I was unable to vote in my own poll for some reason, perhaps I set it that way without realising or perhaps the poll was evil… I think the latter is more likely since it extended its reign by eight hours without even asking ME first. But anyway. Here is some feedback on your entries guys and now everybody’s back at work etc, please do offer your thoughts too. Here we go…
A LONG JOURNEY
As a category, I think this had some of the strongest and most goal-led ideas so I was unsurprised that a logline within this category won. I often tell Bang2write clients to think of a script like a journey when they’re having trouble focusing their story, so perhaps this is why; I see a lot of road movies and/or survival thriller/horrors where someone has to get somewhere by a certain time, so perhaps notions of goals, journeys, destinations and whatnot are “hardwired” into the craft of writing as the likes of Syd Field say? But that’s a debate for another time…
A LONG JOURNEY. A neglectful father and resentful son attempt to reconnect as they go on a wild Christmas journey in search of the mythic Christmas Tree. Annelie Widholm, Feature, Family Comedy Conflict is obvious here, which is always a great start – whilst it might be very nice to have a father and son who like each other loads, if they’re estranged then it gives them something to work at. I think I would have liked to know more about the Christmas Tree and why it was “mythic”, since I was unsure what this constituted. Does this mean Christmas trees in general, or one specific “magic” Christmas tree? All in all, a good logline I thought, nice one Annelie.
A LONG JOURNEY. A malicious stowaway on Santa’s sleigh must prove he’s good or the elves will leave him behind in a lawless village built for naughty children. Joe Cawley, Family Feature What I really like about this one is its plundering of childhood myth that we’re already familiar with: children’s stories are rife with ideas of “stowing away”, Santa and places where bad children are sent, so to knit them altogether I thought was fabulous. In addition, I get the impression this “malicious” stowaway will have to prove himself in some way much like that bad elf in the Dudley Moore Santa movie of the 80s. Very, very good.
TO THE GRAVE. In a feral future Britain an old man must travel back to his northern home town to take terrible vengeance for a long forgotten injustice. Rob Stickler, Sci Fi Action Feature I’m still waiting for the Apocalypse, so notions of a “feral” future always prick my interest, so nice one on that. One thing I did wonder here was why the old man would wait so long and if it was a “long forgotten injustice”, why it should matter? Having said that, just a little more detail should combat this IMHO.
DEEP MID-WINTER. Deskbound Angus flees family Christmas enduring cancelled trains, freezing buses, hitching and hiking he reaches his now pensioner crofter schoolteacher. The hungry cows need feeding. Chip Tolson, Road Movie, Feature This reminds me of PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES and I really like that first sentence; it conjures up traditional problems we’ve all had with Christmas – travel can be a nightmare. The second sentence then confused me a little I’m afraid, it seemed quite random at first… On reflection I realised that actually, he’s fleeing the city to go home to a farm, but at this stage it doesn’t seem as if it is needed, I personally would have left it to that first one alone to encapsulate the story.
A LONG JOURNEY. A shooting star on Christmas Eve inspires an orphaned reindeer to escape from a petting zoo to seek Santa at the North Pole . Sheikspear, Feature, Fantasy Our winner of course and I can see why. It’s classic family fare, its goal AND character is obvious, plus it’s got the “cute” factor. No mean feat Sheiky! Very nice.
A LONG JOURNEY. Are we there yet, mam? The unborn child can’t wait to be born to begin its proclamations, to the growing annoyance of the parents-to-be … Fi Benson, Dark Comedy, Short I really like the addition of the classic child’s phrase, I’ve heard it a zillion times myself, but I was unsure what Fi meant by “begin its proclmations” – was this a Messiah-type child, a re-telling of the nativity perhaps? I was also wanted to know more about the parents’ “annoyance” since this seemed unusual; most parents-to-be can’t wait for their baby to turn up. Perhaps they are indisposed in some way, presumably because they are travelling somewhere?
A LONG JOURNEY. December 23rd 1943, James orders: Photograph rocket sites. To return and marry Kathy means taking risks. James’s dies, his 1943 letter arrives Christmas Eve 1993. Ghost Story; nice one tho, despite James’s ditching in the channel and Kathy dying in an air raid. They – and others all return as ghosts. And on their wedding day, the stranger dressed in a Luftwaffe uniform holding the wedding car door open for Kathy and James, salutes them. Ron Shears, TV script Ron is one of my long term Bang2writers and top bloke, so I know he won’t mind me saying I wasn’t too sure about this actually as a logline…It seems to lean more towards a synopsis. If I recall correctly a anonymous poster in the comments section of the voting post said they liked the images but thought the story seemed “fragmented” and this pretty much sums up how I feel about it too. I love the notion of a ghost wedding set in WW2 though.
A LONG JOURNEY. When Oil is discovered at the North Pole, a team of evil Prospectors are hunted by a vengeful Polar Bear. Eco-Jaws with fur! An enviro”mental” horror with claws. Mike G. Zealey This is a fun logline and has what I call the “Ronseal” approach – it does exactly what it says on the tin, always a good approach. We’re left in no doubt as to what is going on, though I would venture that if everyone is evil, including the beast as a “monster”, then maybe Mike might have a problem actually in the draft creating empathy for his characters. Maybe we should have some good locals vs the evil prospectors as well?
I actually included this category as an afterthought and was surprised to have so many, I felt sure this would be the least popular. Shows what I know!
THE LAST DAY OF CHRISTMAS. A discredited scientist struggles to expose a Christian fundamentalist biological terror plot before the contaminated Christmas crackers are pulled. Caroline Henry, Feature, Thriller Caroline has made sure the odds are against her protagonist – if you’re discredited, who’s going to take you seriously? Then s/he has a mountain to climb on top of that in sorting out a big conspiracy. Very nice! Good use of what Yves Lavandier calls “walls” here – Die Hard does a similar thing, as do other good action thrillers.
CRACKERS. After finding a severed finger in his cracker, Geoffrey endeavours to return it to it’s owner on Christmas day, stumbling into adventure along the way. Leon Bell, Comedy-Drama, Feature The “gross factor” here is high and that’s always a good thing as far as I’m concerned – what I had trouble with then is why there might be a severed finger in a cracker? Presumably that would be answered within the adventures Geoffrey has, but I felt I wanted more detail here. All in all though, a well-crafted logline.
CRACKERS. A lost delivery of crack-loaded crackers? Blackmailed Santa Claus has 48 hours to find them before elfish Mr Big adds him to the naughty list. Tom Mitchell, Feature, Comedy As with Leon’s logline, I wanted to know why there was drugs in the crackers, but more why it was Santa’s problem? I’ve never had him down as a drugs lord, so I felt more detail again was needed to make me “buy into” the concept. Like the notion though that Santa has to do something or get put on the naughty list himself, that WOULD be bad for business! Nice one.
SANTA’S SIDEKICK. When Morgan, the dyslexic crow, gets his dream job helping poor, forgetful Santa, the world wakes up to an unusually brilliant Christmas. Anna Perera, Animation I can really see this as an animation; there have been lots of cartoons over the years in which animals help Santa in some way, but I cannot think of one with a cow in, something children would relate to very well having played with plastic ones and hopefully seen them in real life. I did feel I wanted to know why a cow would be dyslexic and what was “unsusually brilliant” about Morgan’s efforts – I saw him painting in the sky for some reason, though I’m sure I’m quite wrong Anna! : )
CRACKERS. This Christmas, be careful what you pull… Two psychopathic sisters deliberately infect HIV with Christmas party one night stands. Sheikspear, Thriller, Feature What mean protgonists Sheiky! This is a good logline with obvious antagonists, but I was left wondering whom the protagonist was and what he (she?) might do about these psychopaths.
CRACKERS. One disgruntled cracker packer. One cracker with extra bang. Holly Mistletoe’s going to kiss them both goodbye before the Queen’s speech. Rach, Thriller, Feature I’m beginning to see why this was such a popular category, you’re all a bunch of nutters who want to blow stuff up! I like the notion of a cracker as a bomb, very festive and psychopathic in one go Rach! You also introduce us to our heroine well too though I think you need a Mills and Boon check on that name… ; )
CRACKERS. After decades of watching the ice melt around his home, Santa Claus finally snaps and travels down to New York on a killing spree. A comedy “slay” ride. Mike G. Zealey A killer Santa?!? Noooooooooooooooooo! It’s a nice turnaround though I am reminded of Futurama’s own Killer Santa. A nice reason why he’s gone mental though, very topical – if I remember correctly Futurama had Santa as a robot which like, would *never* happen.
CRACKERS. When legendary Ten-pin bowler Sean le Penn’s arm is irreparably damaged in a freak cracker-pulling accident he must face the biggest challenge of his life and score a strike against the greatest foe he has ever faced, adversity. Alan Salisbury, Comedy, Feature Another well-crafted logline that could do with a little more in the way of detail IMHO; I would have said that the “adversity” was obvious by introducing a one armed man who wants to score a strike, but WHY is he wanting to score that strike? Is there an antagonist in addition to that lack of arm?A freak cracker-pulling accident that makes you lose your arm though, like it. Mind boggles – did it have dynamite in??
A CHILD IS BORN
This was my husband’s suggested category which makes me a little dubious, think I need to stay off the gin in case I end up with another bun in the oven…
A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER. A workaholic TV weatherman gets more than expected when both his estranged, pregnant daughter, and the biggest storm in 50 years, show up for Christmas. Laura, Comedy Feature This was in my Top 3 along with Sheikspear’s and Joe’s versions of Long Journey. I was reminded of GROUNDHOG DAY and that’s certainly no bad thing. The conflict is obvious and it’s classic family fare but more than that, I think it has the potential to be really visual, always good as far as comedyb is concerned. I would pay to see this.
WHO’S CHILD IS IT? After one hellacious Christmas eve Santa returns to the north pole where elves’ court determines who’s the father of the newborn found in his sleigh. Dennis Goldberg, Feature, Comedy Elf Court has real potential and I was reminded of the court scene in Disney’s Alice In Wonderland and the “Twinkle, Twinkle…” bit. Very nice. I was confused though whether it was Santa’s paternity that was in question here and what was to be done about it if he was. Why shouldn’t Santa have a baby?
A CHILD IS BORN. A defrocked Priest regains his faith whilst trying to save the newborn Daughter of God from a Devil worshipping sect. Sheikspear, Feature, Thriller A well-written logline, this nevertheless reminds me of END OF DAYS and just about every other Devil-worshipping film involving a baby, sorry Sheiky. I felt I wanted more that differentiated it from its predeccessors and since there were quite a few in the run-up to the millenium especially, you’d need to pull something out the bag really quite unusual to be able to do this. However I should mention that I could be prejudiced unfairly against this idea since I get a lot of scripts about inhuman babies and/or babies that are the son or daughter of God or The Devil, so don’t just take my word for it if you wanted to pursue this idea.
A CHILD IS BORN. As Jose and Maria celebrate the arrival of their new baby, Saviour, a series of angels appear claiming paternity rights, including the brightest angel, Lucifer. Fi Benson, Short, Dark Comedy A good logline and as a re-telling of the Nativity, I think this could really work – after all, God’s paternity of Jesus is never held in question… But what if it was? A very strong premise here, I would like to see this.
GENE DELETED. Kidnapping the geneticist was the easy part. Now all she has to to do is create the ultimate weapon and free her imprisoned son. Elinor, Thriller, Feature Elinor’s another of my long term Bang2writers and a Metlab student, so I know she’s hardcore: my basic issue with this logline is it reads more like a tagline in my view, I would expect to see something like this on the film poster. I wanted to know what the “ultimate weapon” was and why her son was “imprisoned”. With more detail however, notions of a mother trying to save her child by any means necessary – including illegal – will always engage my interest, so if you are actually working on this Elinor then definitely send it my way some time.
WORMWOOD. A suspicious young doctor takes matters into his own hands when he starts to believe that a child he helped to deliver is not human. Tom, Supernatural Thriller, Short Again Tom I have the issue I mentioned in Sheiky’s feedback for his idea in this category, so you may not believe any feedback I can offer is viable since I don’t tend to like scripts that have this basic idea since I’ve seen so many. However, that aside I like the conflict you hint at here: vigilante action by someone in a position of authority is always a good start for action and/or thrillers. Also, I’ve never seen the idea as a short, always features, so perhaps it would work better within the context of a much smaller script?
CONFRONTATIONS AND REVELATIONS
I expected this to be the biggest category and I wasn’t disappointed… This category had some really visual ideas and gave the category of “Long Journey” a real run for its money story-wise.
THE STOCKING KILLER. Christopher Mass hates Christmas. Against advice from his psychiatrist, he descends into his own tinselly hell to discover who is bumping off department store Santas. Chip Smith, Comedy Thriller, Feature Chip is another Bang2write long termer and provides us with a great title and premise here: why WOULD someone kill dept store Santas? What I had a problem with then is why Mass would investigate. Is he a cop maybe, has no choice, it’s the job he’s given? I felt a little more detail was needed, otherwise a good logline.
DEAD BEAT IN DAKOTA. “Christmas Eve, New York: John Lennon, desperate to recover his Muse, feverishly conjures her up – and three ghosts he must face, to win her back.” Norman Revill, Feature This reminds me of the basic concept of CHRISTMAS CAROL and God knows producers are always looking at ways of reinventing it, I counted six different adaptations playing this Christmas. To combine it then with an icon of history and love is a great idea and this nearly made it into my top 3 but unfortunately my inner sucker fell for the pregnant daughter in Laura’s, sorry Norm. Good premise and logline though.
THE WHISPERING DARK. A man travels to an isolated village where he struggles to discover the truth about the mysterious encounter that drove his folklore-obsessed grandfather insane. Tom, Supernatural Thriller, Feature Ooooo, spooky! Another “ronseal” logline, very good. We’ve got the protagonist trying to find something out that has already messed with minds, so stakes are high – and we also understand why the protagonist might have gone there in the first place, why wouldn’t you want to find out WHAT made ol’ gramps go ga-ga? Like the title too.
NEMESISTER. A boy is convinced his younger sister has acquired evil superpowers so he desperately tries to stop her before she destroys the family, and herself.
Danny Stack and Sam Morrison, Family/Comedy Feature Love the title of this one and the notion that a younger sister has evil superpowers: really gives an added edge to the notion of “sibling rivalry”. As Anya says in the voting post, you can tell Danny and Sam are professionals with this one, it nails everything down for us: who the protagonist is, who the antagonist is, what the protagonist must do. Nice one fellas. I hope I get to read this sometime.
DICKENS ON WOMEN. The story Charles Dickens never dared tell. His own. David Anderson, Historical Romance Feature. I know David loves history, so his choice did not surprise me, though the romance did! I was reminded here of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE here, no bad thing, it was an Oscar winner. The one thing I might offer is that like Elinor’s it does seem more like a tagline, though I accept the title does nail down the protagonist’s “angle”. I’d possibly have gone for a little more “meaty” detail overall however.
CONFRONTATIONS AND REVELATIONS. After getting married over Thanksgiving weekend, a rich CEO learns that his new wife is a single mother of three. Robert Hogan, Comedy, Feature I’ve worked with Robert on our own treatment and draft before, so know his strength is in creating almost hysterical scenes where things just get worse and worse (and ruder and ruder): on this basis then, I think he could have introduced a little more of this hysterical nature to his logline to really differentiate it from other “problem-based” Rom-coms, making it more in the vein of something like JUST FRIENDS, which is what he’s really good at. However, this probably isn’t fair since I know him as a writer and I also wouldn’t want to detract from the fact this is actually a very good logline: just like Danny and Sam’s it’s all nailed down for us – we just *know* those kids are going to be up to no good…
NAILED. An adulterous trophy wife believes she’s in the clear when she meets her blackmailer’s demands, only to discover there’s a far higher price to pay. Alexandra Denye, Short, Thriller Alexandra got into the finals of the PAGE awards with this and this logline reflects why I think: it’s simple and executed simply – with more hinted at beyond that controlling idea. Also, again we’re left in no doubt as to what is going on or who is who. Very nice!
CONFRONTATIONS AND REVELATIONS. A young Priest descended from Christ’s bloodline confronts Satan via a coded passage in the book of Revelations. Sheikspear, Feature, Horror Again, we’re back to the Satanic thing though there are no babies this time… Secret codes are another “thing” of mine though, sorry Sheiky!!! I better shut up. Hey this has to be proof though that entering A LOT, like Sheikspear did, pays dividends…
SECRET CHRISTMAS. Christmas is dead. The renegade celebrants imprisoned. But Grace Goodyear stubbornly ‘believes’; soon she’s ‘Most Wanted’ and accidental rebel leader. The fight for Christmas begins… Andrew Bernhardt, Family Feature I love the notion that Christmas has been banned and people who celebrate it go to prison; like Caroline’s we have a great “wall” here for our protagonist Grace. The one thing I woulod offer here is that I think this logline needs more conjunctions, it seems a little fragmented sentence-wise and I needed to read it twice to understand what was going on though quite possibly that’s just me.
LAST TANGO IN RUSHOLME. A group of amateur ballroom dancers fight to save their practice hall from the clutches of an unscrupulous developer at Christmas. Pete Spencer, Comedy-Drama, Feature Very nice Pete and another contender for my coveted top 3. You’ve nailed it all down for us as well, we’re left in no doubt as to who is who, what is going on or what is at stake. You attracted some favourable feedback too in the voting post and for good reason since this is a well-done little logline, sorry about the “nunscrupulous” though in the original posting, that was my fault!
HOPES AND FEARS. When an escaped psychiatric prisoner takes refuge in a dentist’s office on Christmas Eve, his hostages are forced to confront their own hopes and fears. David Bishop, TV Drama I’ve read loads of David’s stuff, he’s a great writer and I believe I’ve read this too as an actual script or at least a treatment (though I can’t look it up since my lists are trapped in my dead PC from the other week). The psychiatric prisoner as antagonist is obvious and I like the fact he’s introduced the other characters as more of an ensemble, since I believe this is what they are; the one thing I would offer however is that since “Hopes and Fears” is the title, its repetition in the logline is not the *most* dramatic use of words, though there’s technically nothing wrong with it.
I thought this category would get lots of cartoons… And I got three entries! Weird or what, shows how perception and different interpretations really figure in this game.
STARLIGHT. A stranded, self-obsessed movie actress rediscovers her lost values when she reluctantly agrees to star in small town’s Christmas pageant. Sheikspear, Rom-Com, Feature. A good logline. The self-obsessed movie star as protagonist is a character that again I see A LOT though I do actually like the notion that a character like this can recover “lost values”. The fact that she does this within a small town environment hints that this story actually can deliver this realisation; too often I see scripts with these characters on the verge of *almost* losing everything then the writer at last minute gives them a big contract or whatever, so they’re rewarded for being awful. Would be interesting to see if Sheiky can pull this off as I think it’s one of the most difficult characters to “draw”.
STARLIGHT. It’s Christmas Eve. Goldie, Frank and Myrtle, insurance agents specialising in victim compensation, see a bright light shining to the East. They follow it … Fi Benson, Dark Comedy, Short I like the puns on the names here, but wondered why they worked in insurance: how does it figure in the plot? Again though, a re-telling of Nativity (or The Three Wise Men), is always a good focus for a short and I would like to see what Fi does with it too.
STARLIGHT. Night time burns on Twinkle and the fuzzybeams have eaten all the starblock. So Bunny Carrot-top’s gonna make the Candyfloss Run to save their skin. Rach, Sci Fi Animation Short I was unsure who was who here; Twinkle is presumably a character, as are The Fuzzybeams and Bunnyh Carrot-top, but who was the protagonist is not so clear. I was unsure why night time is a problem and why Bunny has to make candy floss either. Having said that, the names and things referenced are all child-like fare and I see absolutely no reason why Rach couldn’t get someone interested in a sweet tail (arf) like this once she offers more detail.
SANTA’S SACK. When a depressed Santa and Mrs Claus face sexual dysfunction difficulties they turn to renowned LA plastic surgeon, Dr Biggar Knobs, to help out Santa and save Xmas. Will Santa get his hole in time to pop down some chimneys? The marvellous Dublin Dave aka DD, Short Film Knowing DD, I’m sure this was just-for-fun and it’s certainly that…I love all the naughty double entendres in this so thanks for that! This logline certainly put a smile on my face. As a short it could be a laugh and I’m sure there’s an “Ooooooh Matron!” festival somewhere in the world for you to show it at!
UNTITLED. Santa has traveled a million miles to deliver your gifts this Christmas. He just wishes he’d remembered his trousers. Dom A neat logline and another that reads more like a tagline, though it certainly sounds as if it could be fun, especially if the goal is that Santa actually needs to find his trousers – has he left them in a particular child’s house? Maybe a kid’s woken up and is now selling them on eBay! Just a little more detail would be all that’s needed to “nail this down” so we’re left in no doubt as to what is “needed” in this story.
SANTA’S SWEATSHOP. Elves make all the toys, right? WRONG! Every year Santa stops time, kidnaps all the naughty children and forces them to work in his sweatshop making all the toys for Christmas, and some Nike trainers to give Santa some drinking money. Not a comedy. Santa could be Chris Walken or Anthony Hopkins. Chris, you are clearly insane: Christopher Walken as Santa? I love it! The notion that Santa is a really an evil corporate is fun too, though this is probably less of a logline and more of a proposal – and that proposal is being said at a party, with lots of wine, rather than a boardroom. But why not?? ; )
SAINT NICKED. While on a secret drinking spree, Santa is arrested for drunk and disorderly and assaulting a police officer. When he can’t prove who he is, he’s sent to Guantanamo bay as a terror suspect. Hilarity does not ensue! Think Midnight Express meets Miracle on 34th street. As always, love the pun, though struggling to think why Santa would get sent to Guantanomo bay for being drunk etc rather than your local nick. Also wondering how he might get out and/or who it is that will rescue him. Like your referencing of other movies to “sell” this concept though I have to admit I haven’t seen either of them, sorry!
NORTH POLE DANCER (An educational drama). A stripper stows away aboard Santa’s sleigh and taken back to the pole. There she teaches the elves how to pole dance and makes them realize that Christmas doesn’t have to be wholesome, it can be sleazy too!
Alternatively, change stripper to prostitute and call it “Ho! Ho! Ho!”. 😉
I’m beginning to think Chris you are a very naughty boy. It’s, ahem, visual!
NORTH POLE NIGHTS. David Hasslehoff is Santa! While the elves make presents, Santa solves crime with the aid of his ex-alcoholic sidekick Rudolph. Is someone stealing all the ice or is global warming for real? A buddy comedy.
Ok, ok. The Hoff???? I do actually like the idea of someone stealing all the ice though, but why is Rudolph an ex-alcoholic? Surely that’s Santa isn’t it, since milk is put out for him now on Xmas Eve instead of sherry?
THE NIGHT THE REINDEER DIED. Terrorists invade the north pole, massacre the reindeer, behead the elves and hold Santa as a hostage. Who can save Christmas? Van Damme? Seagal? Chuck? Britney? Rooney?
Okay, stay right there punk, I’m coming round… With my mate Van Damme!
PHEW! What did you think?