An emotionally-stunted, apathetic playboy learns to grieve his father’s death and appreciate life from a terminally ill woman, who loves life.
I think the concept has promise but needs refocusing.? What is the visual for “appreciate life”?? Doesn’t that refer to a subjective need rather than an objective goal?
Likewise what’s the visual for “grieve his father’s death”?? He breaks down and cries?? And then what?? What is his specific objective goal after that?
Loglines are about the pursuit of objective goals, not the discovery of and catharsis of emotional needs.? An objective goal is what a protagonist consciously, intentionally, willfully strives to do or acquire.
Does any protagonist say at the end of Act 1:? “I’m going to learn to grieve my father’s death — or die trying.”? No, of course not.? And neither is he aware of his need to appreciate life at the end of Act 1.? If he is by the end of Act 1, then the dying woman has served her dramatic purpose as defined in the logline.? End of story.? So he can’t be consciously, intentionally willfully seeking to appreciate life, either.
As a result of his relationship with the dying woman, what becomes his objective goal?? What does he consciously, intentionally, willfully decide to do?? And what person, situation or object stands in the way?
dpg is right, this needs some specifics for what we’ll see on screen. ?I immediately saw the playboy having to return to his place of birth and sort his father’s affairs and being totally sidelined by the woman (his father’s nurse? maid? lover?) and her approach to life (and maybe his pre-playboy past… what made him a playboy in the first place? ?What is he covering up?)
The idea reminds me of HAROLD AND MAUDE and um, BOBBY DEERFIELD. There’s also SWEET NOVEMBER and AUTUMN IN NEW YORK. I can’t say it’s original ha.
Doesn?t that refer to a subjective need rather than an objective goal?
Do you think one should always go in with an objective goal? Is that a hard and fast rule?
A friend of mine said the same thing – that the character can’t be after something subjective like “to be with the woman he loves, etc” and it has to be concrete/objective/external like “has to get to new york or else his wife is killed”.
Certainly – external makes sense. I mean the I.I. has to be a concrete external event.
Thanks for the feedback – I do think you’re right here.
A previous logline I had around Christmas time was lacking because the protagonist had no objective goal. My friend said the same thing. And when I outlined it – it was coming out like ketchup. It really did become a convoluted mess.
It was this: Trapped in his old hometown during a snowstorm, a charming con artist must spend Christmas with a dysfunctional family ? and unexpectedly finds the family he never had.
With this in mind, what’s the objective goal in GROUNDHOG DAY? I’m trying to think of something with a subjective goal but coming up dry.
As usual, you raise some interesting questions.
Actually, I’m not fanatical that a logline can never, ever, not? now in this universe, not ever in a parallel universe? focus on a subjective throughline.? However, that it is the general rule.? And I believe that when a logline breaks that rule, it has to have a damn good reason,.
And that damn good reason is:? it’s got a great story hook.
The great story hook for Harold and Maude, the feature that made the film so popular and beloved,? was the relationship between an utterly repressed, morbid? 19 year old and a free-spirited , life affirming 79 year old woman.? Not just the contrasting temperaments, but the age gap, 60 years.? (The film is an outlier to the general rule, an original, unique reflection of the zeitgeist of that wild and crazy time.)
But as you said about the premise in your logline., “I can’t say it’s original”
Exactly.? You made my point.
Gotta have hook.
That’s my mantra, my motto, my credo.
In “Groundhog Day” Phil’s original goal is, of course, to get out of the time loop, out of town.? But when he can’t, his objective goal turns to bedding Rita.? He starts to hit on her in the 43rd minute of the film and that goal is the organizing action line for the rest of the film.
But there is nothing original about a guy trying to bed a gal. Zero, zed, nada, null.? By itself that objective goal couldn’t sell the script, green light the movie.
What is original is the situation: he’s trapped in a time loop, living the same day over and over and over. Until he gets it right.
That’s the story hook.? And that’s what got the movie made.
My apologies for a late response. Thank you for a detailed response.
Perhaps you can’t mention it in the logline. The real objective/throughline/whatever you want to call it is camouflaged? Smuggled in.
How about Citizen Kane? There Will Be Blood. I mean – both of those objectives funnel down to a subjective need. This makes me think of the two loglines dilemma. One that you use for you. And one you tart up and sell to people.
The latter you’d probably keep objective. The first one – perhaps keep in the character’s super-objective? What does he/she really want.