I took part in a screenwriting tips webinar a few weeks ago and from that I was contacted by a literary agent asking me to submit a treatment for a screenplay I’m working on and the one I partly discussed in the webinar. It’s a romantic comedy and it feels right but I’m having trouble coming up with a punchy logline. This is what I have right now:
“A little white lie brings a consummate “nice guy” all the material things he’s wanted but pushes him further from his need to be needed. Can ‘wants’ ever compensate for ‘needs’?”
But it doesn’t seem punchy enough and I would appreciate some suggestions from some of you talented writers out there. Here are some details about the screenplay:
Anthony, a staff reporter for a small city newspaper, is the kind of guy that always follows the path of least resistance and even though he always felt that he was taken for granted he continued on just to be part of something. He needs to be needed and feel wanted and not getting that leaves him to feel like his life is falling apart. He’s nowhere near where he thought he would be by now and can’t see the good things he has going for him. His longtime girlfriend recently left him because he wasn’t good enough, attractive enough, or ambitious enough for her? But he has the support of his family, friends and co-workers. His career has stagnated and he is presented an opportunity to advance with a more prestigious position, but will it win back his ex? Does he really want her back? He longs to be successful and be recognized for his talents as a writer and a screenwriter, something his ex could never recognize. He sees some light with Samantha, an old school friend who has been away for many years and is now his new boss, but she’s involved with his long time nemesis. Samantha is not the same little girl Anthony use to know, she’s a beautiful and successful woman that becomes his possible love interest.
His life seems to takes a turn for the better after he traps himself with a little white lie. Tired of always being second best, Anthony lets his nemesis believe that he is in talks with a big Hollywood producer to sell his non-existing script. His little white lie takes on a life of its own when his support and possible love interest feed him with the praise that he was in desperate need of. The real hijinks ensue when two highly competitive Hollywood producers try to out flank each other to get their hands on the non-existing script. Their hijinks is fueled by rumors and innuendo created by Anthony’s little lie. Samantha helps bring Anthony out of his funk and just when the possible love interest becomes more than a possibility, Anthony decides to come clean with her about his non existing script but she doesn’t react in the way that he had hoped. And then the ex-girlfriend comes back into the picture.
Anthony soon realizes that he wasn’t the problem in the relationship with his ex, she was never the right person for him and he has to make things right with Samantha before it’s too late. He has to finish the script to get back in her good graces and to also finally beat his nemesis at something. Anthony is no hero but he is not going to settle for second best any longer. It’s time for him to realize that there is no greener grass than that in his own front yard.
Okay, so a logline must present:
Who the story is about (the protagonist) (in my logline this is the ‘consummate nice guy’)
What he strives for (the goal) (in my logline this is the need to be needed)
What stands in his way (antagonistic force) (in my logline this is the ‘little white lie’)
How can my logline be improved?
I'd never even heard the phrase 'logline' before reading this post so I have no idea if this will be any help or not.
I'm assuming you need something pretty short - 1 or 2 lines at most so you're not trying to give a condensed version of the story - more something that will make people want to know more.
I'm not keen on the word 'consummate', it feels like too 'big' a word for this sort of thing. I read the synopsis and to me it told of a bloke who is fed up with where he is, tries to get one over on someone (his nemesis) and ends up in a heap of trouble - the question is what he's prepared to do to get out of it i.e. own up to Samantha etc .... so ... my 2 pence worth is as follows:
'Dreaming big leaves wannabe writer Anthony paying a high price for a little white lie. He'll have to work hard to get what he wants ~ even harder to realise what he needs'
Probably rubbish, and you've probably got it sorted by now but it was a nice little distraction for my afternoon.
Good luck with the whole thing - sounds exciting
I'll take your 2 pence worth... it was a good assessment of the synopsis I provided. Mainstream society has little sympathy for 'writers' as they tend to view writing as a 'make believe' job so the adjective 'writer' will probably throw a few readers off. Also, character names are pretty much meaningless at this stage so they're not normally in the logline unless the story is about someone famous.
Dreaming big leaves a recently dumped 'nice guy' paying a high price for a little white lie. He'll have to work hard to get what he wants - even harder to realize what he needs.
I like that. Thanks cre8tive.
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