Wednesday, April 13, 2005

So what’s your big idea anyway?

Nobody in Hollywood likes to read. Well, that’s not quite true. The fact is that studio execs’, agents’ and managers’ offices are inundated with so much stuff (that is, crap) they have to shovel bad ideas for scripts out of the way quickly. That’s how the logline was developed – it’s Cliff’s Notes for movies.

A good logline is a way for you to stick your foot in the door and say “hi” to the folks on the other side. If the logline sounds intriguing, then they ask for the treatment. If the treatment tells a story, then they ask for the script. It’s all a way for them to dip their toe in the water quickly without having to read a mountain of scripts every week. Even then, there’s still a mountain of material to read just to keep up. I’m inundated with stuff, and I don’t ask for it.

That is, until now.

Yes, I’m asking for it. [pun intended]

Next weekend, I’m going to offer the audience of this blog the opportunity to show people that you have some skills when it comes to conceptualizing a great D2DVD movie. That’s right folks, I’m announcing…

The 1st Annual DISC/ontent Logline Contest!

April 23rd, 2005 (Saturday morning) 8am PST (11am EST) until April 24th (Sunday Morning) 8am PST, every would-be D2DVD Scott Frank or William Goldman is going to send me the logline of a screenplay they’ve written. I will review them all, and pick the best three. I will post those three onto my blog that Monday (25th) and make appropriate commentary and give advice - the opportunity of a lifetime (or at least a cool way to kick off the week).

The Rules:

1. The loglines have to be 30 words or shorter. Show me what you got. Don’t give me crap. Crap I got. I want brilliance on a budget, and that starts with the logline.

2. The logline must be for a script that has been written and registered and/or copyrighted. If I request a copy of it the next day, it had better be in my in-box by the time I get back from lunch. If not: I WILL EMBARRASS YOU PUBLICLY. Yeah this is a stunt, but it’s the kind that leads to contacts, which could lead to jobs, which could lead to you actually moving out of your parent’s basement someday (okay, probably not). Act accordingly.

3. You can only submit something once. No second chances, so make it the best logline for your best script. If I see your name twice or my Scam detector goes off, then your emails will be deleted and you’ll be stuck in your parent’s basement. It's entirely up to my discretion.


5. See #4 above.

6. The subject line on the email should read: DISC/ontent Logline: (insert your title here)

Anything else gets you disqualified!

The body of the email should only contain:
The logline
Your name(s)
Where you are from and your current occupation.
Your email address

I don’t want to hear about how long you crafted this logline, how you had to sell a kidney to afford to write the script – I don’t care. The work is what matters. Besides, if I wanted a kidney all I would have to do is go down to Tijuana for the weekend. (And believe me kidneys are the last thing on my mind when I’m in Tijuana). No pictures, emoticons, animations, links or anything else that will eat up my email box space. I will not confirm that I received your email.

If you send your logline in early – disqualified. Send it in late – disqualified. I will only accept submissions between those hours. After that, you are S-O-L.

7. Send the email to:

8. No pro writers please. This is for the new meat. If you’ve made over $5,000 writing screenplays (this includes any contest money) then you are disqualified.

9. This must be your own work. It doesn’t count if it’s a sequel to someone else’s work. No STAR WARS: Episode 20, or SPECIES 4’s.

10. No Nigerian money scams. No spam. I already have a truckload of Saddam’s money winging its way into my bank account any time now. No questions. Everything you need to know is in this post. Read it. Put two and two together.

11. See rule # 4. THIS MEANS YOU.

If I do request a script, it’s for my reading (dis)pleasure. Please make it a Scriptware, Final Draft or RTF Microsoft Word file.

Now for all the paranoids out there:

1. Nobody’s going to steal your idea. You have the script registered, right? If not, then do so. You will be credited for your work should your logline make it to the final three. If not, your logline will never see the light of day. If you don't like my terms, then don't submit anything.

2. What do I get out of it? I get publicity for the blog. That’s what stunts like this are for, silly! I also get to find out who’s in the audience. Who listens to me? This makes for a better blog. A useful blog. It’s one thing for me to bitch about how bad the D2DVD scripts are that I do read, but if I don’t do something about it then I’m contributing to the problem.

3. I don’t guarantee anything in terms of industry response. I know that there are several Development Executives at D2DVD companies who track my work and this blog (not because of any restraining order mind you), and I am sending this post to many industry pros, but I do not represent you. You do not represent me. If they ask me for your email, I will forward their request to you. What you do is your business. You can’t hold me liable for what does or doesn’t happen.

4. This is a contest for exposure and feedback only. No money - at least not from me. Any side bets and so forth are done without my knowledge or permission. You get to receive feedback on your work, which is an important tool for your writing arsenal.

5. If the email is bounced back, try again within that 24 hr. period.

6. By sending me an email under the conditions above, you agree to these terms and will not hold me responsible should the outcome not go in your favor. That means if I don’t choose you or your logline, you can’t stalk me unless you’re Jessica Alba. (Just so we’re straight about this – you have to be Jessica Alba – not a look alike, and especially not a male look alike. I will check).

Good luck and see you on Saturday!


Anonymous said...

Bill --

I know you're doing this for your own reasons but heck, let me just say "thanks" in advance. This should be fun and, geez, maybe educational for a lot of us.


Bill Cunningham said...

I'm doing this for the reasons I said - I want people to know about the blog, and I want to know who's reading it. I want to make a better blog.

I'm very curious as to what's out there, who's out there, and what they're doing. That's going to be the fun part - discovering something new and good and well, professional.

So thanks in advance to all of you who participate and promote this stunt.

Anonymous said...

Hey, can u submit more than one logline?

Bill Cunningham said...

Are you not reading the blog?!!!

(That's a NO)

Anonymous said...

Bill --
When you email me a "send script" request, you mean I can't send you a PDF? Awww c'mon....

John S. said...

Just curious about this rule here:

"4. This is a contest for exposure and feedback only. No money - at least not from me. Any side bets and so forth are done without my knowledge or permission. You get to receive feedback on your work, which is an important tool for your writing arsenal."

Are you going to be making a movie of this winning screenplay and selling it on DVD? If so... Does the writer retain full rights to the screenplay and at least get a copy of the DVD?
Thanks in advance.