Logline Madness 2020

Genre Finals – Action & Comedy

Judges: David Baggelaar, Chris Lockhart, John Zaozirny

Below are the loglines designated as the top four (4) in the action/adventure/sci-fi/fantasy and comedy genres. The top logline chosen for both genres will move on to the Championship Round, as determined by the judges.

Action Genre Finalists

1) One More Day Inc. by Andy Erikson (TV) – A fierce but damaged single mother enlists the services of One More Day Inc in order to bring her estranged father back to life for one more day. So that she can kill him.

Judge David BaggelaarConcise character descritption and great setup with a cool twist. I’d drop the “Inc” from the title, One More Day sounds a bit sleeker.

Judge Chris LockhartI like the business idea of “One Day More Inc.”  (It’s reminiscent of the third act from Thorton Wilder’s OUR TOWN.)  Does the series revolve around the single mother’s desire to kill her estranged father?  How do you sustain that? Or is this an anthology series featuring a different character each episode who brings someone back to life for a day (for various reasons)?   In this logline scenario, I’d like to know what goes wrong.   I think that’s a crucial element to this story that’s missing here. 

Judge John ZaozirnyFirst off, this doesn’t feel like a TV show concept, due to its close-ended nature and narrow focus. Secondly, while this is a surprising concept (basically a dark version of Pixar’s ONWARD), it doesn’t feel like there’s enough ongoing drama to this concept to even sustain a feature — feels like at best a short film.

2) The Naughty List by Chip Riggs (Feature) – Two young sisters undertake a magical, harrowing journey to the North Pole to erase their names from Santa’s naughty list and find themselves in the middle of a fight between light and dark in what should be the happiest place on Earth.

Judge David BaggelaarOverall it’s a solid logline. I’d like a little more context to the “light and dark” by giving some agency to the antaognist of the story.

Judge Chris LockhartIn my experience, most Santa scripts are lame.  I do like the idea of the motivation behind their journey (the “naughty list”).  This might have been more fun if it were modeled as a heist script.  However, the sisters “finding themselves in the middle of a fight between light and dark” ventures into that lame territory I mentioned, as it’s vague and renders the girls inactive. If the story has anything to do with the sisters saving Christmas, I’ll really hate this – as that trope has become a hackneyed cliche in these kinds of stories.  Hum-bug. 

Judge John ZaozirnyThis feels somewhat familiar, but Santa concepts are always super popular and this one feels accessible and understandable. The second half of the logline though makes me wonder what the tone is like — is it a darker movie than you might expect from a Santa film? “A fight between the forces of light & dark” feel very epic, a la LORDS OF THE RINGS. Not quite sure if the second half of the logline is a good reflection of what the script would be.

3) Clones by Ismaail Edoo (Feature) – A gifted engineering student is recruited to perfect a machine which uses clones to recreate crime scenes, only to be tied into the current investigation when her clone confesses to the murder.

Judge David BaggelaarGreat logline that checks all the boxes and makes it feel like our world.

Judge Chris LockhartThe logline feels like a mouthful, and the presentation could probably be streamlined. It might be a little confusing.  Are the clones she’s using of herself or of other people?  When the logline says “her clone,” does it refer to her doppleganger or a clone of someone else she created?  The logline needs to be very specific here.  Regardless, it’s a compelling scenario (in the vein of MINORITY REPORT). The problem with the logline is that it doesn’t activate the protagonist in a compelling way.  I’m not even sure I understand the meaning of “tied into the current investigation.”  In MINORITY REPORT, Tom Cruise is accused of a murder (that he has not yet been committed) and must prove his innocence.  That’s much more clearcut, active, dramatic, and propulsive than what’s in this logline.  

Judge John ZaozirnyThis is intriguing, although it does feel like a case where there’s a “hat on top of a hat” — an engineering student creates a clone machine is a BIG leap but enough for a single movie. Then that student uses it to recreate crime scenes? That seems silly. THEN one of the clones confesses to a murder? That’s a lot… Honestly, I was lost when a student who somehow creates clones then decides, of ALL the things she could do with it, to recreate crime scenes.

4) Ginger Harem by Maroun Rached (Feature) – When the daughter of an FBI agent is kidnapped by a hedonistic sect and turned into a sex slave, both mother and daughter must fight the powerful organization to break free from its claws.

Judge David BaggelaarStrong start, but the back half sounds a bit cliche. And could use an “or else” beat to raise the stakes.

Judge Chris LockhartIt’s TAKEN with a twist on gender, but it’s not enough of a spin for me.  The “fight” is unclear here.  Are they fighting the powerful organization in court? Or are they fighting them with Liam Neeson lethality?  If the daughter has been turned into a sex slave, she cannot be on the journey with her mother.  (The daughter’s on the inside trying to break out, and the mother’s on the outside trying to break in?)  This doesn’t move me one way or another. 

Judge John ZaozirnyThis feels pretty goofy, generic and exploitive to me. Feels like, at best, a trashy straight-to-video film. Everything here is pretty generic and the title only adds to the trashy yet generic nature of the script.

The logline selected as the best of the Action genre and moving on to the Championship Round:

#1 One More Day, Inc. by Andy Erikson (TV)


Comedy Genre Finalists

1) Resting Bitch Face by Dana Braziel-Solovy (TV) – When a people-pleasing starlet loses her ability to fake a smile and, with it, her shot at ingenue roles—she must learn to embrace her inner bitch, onstage and in real life.

Judge David BaggelaarStrong logline, I think it just needs to be clear why she loses the ability. Is it supernatural or something else?

Judge Chris LockhartI like the concept – as a sketch for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.  Like so many of these TV ideas, I wonder how it can sustain more than a single episode. Good title. 

Judge John ZaozirnyThis feels less like a TV concept and more like, at best, a short film? How can someone “embracing her inner bitch” be enough for a TV series that is supposed to go multiple seasons? What is she doing in episode 5 of Season 2? How does this vague concept get marketed into a minute long trailer that can be played in between episodes of current TV shows? All things to think about when deciding something is a “TV series idea.”

2) The Eve by Gerrard Hartland (Feature) – After accidentally running over a fake Santa, a single mom learns she’s been cursed for the festive season and has until Christmas Eve to prove she is the holidays greatest champion.

Judge David BaggelaarStrong set up, character into, and stakes. Could use a another character description to tie up why she needs to prove she’s the hero.

Judge Chris LockhartIt’s not clear why running over a fake Santa results in her having to prove she’s the holiday’s greatest champion.  Why does she care about being a Christmas champion (or why do we care)?  It might help to know what the curse entails.  Even if we accept this concept, it’s not clear what her journey involves.  It sounds like an episodic story featuring the mom going from one Yuletide extreme to another.  This kind of thing can flatten the curve of act two’s rising action and get dull quickly.   And what’s the measuring stick to prove she’s Xmas’s greatest champion?   Overall, I get it, and if the screenplay hits all it’s marks, my question will be answered.  But this gets another unenthused hum-bug from me

Judge John Zaozirny: I’m a bit unclear on what the actual concept is here. How is she cursed? Who cursed her? The biggest question I have is, How does she prove she’s is the holiday’s greatest champion? How does that work? What does she have to do? Honestly, it feels a little generic and vague — the lack of specificity only adds to a somewhat familiar aspect of it.

3) How Sheep Get Away With Murder by Vincent Ivory (TV) – When a farm owner is murdered at his farm house, an investigation ensues that yields no human suspects.  Now, the investigation turns to a farm of talking animals who attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the authorities.

Judge David BaggelaarIt’s a little too word-y and the tone is unclear. Sounds like a dark comedy if there’s a murder, but the joke at the end is confusing, and doesn’t quite land.

Judge Chris Lockhart: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS meets CHARLOTTE’S WEB.  An amusing concept, for sure.  But is this one of those concepts that sounds fun as a logline but fails in script form?  I’m assuming this is a universe where humans do not know animals can talk. (If I’m wrong, this should be clarified in the logline.)   Why in the world would the cops ever suspect the culprits are animals?   It might help to know how the farmer was murdered.  Was he fatally shot or stabbed? Or was he trampled to death?   I wish the logline centered on a protagonist.  Are we rooting for the beasts? (Was the farmer cruel to them?) Is there a single mastermind animal? Or are we rooting for a cop who suspects the animals – but cannot convince anyone else.   This feels like a limited series, at most.

Judge John ZaozirnyOnce again, this doesn’t feel remotely like a TV show idea. It’s obviously an animated version of a murder-mystery and that’s clearly a movie, not an ongoing TV show. Even as that, I wonder if the young audience that would watch an animated farm movie would be the appropriate audience for a murder mystery.

4) The Cat of Versailles by Hilary Van Hoose (TV) – An immortal cat narrates stories of his whimsical adventures throughout France’s history to an American girl living abroad.

Judge David BaggelaarGood start, but leaves a lot unanswered. As a show, how does this device sustain for several episodes/seasons? The logline makes it seem like this is a show about a cat just talking to a girl. Make it a little more action oriented.

Judge Chris LockhartIs this for children?  It could be educational.  Why immortal and not nine lives?  There’s some charm and romanticism to this.  But there’s no conflict in the logline. so it could be soporific.  Are the cat’s stories unified by a theme or motif?  Are they pieces to a larger puzzle that’s revealed at the end of the season?  Or are the stories simply random and disparate?  Ultimately, there’s not much here to judge.

Judge John ZaozirnyThis seems like a cat version of the TV show WISHBONE. Though at least WISHBONE was able to travel through famous literature, as opposed to French history. Not sure why there’s an assumption that American TV audiences would care much for French history, particularly as told by a talking immortal cat on weekly nature.

The logline selected as the best of the Comedy genre and moving on to the Championship Round:

#2 The Eve by Gerrard Hartland (feature)


The other genre final results will be announced in an upcoming article. Thank you to all writers who submitted loglines and congratulations to those moving on to the final round of the competition!

Semi-Finals, Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy (results): https://www.scriptsandscribes.com/2020/05/logline-madness-2020-semi-finals-action/

Semi-Finals, Comedy (results): https://www.scriptsandscribes.com/2020/05/logline-madness-2020-semi-finals-comedy/

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