Sep 20

How Ironic That We Don’t Use Irony

Last week in our ongoing discussion of loglines, we looked at how to use conflict. This time, we’re going to look at the more subtle art of including irony in a logline.

Irony is a very valuable commodity in a logline, especially if your story is a comedy. It makes your audience settle back into their seats thinking, “This is gonna be good!” Because everybody loves irony. It makes us think about how this story is going to show two sides of the same coin.

Audiences love stories that show them two (or more!) sides of a coin. (Though I suppose if it had more than two sides, it wouldn’t be a coin, would it?) We enjoy deep movies and books that explore all the little nooks and crannies of a theme.

A theme, by the way, is the main idea that your story is exploring. The stories we consider classics often have characters that each live out a different facet of the theme, giving the audience a vast experience with an idea and allowing them to see where following that idea would lead.

As far as comedy goes, irony is great, because irony is very funny when done right. The key is to use irony to hint at the comedy and let the audience run wild thinking about how funny the premise can be.

So how’s this work in practice? Let’s grab some Hollywood films and check it out.

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Sep 13

Stop Avoiding Conflict

Throughout this series on writing loglines, I’ve danced around the idea that a good logline contains conflict and irony. I’ve even given you plenty of examples that contain one or both. But I haven’t talked specifically about how each works. It’s time now to concentrate on bringing those two elements to your logline party. We’ll cover conflict in this post, and next time we’ll look at how to use irony.

Conflict is the fundamental element of story. But it’s also an element that is often misunderstood or outright ignored, especially by beginning storytellers. So let’s go back to the basics for a minute. Read More »

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Sep 06

Tickle Me with Your Adjective Feather

It’s time once again to explore the craft of writing a great logline. This week, we’re going to look at what a good adjective does to a logline.

Let’s take some rather bland Hollywood movie loglines and see what we can do with adjectives to improve them. We’ll do a two films from previous articles, and we’ll also do a new one so you can see the process a little better.

Jurassic Park: A scientist must protect two children when a dinosaur park goes haywire and the monsters go on rampage.

Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl: When the governor’s daughter is kidnapped by a band of pirates, her lover must join forces with a pirate captain to save her before she is sacrificed to lift a curse.

How to Train Your Dragon: Against the traditions of his Viking tribe, a boy befriends a dragon and discovers secrets about the creatures that will change his tribe’s way of life forever.

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