Loglines suck. Even for optioned writers, writing a compelling logline can be a daunting challenge. I know this because I’ve personally given written feedback on over 1,400 loglines, and in that group, I came across maybe ten that were flawlessly written.

Of course, “flawless” is a matter of opinion, but in my experience, I’ve found that great loglines tend to share certain characteristics. They are concise, creative, carefully constructed, story specific, and clear. I’ll get into what I mean by all of that below, but first, let’s address the elephant in the room…

Do I Really Need a Logline?

Yeah, you do. Here’s why.

I’m a…

(L-R) Jack Quaid as Ben and Maya Erskine as Alice in the romantic comedy “PLUS ONE,” an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

The rom-com is back! Thanks in large part to Netflix movies like Set It Up and Always Be My Maybe and theatrical releases like Isn’t It Romantic, audiences (and more importantly, producers) have opened their hearts and minds to a new generation of romantic comedy — a genre that will always have its tropes and expectations, but that is finally making its leads — both male and female — a little more true to life.

I recently had the chance to interview Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer, the writer/directors of an excellent new addition to the rom-com canon, Plus One

Matt Lieberman is having quite the moment. Since 2018, a whopping seven films have been produced from his screenplays including The Christmas Chronicles 1&2, Scoob!, The Addams Family, and the upcoming films Free Guy and Rumble.

I recently had the chance to chat with Matt about his writing career, his definition of “high concept,” and how not thinking of four quadrant scripts as “family films” has contributed to his success.

Angela Bourassa: I wonder if, to start things off, you could tell me a bit about your backstory — how you got interested in screenwriting, how you got your big…

This article originally appeared on Write/LA. It is reprinted here by the author with permission.

One of the hardest truths to learn about screenwriting is just how darn hard it is to break in. I think a lot of us (myself included) assumed when we wrote our first screenplays that we were talented enough and special enough and our idea was original and cool enough that it would win contests and sell. Little did we know…

If you’ve written three, six, or fifteen screenplays and haven’t yet managed to land a rep, get an option, or win a big contest…

(L-R) Writers / directors Bryan Woods and Scott Beck on set of the horror / thriller HAUNT, a Momentum Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Momentum Pictures.

I am not a horror person. A Quiet Place was actually the first horror movie I went to see in theaters because, while it looked terrifying, I was willing to risk the potential nightmares to see such a high concept film that John Krasinski repeatedly referred to as “a love letter to my children.”

Then I got the chance to see Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the writers of A Quiet Place, give a talk at last year’s Austin Film Festival, and my appreciation for these extremely talented and down-to-earth writers only grew. …

Show, don’t tell. It’s advice we’ve all heard over and over again, and it’s good advice. Frankly, it isn’t followed nearly enough.

But the “show don’t tell” mantra is incomplete, because there are certain bits of story information that simply need to be explained verbally to the audience. This is called exposition.

A wife comes home from work and says to her husband, “You know, I really hate my job. I’ve been thinking about quitting for the last six months.” That’s exposition — information that the writer needs the audience to know. …

This article was originally posted on LA Screenwriter. It is republished with permission by the author.

by Angela Bourassa (@angelabourassa1)

I had the good fortune this past year to win the Gold Prize in the sci-fi category at PAGE and to be a finalist with a different script at Austin. The year before, I had made the semifinals at Austin. Off of that semifinalist finish, I had meetings with two different managers and I thought, This is it. I’m breaking through.

You can imagine my disappointment when neither manager ended up signing me.

So my placements this year had me…

by Angela Bourassa (@angelabourassa1)

I have to begin with a confession — I’m not a Marvel person. I don’t get super hyped about these movies. In all honesty, I haven’t even seen all of them (I skipped both Ant-Mans and Doctor Strange, and I think I may have missed a Thor somewhere along the line).

Going into Avengers: Endgame, even knowing that the reviews were glowing and that this was going to be the culmination of about a billion storylines, I wasn’t expecting the world. …

This article was originally posted on LA Screenwriter. It is republished with permission by the author.

by Angela Bourassa (@angelabourassa1)

Plenty of aspiring screenwriters can write a good script. They know how to format, they know all about structure and pacing and even character development and arcs. But the big piece of the pie that keeps many scripts from being not just good but great is meaning — the illusive “why should I care” of it all. So you’ve got a cool story with twists and snappy dialogue about a cop whose wife was murdered and he’s out to get…

This article originally appeared on LA Screenwriter. It is reprinted here by the author with permission.

I want to make it clear up front that I am someone who co-founded and co-runs a screenwriting competition. I’m also a writer who has entered a lot of screenwriting competitions and had mixed experiences.

A few years back, I won the LA Comedy Festival screenwriting competition. I got a check for a $1,000, to hear my name announced at an award show, and to give a little thank-you speech. I even got a cool trophy. …

Angela Bourassa

WGA writer, mom, repeat binger of The Office

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