This week's Answer:
Not Always Obvious When It's Too Obvious
an interesting question, which I'm glad to answer. The
last script I passed on had an engaging logline (which I
won't reveal because I don't want to be hauled away by the
Logline Police who arrest script consultants who reveal
screenwriters' loglines without their permission. Have you
noticed script consultants' number dwindling lately? Even
the consultants disappearing in the dead of night? Now you
know: Logline Police.)
I proceeded to ask for the screenplay and looked forward
to reading it, hoping upon hope that the execution of it
would be at least on the save level as the concept. I
still had that hope as I read the first several pages,
appreciating the clever dialogue, liking how the
characters were being introduced. But, then... it wasn't
to be. I saw a major problem immediately and, even though
the writer knew how to turn a phrase and how to attract
somebody into his created story world, he made a mistake
that caused me to stop reading and pass on the script. Can
you guess what that mistake was?...............
was a dramatic pause to create unnecessary tension.) The
writer was too direct. There was no nuance.
Everything was too obvious. It was as though he didn't
trust the intelligence of his reader and felt like he had
to spell everything out, even spoon-feed the story to us.
good story needs to tease us, not be laid at our feet. We
need to, in a sense, work for the story, need to pay
attention and "look for signs." We need to feel
not just like somebody watching and listening, but we need
to feel somehow involved. We want the opportunity to try
to figure it out, understand its many facets, to
"look into" the story, seeing through the
surface into its subtle layers and even its core.
truth is, we don't want to know where a story is
going. Even the best authors can't surprise us at every
they sure can keep us guessing.
got to go. I think I hear the Logline Police at my door.