Welcome to DAY ONE in the thirty days to a first draft screenwriting thread.
The first few days will be spent outlining and planning.
We’re going to write a logline or elevator pitch. I always start with this, because if you can’t write an elevator pitch then you don’t know what you are writing. You’ll also use this all the time. Contests will ask you for one and when anyone asks you what your screenplay is about, you should be able to rattle it off in one minute.
A good logline has four elements:
- Who your protagonist is.
- What is the inciting Incident, this is the event that kicks the story off.
- What is their goal?
- And finally, what makes it difficult? This could be a dilemma or could be the cause of the conflict.
So for example: Let’s take the THE GODFATHER.
How do we describe the protagonist? Michael Corleone. The reluctant son of a Mafia Crime boss.
What happens to him? His father is shot and injured, leaving Michael to take over the family.
What is his goal? To root out his father’s enemies.
And finally.. what makes it hard. What creates a dilemma?
What makes The Godfather interesting is Michael wants nothing to do with organized crime. This creates an irony.
Let’s put it all together now…
Michael Corleone is the son of mafia crime boss who wants nothing to do with the criminal world. When the Godfather is shot, Michael must take over the family and root out his father’s enemies.
That’s 35 words. You want to keep it under 50. The contests all ask for a logline and they always want it under 50.
So write down a logline for your film using the four elements:
One. Who your protagonist is? Two: What happens to them. Three: What’s their goal? Four: what brings the conflict. If you know these four things you can begin writing.
Tomorrow we’ll pick the protagonist…