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Logline: The River {supernatural mystery thriller}
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Caden Pearson
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Joined: 06 Apr 2017
Posts: 31
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #50240

I really didn't know what should happen during the F&G to be honest. It was the big hole in my BS2.

I've landed on a premise that I'm really happy with, and one I think has legs should I pitch this as a series concept. Consider how good I feel right now before you tear the logline to shreds. hehe

Logline: When the spirit of his ex-girlfriend haunts his dreams, a forensic sketch artist seeks evidence to prove that her death in police custody was avoidable.




Last edited by Caden Pearson on Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:19 am; edited 2 times in total
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RobbRoss
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #50241

Hard work pays off...very good logline!

Just a few big comments:

Add a specific antag, like one cop suspected more than others or the one in charge unbeknownst to the protag. The face of the problem.

Is it really a quest for evidence after the protag learns early on what happened? Or is it a traditional mystery where he first seeks the truth and obtaining evidence is a development later in the story? If the former, it creates the impression of some thrills where the protag is targeted by the antag(s) once his snooping around becomes known. If the latter, adjust the part "seeks evidence..."

Is this accurate to your vision? The logline tells me the A Story is the artist's investigation or quest for evidence. There might be considerable time in the dreams, but it's a subplot or just in Act I. The story is not about a psychic and if there is anything about psychic powers it is minimal and not integral to the story. If the mother is in this, she could be a subplot and, while she wouldn't belong in the logline, I'm curious how she fits.

Little thing: Does "ex" mean the guy and girl were broken up before her death? If yes, doesn't that reduce some of the gravitas? If they weren't broken up, then it's redundant since her death tells us they're no longer together!

Quote:
pitch this as a series concept

TV or trilogy? Offer another logline or brief summary for the overall idea (which would be better to present first) because it's hard to see another tale past this logline.


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Caden Pearson
Leopard


Joined: 06 Apr 2017
Posts: 31
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #50242

Notes:

The protag is a forensic sketch artist. On any given day he draws composite sketches of criminals based on witnesses descriptions, and occasionally helps reconstruct unidentified remains by working with an anthro. His clairvoyance allows him to add details no one mentioned, but they always turn out to be accurate and pertinent. As such he's become known for his 'hunches'. One day, unidentified remains are the case du jour. The face he draws looks strikingly like his ex-girlfriend who he believes is alive. Dreams of her also add to this train of thought. He is disturbed by the resemblance and looks her up but finds she has no social media presence. His parents tell him there were rumours she ran off with a boy many years ago. A search of police records reveals a very vague and incomplete police report about her getting bashed while he was away at university, he's shocked to learn his ex-cop father wrote the police report. He begins to fear the remains are his girlfriend when dental records match her to another girl. But... now he has questions about his ex-girlfriend who does appear to be missing. Why did his father write such a sloppy, undetailed police report?

Yes, that's good. I want the A Story to be the artist's quest for the truth.

I'm still grappling with whether to have him learn early on what happened and then seek to prove it. Or have him become overwhelmingly curious and he just has to keep looking for his ex-girlfriend after finding that police report. I'm leaning towards the latter.

I think ex-girlfriend/ childhood friend: it's more of a special relationship he once had, so he still cares enough to want to look into things.

The subplot about his mother being dead is maybe going to be removed. I'm not sure yet if it matters that she is dead or alive.

Regarding the psychic thing, I still want that to be the part of the premise. A forensic sketch artist who is helped by visions he has while sketching. This makes for episodic stories should I look into a TV show. But, I realise that for this story it doesn't matter if he's psychic or not. This could be just an ordinary sketch artist who ... by the by, Screen Australia just announced a supernatural crime TV drama... I've been told TV has more chance of getting into development right now


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RobbRoss
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #50245

Quote:
The face he draws looks strikingly like his ex-girlfriend who he believes is alive.
...
He begins to fear the remains are his girlfriend when dental records match her to another girl.

Is there a purpose to the remains? Isn't it enough for the dreams/haunting to spur him into investigating?

Quote:
I think ex-girlfriend/ childhood friend:

If the person is not one where we automatically feel the stakes of justice (as with a girlfriend and not an ex), then look to add significance in the script.


Quote:
A forensic sketch artist who is helped by visions he has while sketching. This makes for episodic stories should I look into a TV show.

A good character, but how exciting would sketching be in a TV series? That's assuming a sequence each time of the vision that includes missing details for the sketch. I'm not into police procedurals, but they all seem to have the lead character in the thick of things. Though perhaps a show for the local market can do differently. Is there a series you can reference that has the structure or style you're thinking of?

After a while, his correct hunches that help solve cases or bring peace of mind to people will cause others to suspect or believe he has a gift. Not sure if that's good or bad, just saying.

I'm glad you said TV because that is the better market and anyway people advise against a feature trilogy spec. If you do it, then definitely come up with a logline for the series and one for the pilot.

Now looking at this logline as the pilot, it feels too personal. It feels like the "case within the case" of the series, not the first adventure. (One cop show I've seen and liked is Bosch and it has a case within the case of his mother.) Something personal might work as the A Story of the pilot if it's the origin, like getting or mastering the gift and then applying it to his police job or getting the job because of it.


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Caden Pearson
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Joined: 06 Apr 2017
Posts: 31
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote #50249

I pitched my logline to a development executive and he gave me the following notes and we had a good conversation about it too. It was very helpful, and not unlike the process we've gone through here.

One of the things he said was that I had to prioritise one genre more than the other, since it does cross genres a little. He wasn't talking about STC genres. This is a good point for me to think on.

Personal Shopper is a good example of what I am trying to make, just by the way.

So the development exec re-wrote the logline for me with this as a possibility.

Quote:
Haunted by the spirit of his girlfriend, a police sketch artist embarks on a daring mission to uncover the truth of her untimely death in police custody.

· Is she his ex because she’s dead, or did they break up and does that play as a central aspect of the drama and his character transformation?
· I assume it’s a daring act because he will be confronting law-enforcement and the very system he’s working for. But this might veer towards the wrong genre - perhaps there’s a more astute adjective (same could be said for ‘mission’).

Post Mortem.
Haunted (start off with your gripping word to hook reader) by the spirit of his (‘ex-‘ ONLY if it’s dramatically essential ) girlfriend, a police sketch artist embarks on a daring (secretive? Hidden?) mission (pursuit? Journey?) (gently call attention to the stakes) to uncover the truth (hints at mystery and hopefully generates intrigue) of her untimely death in police custody (end with a dramatic word if possible - ‘avoidable’ may be too clerical, whereas ‘custody’ might echo the pressure that encloses the main character as well as an important plot detail).


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RobbRoss
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote #50251

The exec's comments seem to be based on the logline being a feature and not a TV pilot. Just like the title referenced is a movie. Big difference between the two formats so let us know what you decide.

The exec has good comments, more for the sake of marketing when the time comes than shaping and testing the idea at this early stage. That's why I didn't nitpick it, but since we're at it now, "...embarks on a daring mission..." sounds like a thriller and not a mystery or drama.

The non-STC genres are the same thing using other words, like mystery instead of Whydunit. The supernatural works well with mysteries, but it was left somewhat unresolved if this is indeed a mystery/investigation or a quest for evidence. And if it's TV or a feature!


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