THE GOOD KILL – A Blurb

A former Navy SEAL turned vigilante hitman already in the crosshairs of corrupt Russian agents finds himself in even deeper trouble after rescuing a sex trafficking victim against her will just as she is about to be delivered into the hands of an unscrupulous corporate mogul, an impetuous and dangerous man who will not be denied his purchase. . ..
Continue reading “THE GOOD KILL – A Blurb”

Birth of Loglines & Beyond | A Guest Post by Author Ann Kimbrough

Our private Facebook writers and readers group recently held its second WRITE EDIT WRITE Challenge (see the results of the first challenge here). Because my focus is on producing a short film based upon an adaptation of my short story LEAVE, I figured we might as well have a challenge focused on screenwriting. Ergo, we asked the group to submit a 25-word, or less, logline describing a WIP or produced work from a genre of their choosing.

It’s no surprise that the author who submitted the chosen response is a working screenwriter who has some serious writing chops. Author Ann Kimbrough shares her screenwriting expertise in several places on the web, all of which you can reach via her namesake website annkimbrough.com. My favorite medium of Ann’s is her youtube channel where she and other working screenwriters get together to share their knowledge of the industry. Fantastic stuff. We are very fortunate to have Ann as part of our WRITE EDIT WRITE group, and, if I may say, you are very lucky that she has written for us here an excellent post about the mystery and intrigue of writing a logline. You’re welcome. :)

Ann’s logline submission for WEW #2:

In a secret facility, a rookie female FBI analyst struggles to contain a serial killer, but her only hope is trusting a devious bombing suspect.


Birth of Loglines & Beyond
Ann Kimbrough

annkimbrough.com

Loglines are creeping into your life!

Once only used by screenwriters, all kinds of writers find the little buggers useful. The first one I ever saw was in a TV Guide. Remember those? I barely remember newspapers, even though I’ve heard they still exist. For Millennials who can’t write cursive, read clocks or relate to newspapers: a TV Guide was a paper booklet that came with the Sunday paper. It contained a schedule of all the TV shows for a week.

Psst: we’re talkin’ back in ancient times when there were only three major TV stations. I know… it’s Epically Stone Age.

The guides also contained a little blurb about each show. Those blurbs were the birth of loglines.

I imagine TV Guides still exist today, somewhere without Wi-Fi, but they must be the size of phone books. Remember those? Err… we’ll save that lesson for another time.

TV Guide blurbs looked something like this:

Kidnapped in Tasmania, MacGyver uses a banana, a piece of gum and a washing machine to make a robot and save the world.

I doubt that episode of MacGyver ever aired, but maybe it will in the re-vamped show that’s on CBS this season.

Loglines actually do two things:

1. Get your concept across ASAP.

2. Sell your story.

Screenwriters pitch their scripts all the time. In turn, if a producer likes the idea, they have to turn around and pitch it to the principals in their company before an offer to option can be made. When a script is optioned, the production company pitches it to the moneymen for funding – financiers or studios. The better the logline, the better the pitch is all the way up the line.

For novelists, loglines can be used in several ways:

  • Start a query letter
  • On a book’s Amazon page
  • On a book’s back cover
  • On any sales material to build an audience

In an age when our watches are digital instead of sundials and shoes have Velcro instead of laces, no one has time to read a whole marketing pitch. When writers can get their message across fast, they have a better chance of success.

Plenty of rules exist about what makes a logline a good logline, but I’ll keep it simple.

1. Keep it to one sentence, like my MacGuyer example. Some pundits say to make it under 25 words, but don’t go crazy if you’re at 30.

2. Tell the whole story. Protagonist fights what odds to win what battle?

3. Don’t use proper names. Use occupations with a descriptive adjective. Ex.: a wily candy creator, could be used in a logline for Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Or a deformed recluse for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

4. Write it in present tense.

5. Don’t include sub-plots. Stick to the main storyline of protagonist vs. antagonist.

6. Match the tone of your story. When Stephen King writes a logline, I’m sure it sounds scary.

7. Test the logline on friends. If they ask a bunch of questions and sound confused, then keep working. If they ooh and aah, appearing to get the story, then you may celebrate.

One caveat: a common logline error is writing a logline that you think fits your story, but makes people see a different story. Such an error will turn any reader sour when your book (or script) takes a turn they didn’t expect.

Ex. 1: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince.

Do you sense a Rapunzel story?

What if the logline should have really been:

Ex. 2: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince to sacrifice for her freedom.

Whoa! That’s a completely different story. An agent, producer or reader might want one version of that story, but not the other. Misleading them, even by accident, will hurt in the long run. Loglines that pitch the whole story lead to more success once the manuscript is read.

Avoid this mistake by testing your logline on your Beta Readers. Or on complete strangers, who know nothing about your writing. (I’ve been told grocery and bank lines are great places to do this.) You pitch them your logline, then ask what kind of story they’d expect to read. If it’s close to the story your wrote, you’re good to go.

Like all kinds of writing, creating loglines gets better with practice. So, get going!

###

Ann Kimbrough’s imagination comes from growing up as an Air Force brat, which entertained her childhood with foreign lands and amazing characters. They tend to pop-up in all her writing, whether screenplay or novel. The magic continued after college, when she worked in Hollywood and became a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Ann hosts YouTube show Screenwriters Beat, and spends the rest of her time writing contained, thrilling screenplays and cozy mystery novels under pen name Ann Audree, as well as romance under pen names Pippa Minx and Ann McGinnis. Ann is an optioned and produced screenwriter.

annkimbrough.com

 
 

So, I’m Going To Make A Movie… UPDATE #1

As you may already know, a short film is going to be made of a screenplay I adapted from LEAVE, one of my short, dramatic stories about what it may have been like for the first females sailors assigned to warships back in the Nineties.

It probably isn’t much of a spoiler to say that in both the story’s and the film’s interpretation, it is quite a challenge for those courageous women, seeing how the all-male crew of the ship they’re reporting to would rather go to war than have their ship be invaded by female sailors.

Indeed.

So… I’ll be going out to Los Angeles in April to begin work on the production, but first we have a small detail of raising the funds.

Yes, I’m looking at you…

We plan to film on the battleship USS Iowa, which is now a museum ship out in LA. Unfortunately, even though the Iowa staff are willing to significantly cut the price because I’m an old salt of a retired sailor, it still costs a pretty penny nonetheless. And there of course will be other production costs to factor in, as well.

We’ll be kicking off an Indigogo campaign to raise the funds at the beginning of March but I just wanted to give you all a heads up that we now have a “Coming Soon” page where you can sign up to stay informed on project updates and be advised when the campaign is live.

Our vision for the film is to:

Create a Cinematic Work of Art that both Entertains and Promotes a Discussion for Positive Change

 
Needless to say, your support of our efforts, not just through donations, but also through your outreach to all your family and friends on our behalf, will be key in helping us turn our vision into a reality.

We’ll be introducing our award-winning cast [it’s not 100% yet but if cast assignments firm up as it looks like they will we are going to have a stellar cast] and highly accomplished crew very soon so please check it out and join our team at:

www.indiegogo.com/projects/leave/coming_soon


Okay, I have taken off my PT Barnum wannabe Promoter’s Hat and have now put on my wannabe highly esteemed and influential Author’s Hat…

First off, I would like to report that building a campaign to raise the funds to produce a short film is taking a lot of my very limited brain power.

We have decided to go with Indigogo to raise our funds instead of Kickstarter. The main reason for this decision is that you get to keep the funds you raise with Indigogo even if you do not meet your goal. With Kickstarter it’s all or nothing – if you don’t meet your goal, you don’t get the dough. Indigogo does however/of course, charge higher percentages for their service and transfer fees.

So once our funding site was decided, one of the first challenges I had to confront was the “tag line,” one of the first blocks that has to be filled out when building the pitch for the campaign.

One of the toughest things for me to do as a writer is to condense big meaning, metaphorical concepts with a lot of words into a synopsis of a paragraph or two. Having to condense down even further into a tag line that allows only 100 characters, such as Indigogo’s, is close to self-inflicted murder.

Fortunately, I had already gone through the painful process of coming up with a logline, which was needed for pitching the screenplay.

A sailor’s desire to be with his sick mother is complicated by the unwanted influx of his ship’s first female sailors and a looming war

But the problem is that logline is 133 characters and Indigogo’s “tag line” only allows for 100 characters. So, after more painful paring, this is what I came up with:

A sailor can’t be with his sick mother due to an influx of despised female sailors and a looming war

With war looming and despised females sailors arriving, a sailor strives to be with his dying mother

I’m still not 100% loving it but my head hurts after all that editing out and then having second thoughts and editing in and then having third thoughts and editing out again and on and on…

But, it’ll do for now as I now have to continue on with the rest of the pitch development which, hopefully, won’t hurt my head quite as much.

Stay tuned! The campaign will be kicking off at the beginning of the month.

TTFN and Write On! my friends.
 

Coming Soon!
For details, click here

 
Article updated to reflect new tag line and that cast assignments are close but not yet completely firm