four-liners. I think a six-liner - like To Live For - is unprecedented, though. 

What gives? Did I just get lazy that day?

It's true, that is often the case for my longer loglines. Technically it's not laziness, but occasionally I'll have been working on a logline for half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, and I've got other things to do, so I just have to make do with one that's too long or has too much unnecessary information. 

But that's not the case for To Live For. It's just a big logline, and I can't make it any shorter without making it worse. It's not bloated. It's just big.

So what's the difference? How do I tell wh…

Logline 86 - In the Line of Fire

After shooting and killing his own son in the line of duty, a Chicago beat cop has to decide whether he was doing the right thing - and that his son was a dangerous criminal - or that his son wasn't doing anything wrong - and that he himself was.

Logline 85 - To Live For

When her best friend, boyfriend, and twin sister all die in a car accident, an accomplished high school student joins a suicide club, and goes on a camping trip with them. Though the original intent is to jump off of a cliff after a weekend of relaxation, when she finds out the relatively petty reasons some of them want to kill themselves, she tries to convince the other members of the group that they should live - without convincing herself of the same thing.

3-Page Treatment 15 - Twice in the Same Stream

This treatment really supports having people other than myself picking the best loglines and treatments, because I really don't think I would've picked this logline, and I really like what it turned into. I am a bit afraid that, if not handled correctly, it could become a bit preachy, or at least navel-gazey, but the idea itself came out pretty well, I think. Thanks, Micah!

For reference, the logline is:
When something goes wrong with the first test of a ship capable of flying at relativistic speeds, the pilot returns to an Earth inhabited entirely by robots, centuries after humanity has died out.


Logline 81 - Kill Hitler

An eccentric billionaire finances a young scientific prodigy's attempt to build a time machine, on the condition that he be the first person to use it. The scientist has to unearth the billionaire's motives before she finishes the machine, lest he do something unethical or dangerous.

3-Page Treatment 14 - The Chosen One

Bah. I'm not pleased with this treatment. This was the first time I really felt like I just didn't have enough time to work on it. Though that's mainly because I had to go through several iterations before I figured out how I wanted to structure it. Was the twist a surprise ending? Was that the Ordeal in the middle of the story? Maybe it actually comes pretty early? And then is the Chosen One the protagonist the entire time, or is it someone close to her? Do they become enemies?

Most of the time, I finish a treatment on Wednesday or so, and then spend Thursday and Friday polishing it, or sometimes even just ignoring it and working on other things. This time, I spent probably two, two and a half hours on Friday - as much time as the treatments normally get in a week - redoing the entire second and third acts.

So the moral of the story is, this one is not incredible, and is very unpolished. But it's posted, dagnabbit, and it's not awful, either.

The logline it's …

Logline Rankings #73-78

This week's loglines center around what I think is one of the most interesting themes to explore: what makes us human? The cult classic Blade Runner is a great example of this theme done well. A lot of these loglines are quite interesting and strong concepts, but the two that jumped out at me the most are:

The Human Element
A young doctor replaces more and more of her body with cybernetics, in an effort to become a robot. Her decreasing humanity worries her superiors, peers, and patients alike, even as it allows her to perform her job better and better.

Twice Into the Same Stream
When something goes wrong with the first test of a ship capable of flying at relativistic speeds, the pilot returns to an Earth inhabited entirely by robots, centuries after humanity has died out.

The first one better exemplifies the question of what makes us human. But the second one is, I think, a more interesting story with lots of potential. It has a bit of a Planet of the Apes thing going on, as well a…

Logline 76 - The Computer

A company hires a computer genius to develop a sophisticated AI to govern its finances. But when the AI unexpectedly starts showing signs of self-awareness - and more troublingly for the company, ethics - its creator has to fight to stop the company from destroying it.

Logline 74 - NPC

When a game programmer accidentally creates true AI for one of his games, he struggles with whether or not he should release the game, given that the game itself is capable of suffering.

3-Page Treatment 13 - Black Magic Grandma

Whoops! Got the date wrong for the scheduling of this, so it's showing up now instead of Saturday. You'll also note that the logline ranking still isn't up; I'll get that one up as soon as I can, too.

 ---

I don't normally think of myself as a comedic writer, so I was kind of glad that Micah picked this logline, and forced me to stretch those muscles. I think it ended up pretty funny, although who knows if that'd come through in an actual screenplay; I suspect I wouldn't be able to keep the humor up for that long, and I'd probably end up making it more of a tragicomedy or dramedy or something.

For reference, here's the logline:
A pair of empty-nesters get into black magic and witchcraft as a way to pass the time; but when they accidentally curse a neighbor to death, they have to find a way to break the curse before it can come to pass.


Logline 73 - The Human Element

A young doctor replaces more and more of her body with cybernetics, in an effort to become a robot. Her decreasing humanity worries her superiors, peers, and patients alike, even as it allows her to perform her job better and better.

Fractals and Structure

Something that not only interests me about writing, but also serves as a helpful tool, is the idea of writing structure is a fractal. Fractals are actually (from what I understand) pretty complicated, but the way I'll be using the term is simple: a fractal is a structure which looks the same at every level of magnification.
So what do I mean by saying writing structure is a fractal? I'm referring, of course, to our old friend the three-act structure. I know I've railed on it a little in the past, but that's more to do with how it's been used, rather than what it is.

Logline 72 - City Mouse, Country Mule

A city girl, sent to stay with her rural grandparents, finds herself simultaneously falling for the preacher's virtuous son, and the local bad boy. As she's drawn into each of their worlds, she finds she's just as good at memorizing Bible verses as she is at selling drugs.

Logline 68 - The Chosen One

A young girl, prophesied to defeat the evil wizard, is trained to fulfill her destiny. But when she kills the wizard, rather than restoring peace to the land, she decides to take power for herself - leading to massive civil war.

Weekly Theme: Subverted Clichés

This week, the idea is going to be to take cliché plots and hopefully tweak them into something creative again. I say "hopefully" because I'm afraid I'll really just end up smooshing two clichés together to make one megacliché. We'll see what happens!

Best Logline #61-66

This week's concepts are pretty interesting because it's an attempt to make something that's wild and mysterious (magic) into something a little more mundane. Personally, I like this approach from things; I enjoy seeing the huge wizard battles for the fate of the universe, but I also like to take the concept of something like witches and magic to its logical counterparts: what about the janitor who gets magical powers? How does this affect everyday life?

That being said, my favorite of this week's loglines is:

Black Magic Grandma
A pair of empty-nesters get into black magic and witchcraft as a way to pass the time; but when they accidentally curse a neighbor to death, they have to find a way to break the curse before it can come to pass.

I see this as a hilarious and creative dark comedy. I say comedy because of the mundane situation: two bored, older people decide to find a hobby to kill time, and that just so happens to be the dark arts. One of the things that makes t…

20-Page Treatment 2 - Edge of the Universe

I don't like consistently denigrating myself here, but I'm not crazy about this treatment. However, I'm willing to give myself a pass because it's at least as good as the last outline, and whereas the last one took me, what, six or seven weeks? This one I did in two, to kind of adjust the schedule I'm pumping these out in. So for two weeks, I think it's pretty good. Hopefully, the next one is twice as good!
Here's a link to the 3-page treatment this is based on, and here's the logline: A manned mission sent to explore the edges of the observable universe finds a primitive human colony, farther away than it should be possible for them to be. When their ship breaks down in orbit, they're forced to solve the mystery in order to return home.

Treatment 12 - Street Justice

I never did think of a better name. Oh well.
This one turned out short, but I think that's because it's a short movie. Or at least a simple one. I couldn't think of any ways to make it longer that weren't just meaningless padding.
I do like it, though, I like how it came out. It feels like it'd be fun to write. Probably because it was fun to write. Whatever.
The logline it's based off of: A police investigator wants to apprehend a vigilante superhero who's been cleaning up the streets, but sometimes killing people in the process.