1960 (USA) Two criminals parked roadside, one black, one white, they wait for money to be picked up, but a battle of wits breaks out resulting in one being shot and the money disappearing.
Not sure if this is a summary of the whole movie or just the opening scene. Either way, why should we care when two criminals fight over money and one gets shot? Last week a similar incident occurred not far from where I live. That story received 30 seconds of air time on the local channel. What makes this story so special that it merits a two hour dramatization? However you formulate your logline, it should make the reader care enough about the particulars to want to know more.
Your logline led to a few questions in my mind:
- 1960s USA – Is there a specific reason this is stated? ?Couldn’t this be any time and any place? ?What specifically makes is a period USA piece?
- “criminals” – is a bit vague… what kind of criminals are they? ?Money from what activities?
- “one black, one white” – Is there a racial element to your story? ?If not, I don’t see the need to state their ethnicity.
- I’m don’t understand if one shot the other and took the money… but if that’s the case, the money wouldn’t just disappear, we’d know there is only one person left alive to take it (if the other is indeed killed?!) ?Which then made me think that the battle of wits is with whoever is picking the money up?
1960?s USA is an important part. ?There was racism built into society, the black guy may have some power in the relationship, but outside the car he has none. ?When he says something like ?perhaps I inherit the money?, his friend responds ?people like you don?t have rich family?.
Plus no mobile phones. ?Which means they are isolated.
They are gangster. They are picking up money for they boss.
In a nutshell – some beats.
* Car broken down.
* They begin to talk.
* They begin to talk about money going missing in the gang. Plus problems with the cops.
* The black guy begins to lay out why he would be tempted to do what they are talking about. ?This drags information out of the white guy.
* They get nasty.
We know that one guy has done something wrong. ?But we also see that the black guy has had a hard life, due to racism and everything going on. He is taking advantage of the wrongs of the white guy.
The story challenges the reader/viewer to try and answer ?is it okay for a person to do something bad to a bad person?. ??Can a person be justified in doing bad things because ?they have been treated bad themselves.?
I like the premise of your story – I also think your argument/theme posed about justified ‘badness’ and maybe levels of badness (I’m a thief but at least I’m not a murderer, I’m a murderer but at least I’m not a paedophile etc.) is a great way to generate debate and engage the audience.
I can totally see this playing out in some remote place, maybe with a derelict gas station in the background… something really raw and almost claustrophobic about it (the way Phone Booth did).
However, as yqwertz pointed out, your logline reads as a summary of a part of your script rather than as the central conflict of the entire thing. ?And, whilst we don’t have to ‘care’ about them personally, in this kind of story it may be advantageous to include some emotional hook to stop people dismissing it too easily.