Loglines and Smart Dialogue

I was fortunate to attend a wonderful workshop yesterday with Karl Iglesias, sponsored by the Austin Screenwriters Group.  The topic was Writing for Emotional Impact, and he did address some of the topics in his book by the same name, but he spoke on several other topics that had been specified by the group as well.  Very interesting.  I enjoyed chatting with Karl at a gathering after the workshop too; he’s a very personable guy.  He’s “chill,” as my teen would say!

One of the most  appreciated subjects from Karl’s workshop was how to write loglines.  He presented a few models.  Here’s one formula he presented that set people to furious scribbling:

(Title) is a (genre) about a (description of flawed hero) who, after (inciting event), wants to/ must/ struggles to (outer goal) by (plan of action). [This becomes increasingly difficult because (obstacles and complications.)]

With Karl’s keen analytical skills, he was able to quickly diagnose script weaknesses by hearing some of the attendees’ loglines.  It was amazing how script deficiencies became immediately obvious through weak loglines.  Usually it seemed that the goal was too easily attainable or that a unique hook was missing.  He emphasized that you must have strong architecture before you can work on the interior design and that a screenwriter would be wise to consider their logline before constructing his or her script.

Also thanks to Karl, I’m motivated now to take a look at my current script to see if I can include more subtext in my dialogue.  He mentioned how dialogue becomes “smart” when you consider subtext.  This is the way people talk when they have something at stake emotionally, when they have something at stake and are afraid to be direct in what they say.

All in all, some great tips yesterday.  I told Karl that he set me back a few days on my work!  But that’s a good thing.  I have some fixes to make.  I took away great new knowledge that I’m eager to apply.


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