Monday, April 15, 2013

Pitch and Log Lines

Another key part of the Story Engine.

It's very important to start off by nailing down the pitch and log lines. This will help you get to the heart of your story and make sure you have something worth writing. 

A pitch and log lines are vital in pitching to everyone because you can convey all the key elements of the story very quickly and bring others into your idea. If people don't respond well when you pitch your log lines it is a good indicator that you haven't yet honed into what makes the story work. 

Log line - Pitch
Includes: title of the story (one that creates an image and in unique but easy to read)
one sentence, grabbing, that states the genre, location and type of conflict.

"Elevator Pitch"
The most sales-y way to describe your story. 
Fastest way to say it. 
Can be stated clearly in 20 seconds. 
The most concise, easiest to see, fastest to be able to tell version that still captures the cux of the story. 
Include a title that tells everything you need to know. 
Can refer to existing movies. 
Get the other person in your head and excited. 
States the genres (contextual, emotional, medium, audience, and hints at the functional genre)

See Save the Cat strikes back by Blake Snyder for more information.

Logline - Basic 
“The discipline of clearly stating what you movie is about will make the writing of that story that much better.”

finds the essence, the “grabber” 

It sells the idea.

A single sentence. 

Snyder’s basic logline template is composed of the hero (with a descriptive adjective), the antagonist (also with a descriptive adjective) and the hero’s compelling, ironic primal goal written to spark images of possibilities. 

Elements of a log line:
- a type of protagonist
- a type of antagonist
- a conflict, and..
- and open-ended question (what will happen?)
Needs of a good log line:
- irony
- a mental picture that blooms in our minds
- a sense of audience and cost, and...
- a title that “says what it is”

if your log line is too plain and not gripping then odds are your script with be too. If no one is interested in your log line. No one will read your script much less make it. 

“The discipline of clearly stating what you movie is about will make the writing of that story that much better.”

Note: the log line is often what we discover at the inciting incident. 

See Save the Cat by Blake Snyder for more information.

Logline - Enhanced or extended 

Should only be three sentences long. 

Simpler enhanced template:

On the verge of a STASIS = DEATH moment, a FLAWED PROTAGONIST, BREAKS INTO TWO; but when the MIDPOINT happens, he/she must learn the THEME STATED, before ALL IS LOST.

Extended Template:

On the verge of a STASIS = DEATH moment, a FLAWED PROTAGONIST has a CATALYST and BREAKS INTO TWO with the B STORY; but when the MIDPOINT happens, he/she must learn the THEME STATED, before ALL IS LOST, to defeat (or stop) the FLAWED ANTAGONIST from getting away with his/her plan.

The enhanced or extended logline contains all the key story elements. 

In his Save the Cat!® series, Blake Snyder identifies these as

At a Stasis=Death moment (if things don’t change, something will end or die), a flawed Protagonist (the flaw proving an obstacle to the resolution) has a Catalyst (something that happens to change the situation) and Breaks into Act Two with the B Story (the subplot or underlying foundation of the situation); however, when the Midpoint (pivotal event or crisis) happens, the protagonist MUST learn the Theme Stated (whatever is the underlying theme of the story) before All is Lost (the antagonist wins) to the flawed Antagonist (the flaw being the cause of the antagonist’s defeat).

See Save the Cat strikes back by Blake Snyder for more information.

Ingredients of a Good Premise

A good premise should be:



framed as an interesting ‘what if…?’

contains a character, a conflict and a hook

reveals a larger world

contains universal appeal

25 – 35 words max

an idea that jumps out at you

gets you passionate about the idea

in the present tense

easily understood by a 15 year old

the same as other stories but different

Many writers waste a lot of time trying to improve a story that’s not worth telling because their premise is flat. Many good and great writers suggest you create your premise before you write a story.

__________________Loglines Template_________________

Figure out the basic Elements
Catchy Title of the story that creates a feeling and “says what it is”
What other movies or stories is it like
What are most sellable aspect(s) of the story
What’s so great about the story
What is ironic about the story
What mental picture do you want to convey
Sense of audience and cost (see what you wrote for genres)

Type of protagonist (what basic adjective describes the hero)
What is the Protagonist flaw that provides an obstacle to the resolution 
Hero’s compelling, ironic primal goal
Type of antagonist (what basic adjective describes them) 
What is the antagonists flaw that will cause their defeat?
What is the antagonists “evil” plan?
How can the protagonist stop the antagonist?
Basic conflict
Basic open-ended question (what will happen?)

Stasis=Death moment (at the beginning if things don’t change, something will end or die)
Catalyst (something that happens to change the situation) 
Breaks into Act Two (step they take to pursue their goal)
Theme Stated (whatever is the underlying theme of the story) 
B Story (the subplot or underlying foundation of the situation, the theme)
Midpoint (pivotal event or crisis) 
All is Lost (the antagonist wins)

Write the Log lines
Quick Pitch:

Short Log Line:

Extended Log Line:

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