Last night saw ‘The Return of El Presidente Grahame‘ and like a Star Wars sequel he was full of useful insights and tips on screenplay writing. Yeah I know that analogy didn’t really work there. Still Grahame did liberally dispense lots of free screenplays for club members (including StarWars!). He personally handed me ‘The Terminator’. Not sure if there was a coded message there. Arruff!

It’s always difficult to know where to start (unless you’re Julie Andrews) but for screenplay writing Grahame suggested beginning with your Logline. Essentially this is a short sentence or two (preferably under 20 words) that sums up your screenplay. Not an easy thing to do, but (and like Jennifer Lopez its a big but) if you can’t do this then maybe there’s a problem with your screenplay concept.

The logline should present the following:

  • Who the story is about (the protagonist), but don’t use character names.

  • What they strive for i.e. their goal.

  • What stands in their way i.e. obstacles

Overall the logline should provide a compelling mental picture of your screenplay. E.g. for the movie The Matix: A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

After your logline it’s a good idea to then come up with a moral premise for your screenplay e.g. for The Matrix: Love (a human quality) leads to victory but an absence of love leads to defeat.

Graham suggests the sequence of your screenplay should be as follows:

  • An idea

  • A logline

  • A Moral Premise

  • A Synopsis (3 paragraphs)

  • An Outline (major beats)

  • A Treatment (Scene by Scene)

  • Script (including Dialogue).

We all had a go at writing our own loglines for a variety of movies and then all wrote a logline for the same movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (even those who hadn’t seen the movie!) My own version I thought summed things up rather well. A dog rescues rescues a young girl when they get transported to a magical but frightening world and shows her the true value of friendship and that there really is no place like home. Arruff!

After tea club members read out some of their work. There was Grahame’s poem featuring Death in the distance, Tony’s civil war epic and Colette’s musings on middle child matters. All this in a brief half hour. We really should have more of this. Arruff!

Ho Hum, onwards and upwards.