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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ripped From the Headlines Competition

Okay Wavers, let's try something new and different. I have pulled three local stories from the LA Times and here's what you're gonna do. Using the three stories as a jumping off point, write a compelling premise line for a feature script.

Here are the three stories:

Restaurant breakfasts make come back in LA

Deaths at Pasadena hospital scrutinized

Melrose residents on guard after 7 armed robberies

And here is what I suggest:

Restaurant breakfasts: Your character might be a patron or a restaurant owner or a chef. This might be a new restaurant or an old one trying to reinvent itself. The recipes and food noted in the actual article are unimportant unless you can find a way to make that compelling and necessary to your story. The restaurant could be a halfway house employment hub, it could be minority or celebrity owned - the sky is the limit. That's the point of this exercise.

Pasadena hospital: You might focus on the a particular (fictional) patient, the celebrity doctor, the location, medication, etc. Ditto sky's the limit.

Melrose crime wave: Point of view of the robber - a victim - both. Violet crime. Funny crime. Crime wave. Crime syndicate. Sky. Limit.

Remember, this is all as a jumping off point. Is this a comedy about a restaurant owner who can't keep up with the new trend of breakfast dining who then robs people on Melrose and is hospitalized only to become the hospital's new cafeteria pancake whiz - UNTIL one of his robbery victims checks in to the hospital for revenge?

Premise line must be no more than four sentences (we're cutting a lot of leeway for this one). Genre does not matter. Premise line must be accompanied by a great title. Make sure your premise line includes a set up, a complication and a cliff hanger. Make sure the genre is crystal clear (the title will help with that as well). Make us get excited about reading this non-existent script. Can you find a hook somewhere in these headlines?

Monday, August 25th, 12 midnight, Pacific Daylight Time.

The usual - a $25 gift certificate to Amazon, Starbucks, AMC Theaters - a business you enjoy patronizing but not in a mean way, close to where you live or online.

Submission and Fees:
Free as the day you were born. Submit HERE.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Julie, can you give an example of a premise line? Is it a short synopsis? longer log line? Boy, do we really need another term? :-)

Kirkland said...

Submission and Fees:
Free as the day you were born. Submit HERE.

Ouch! That much? Sheesh. I still think I owe the hospital money and the doctor keeps threatening to send me back to the womb if I don't pay up..

Julie Gray said...

Okay this is a fairly lame, off-the-cuff, took-me-3-minutes example of a premise line:

When a timid restauranteur faces bankruptcy, his waitress lover talks him into going on a Bonnie & Clyde crime wave of holding up pedestrians late at night. The plan works until the two-faced waitress tips off the cops and the restauranteur is arrested and put in a mental facility for testing. Betrayed, he turns to the one love of his life - cooking. Until his sous chef recognizes him from the late night mugging that landed him in the same hospital as his attacker. There's only room for one cook at Sunnybrook Farm; who's it gonna be?

ACK! That's five sentences. Broke my own rule. I so won't be a finalist. But you get the point :)

Kirkland said...

There's only room for one cook at Sunnybrook Farm; who's it gonna be?


(Light bulb moment!)

Oh, I know: Rebecca!

Dave Shepherd said...

Oh I like loglines... I should be good at this.

Seth said...

Can we send in more than one?

E.C. Henry said...

Julie, this was a very fun exercise. Thought about it for three days and just e-mailed you my three offerings. Hope you like 'em!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Curious George said...

Okay, Julie. I gave it a shot, Just sent my entry in.