REDHEADSOLDIER

Logline of the Day #39: Dinosaur Noir

When a humanoid dinosaur stows away on a hijacked spaceship, he must claw his way through furtive government operatives, illegal information cyborgs, and deadly space vikings to uncover the wreckage—and truth—behind his wife’s tragic disappearance.

(Spoiler: She died in space because of reasons.)

Pitching mysteries in logline form is tricky, because when you pitch it, you always have to add on a lame sentence at the end that explains the mystery to a producer/reader, and you have to add that lame sentence on the end because the solution to the mystery can make or break the story, and it’s important if you’re asking people to help make your story into a film that they know what the heck is going on.

Mysteries, or Whydunnits, ask the question of human morality. What interesting pathologies can be explored in a mystery? What dark caverns of the human (or non-human) heart can we unlock through our mysteries? While the Final Door (solution to the mystery) doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, it should at least stretch the mind of the “detective” of the story.

Good luck, detectives. Don’t forget to stain your rabbit tail.

Here’s a picture of a crouton I ate shortly after taking its photo. It resembles a kernel of corn.

Here’s a picture of a crouton I ate shortly after taking its photo. It resembles a kernel of corn.

Hey guys, look! It’s Photoshop IRL. #Photoshop #sukkot

Hey guys, look! It’s Photoshop IRL. #Photoshop #sukkot

Mega Bummer

I just want to art, but I feel like there’s no time to art, not when things are so lame around here.

Yeah, buddy! My mum’s helping me keep Torah! #bestmum #onetorah

Yeah, buddy! My mum’s helping me keep Torah! #bestmum #onetorah

Sent by my mum to torture me for not coming to the fair, but she says: “What do you want?”
#bestmum #messianic #dothefair #didntdothefair

Sent by my mum to torture me for not coming to the fair, but she says: “What do you want?”
#bestmum #messianic #dothefair #didntdothefair

Logline of the Day #38

When an intriguing would-be damsel-in-distress gets captured and wrapped up in ropes and thrown onto train tracks by the world’s most cliché villain (mustache and everything) she must use the combat knife she has hidden in her hand to cut her way out before she’s rescued by a hero who is way more interested in how he looks than anything else.

It may seem cliché at first, but this classic scenario (the real one, not the parody above) is a very simple example of how to keep an audience captivated. You have a character or group that the audience has emotionally invested in and with whom they have an interest as to what happens to them. Then you must put that character or group of characters in danger, be it physical or emotional.

In the parody above, the physical danger is the train and the crazy villain. The emotional danger is our heroine feeling beholden to such silly people, which motivates her to free herself, or perhaps she hates the people around her and can’t stand the thought of being touched by them. Her solution, cutting the ropes herself, is more of a first and second act type rescue. In stories, no protagonist is ever alone by the third act. Someone or something has always impacted them to make a change by the third act, and  that change manifests itself by freeing or assisting our protagonist out of physical and emotional danger. So if the situation above happens to be a third act rescue, then our heroine has made some change inspired by something or someone over the course of the second act.

Without danger, there is no story.

http://writerlyn.tumblr.com/post/97196310290/writerlyn-needstosortoutpriorities

writerlyn:

needstosortoutpriorities:

writerlyn:

Having all of the sudden random feels about screenwriting structure.

*sigh*

Talk to us about screenwriting structure? :) :) :) (Unless you’re busy or writing, in which case CARRY ON!)

OKAY THEN!

I was just thinking of all the different ways you can structure a screenplay, and yet they all functionally end up in the same general form, and the form makes sense.  It makes beautiful sense.

Like, okay. I was first taught on the number method.  The 17-30-45-60-75-90 method.  The core behind this idea is that things happen at that those page numbers in every movie.  At page 17, you generally get a single line that describes the core of the movie (easiest example: “Serenity” we get the line “Lets be bad guys” and then they go on and cause major disruption.) at 30, you get the main character leaving their comfort zone, or starting their journey. At 45, they encounter their first difficulty or minor setback. At 60 the main character turns active. At 75 it’s the descent into darkness.  At 90 it’s the dark point, where you feel that there is no redemption.

So yeah.  Formulaic, but simple.  Covers a large portion of the films out there. Is amazing because there’s room for innocence, there’s room for despair, there’s room for trying to find the right way to do things.  There’s room, there are places for the character to grow. Is also amazing cause it’s mostly a non-genre restrictive way of outline. It provides a way for audiences to follow the structure without thinking of it, so they just get the story.

And it follows the hero’s journey. Whoops.

And then I got into grad school and there’s the sequence method.  Where a film is roughly divided into 8 sequences, and prescribed things happen in those sequences. Like how the first sequence is setting up the world, the second is things start to go wrong, the third is they set out and have to make up a “map” or plan, the fourth is their first attempt, the fifth is the main attempt and the getting to know you, the sixth is further on the main attempt, the seventh is the descent into darkness, and the eighth is the false ending to the end.

Its fantastic because it says what people should be doing between the big plot events.  They’re planning a way to go about their quest.  They’re getting to know each other.  They’re making an effort.  It’s fantastic.

And whoops, it fits up with the number method.  It’s a different way at looking at it, but it fits the method.

And the hero’s journey.

And then you get into other stuff, like plot point outlining, where the idea that your film has two main plot points that change the course of the script, with a middle point directly in between those.

Lo and behold, the two main plot points hit at roughly 30 and 90.  Which is when the characters leave what they are familiar with and when all hope is lost.  And the middle point is at 60 where…characters go active.

Whoops.

And just all these different ways, all these different methods, just all hark back to having your character go on a journey, and how modern audiences perceive that.  And I dunno, I might be a geek, but I find it all sorts of wonderful.  It gives us an emotional shorthand to how we watch our movies, and how we understand them.

And then when you break this structure, it’s also not a bad thing! It’s putting giant neon letters saying “LOOK AT THIS! LOOK AT HOW IT’S DIFFERENT!” and our brains just pay attention, because its now outside of the given structure we are used to when it comes to stories. (Best example for this, Lorenzo’s Oil.  Also, most depressing example to ever bring up.) (Seriously we had to watch it to pick out the structure and trying to find the dark point in that movie is impossible.) (Hint it’s not when the father falls down the stairs crying in grief.) (OR IS IT)

Or when they break the structure it’s doing something different.  Like South by Southwest, with it’s extra freaking sequence.

Or the grand epics, which are structured around simply a BEFORE and an AFTER.  Like the 10 Commandments.  Or Ben Hur.

Basically, for a TL;DR, screenwriting structure has given our brains an emotional shorthand for comprehending stories AND I THINK THAT’S BEAUTIFUL.

No. It is YOU who are beautiful. (For writing all that.)

[story theory geekage reaching maximum intensity]

Films Then that are Cool Now
The Wrong Box (1966)
The last man standing inherits an enormous pot of money. Mistaken cadavers, seductive ankles, and high-quality British wit and timing make this retro period piece an excellent watch.

Films Then that are Cool Now

The Wrong Box (1966)

The last man standing inherits an enormous pot of money. Mistaken cadavers, seductive ankles, and high-quality British wit and timing make this retro period piece an excellent watch.