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Showing posts from May, 2014

Treatment 3

Alright, tried out a different outlining process for this treatment, and I think it came out a lot better.

For reference, here's the logline I started with:

When a neuroscientist accidentally unlocks the brain's hidden psychic potential, she's thrilled. But when her test subject goes crazy and starts killing people, she's the only one with the ability to stop him.

Read the treatment after the jump.

Logline 20

When psychic police are somehow unable to predict and stop a number of political assassinations, their top operative is tasked with figuring out how the assassins are evading psychic detection.

Logline 19

A young city watchman in a magical city is the only one who believes a convicted sorcerer's claims of innocence, and thus is the only one willing to continue investigating the murders he was accused of.

Logline 18

The four survivors of an evil sorcerer's siege on a city are put under an enchantment forcing them to tell everyone the destruction they witnessed. However, they subvert their geas, and establish a resistance as they go.

Logline 17

In ancient China, a childless Kung Fu master bucks tradition by training a young girl - who upsets everyone even more by beating all challengers.

Ranking Loglines 11-15

This is the week where I officially gave up on fighting my instincts, it seems. Whereas before I tried to come up with smaller, low-budget loglines, these are pretty much all big-budget sci-fi or fantasy - with one exception that is still a pretty massive movie. I'm not giving up forever; I'm going to be trying to throw in a few here or there. But yeah no, this is apparently who I am.
One thing to note, though, that I'm changing about the format is I'm not going to be judging quadrants of a logline anymore. It's kind of ill-defined how something appeals to a given quadrant, and trying to nail it down feels pretty sexist. I dunno. Maybe I bring back some other sort of "Who does this movie appeal to" metric later, but until I know how to do it right, I'm scrapping it.

Logline 16

The true heir of a great kingdom, content to live in quiet obscurity after his throne was stolen from him, seeks to reclaim his rightful place when the false king's tyranny presses the people too hard.

Treatment 2

Here's my next treatment. It's not very polished - maybe even less polished than the last one - but it does have a beginning, middle, and an end, so I can't really justify not posting it. I'd like to say I'll come back and polish it later, but unless I use this to make a step outline, I know I won't. I will try to get my treatment next week a little cleaner.

Logline 15

In the year 1000, a pair of Inuit siblings out fishing get captured by vikings brought back to Norway. Once there, they have to figure out how to integrate with these complete foreigners, or how to get back home.

Logline 14

In a future where 90% of humanity has been killed by global pandemic, the few dozen survivors of Washington D.C. find an alien ship intending to colonize our planet. They have to decide whether the aliens are dangerous - or their only hope of survival.

Logline 13

A reporter who's secretly a hedge witch is the only one who recognizes the signs of black magic in a recent string of murders, and so she knows she's the only one who can stop them.

The creation of Logline 12

So, today's logline went through more revision than most, so I thought it might be fun to dissect the changes I made, so you (and I) can better understand my process.

The intial "logline" went like this:

When a high school math teacher helps her neuroscientist husband complete a set of seemingly random numbers that keep showing up in the human brain, they're able to unlock seemingly supernatural powers with a simple surgery. When their first test subject turns into an unstable killer, they're the only ones with the ability to stop him.

My initial idea involved math a lot, so I kept a lot of that in. But once I realized this one was going to be way too long, I just embraced that, and included more information than I needed, so that I could just cut the fat and have a fleshed-out logline.
When a woman and her neuroscientist husband accidentally unlock the brain's hidden potential, they create an unstable psychic killer that only they can stop.
This is a lot bette…

Logline 12

When a neuroscientist accidentally unlocks the brain's hidden psychic potential, she's thrilled. But when her test subject goes crazy and starts killing people, she's the only one with the ability to stop him.

Logline 11

When a young super-powered woman stands up to reigning superhero Paragon of Justice due to his frequent collateral damage, she finds herself reviled as a supervillain. Rather than stopping, she embraces the role in order to stop Paragon from causing any more casualties.

Ranking Loglines 6-10

Looking at last week as a whole - not as individuals yet - I can't help but feel a little... lazy? These loglines feel a bit more creative, but also less polished than last week's. Like I was kind of pushing them aside in favor of working on the treatment, maybe. I'll have to work on that this week.

Still, they do feel more creative to me, so I'm not exactly beating myself up about it. In fact, for something like this, where it's about quantity as much as (or more than) quality, I do value better ideas over better polished ones. I don't know.

Let's get into it!

Treatment 1

Okay, so, here's my first treatment. The original thought was three pages, but, depending on spacing, this one's at least a solid 2 pages, and I don't see a need to be too strict about length.

Side note: I think I'll start doing the ranking of Loglines on Mondays, as the first day of Treatment-writing.

Anyway, the original logline that I based this off of was:

Years after marrying Prince Charming, Cinderella discovers that she owes a favor to her fairy godmother, and must repay it by killing one of her sidhe rivals.

After working on the treatment, it became something more along the lines of:

Years after marrying Prince Charming, Cinderella discovers that she owes a favor to her fairy godmother, and must repay it by saving Rapunzel from the foreboding Duke Bluebeard.

I just felt like the first one was too trendily grim, and decided to make things a little (a little) more lighthearted. I did want to hearken back to Grimm fairy tales, though, so it's still kind of dark.

Logline 10

After successfully overthrowing the evil king, a young band of revolutionaries find out that ruling a kingdom is more dangerous than rebelling against one.

Logline 9

When a street urchin finds a magical ring with a djinni inside, bound to follow his orders, he thinks he's found his way off the streets. But he soon finds himself thrust into conflict with the ring's former owner, who's willing to do anything to get it back.

Logline 7

After Syracuse is sacked, Archimedes' apprentice must recover his dead master's plans before a rival genius uses them to conquer Rome.

Ranking Loglines 1-5

Now we're at the part of the show where I look back on the week's loglines, give some thoughts on them, and pick a favorite (that will probably be the source of next week's three-page treatment).

While I'm actually not a huge fan of most of Blake Snyder's writing method, I feel like he does loglines great, so I'm going to be looking at mine in light of his three things a logline must have:

First, irony. A logline should have at least some sense of irony to hook the reader's interest.
Second, a compelling mental picture. The logline alone should put a picture of a movie in your head; you should see the dramatic potential, know all the things that could happen.
Third, a clear audience and cost. This is the trait I want to care least about, but my last few screenplays have all been on the higher side, budget-wise, and while I don't think that's inherently a bad thing, I'd like to at least cultivate an awareness of cost.

Technically, he also lists t…

Logline 5

Years after marrying Prince Charming, Cinderella discovers that she owes a favor to her fairy godmother, and must repay it by killing one of her sidhe rivals.

Logline 4

After getting away with murder on a technicality, a younggangsterstruggles to convince his family, his neighbors, and himself that he's not a bad person.

Logline 3

When the firstborn sonof the tribe's medicine mandisplays no connection to the spirits, he's forced to find his place in the tribe through other means.

Logline 2

Immediately after turning on a machine that can receive messages from the future, a young scientist must decide what to do about its message: KILL HOWARD BAILEY.

Logline 1

A high school loser fights friends, family, and her own doubts to prove that her football star brother didn't commit suicide, but was murdered.

This is yesterday's logline.

Intro

So, the idea here is simple. I'm going to post a logline a day. Well, a logline a weekday. On Saturdays I'll look back at the week and pick a favorite, maybe rank the loglines of the week, and I'm taking Sundays off.

I don't want to make any promises I'm not gonna keep, but the idea is, after the first week, to then start making one three-page treatment a week out of one of the loglines of the past week. And then after the first month, to start making a 20-page-ish step outline out of one of those, each month. In theory, I could then  build off of that and start actually writing screenplays out of those step outlines, but that's like six months away, so we'll talk about that later.

I might also occasionally post some comments about the writing process and things I'm learning, or really just about anything in general. I know this is on the internet, but I could very well see myself taking this just like a journal. We'll see what happens.