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Logline Critiques

Lesson 9 from: Producing An Independent Film From The Grassroots Up

Michael Gottwald

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Lesson Info

9. Logline Critiques

Lesson Info

Logline Critiques

In a couple sentences, police described the crux of your film. Um, seventy five words or less that's a pretty standard length. So just you we all know what a log line is. That's what we're talking about here. Um, so yeah, if we have any options, we do have lots of submissions that came in. Thank you so much to everybody who submitted their log lines into our student work section in the gallery. Some great ones here, but we only have time to get through a couple. So we'll start off with this first one who was posted by erin and that the film is called cadence and you can check it out. Act eight ints the film dot com and here's a logline cadence, a psychological thriller about a young girl who's terrorized on her family farm after the arrival of her pop star boyfriends. Drunken bandmates. Yeah. Sounds interesting to me. I think I want to check this one out. Okay. Yeah. That's pretty specific. I'd want to know. I think what's missing there is, I just want to know a little bit more about h...

ow she's terrorized by them. It doesn't like it doesn't immediately equate to me like, oh, trunk and bandmates equals terror like does, like, I want a little bit so that could be a little bit longer, I guess it's it's not necessarily about length but given me a a little bridge plot wise as far as like what's going on in there no, the word that some of the boards log lines will give you too much but they're trying to cram it all in and seventy five minutes are seven five wars and you don't want to do that but this one I just there's it's got like a big like a premise and ah characters but there's just something missing there that connects connects like why she's being terrorized you know, like there's like no hint at their motivation or any kind of yeah I agree the like because to hear about drunken bandmates I could like ah, practice like up all night playing guitar right isn't there that sounds terrible. They're terrorized by the north like what? Yeah, some him tio what where's the danger there but it's intriguing I mean, it isn't treating very interested to learn what about that one? Okay, well, thanks for the feedback on that we will move ahead to another one here. This was submitted by the global sunrise project and for this film it is called the sunrise storyteller sunrise storyteller kasha who's sixteen embarks on a six month journey across the world to find out what it means to be a global citizen and she brings back stories of hope and resilience to inspire others to take action. You can check it out at the global sunrise project dot com is that I wonder if that's a documentary or feature film seems like a documentary ok, hard heart, actually, yes, it does say, and that there was a picture of the poster saying a documentary about what it means to be a global citizen. Gotcha, I'd want to get a little bit more specific about what she goes through I guess its specificity is a recurring theme here, but right, but like big abstract words like hope and I don't know what the other resilience, resilience, it's like, I want to know what that really means, and if if you walk me through the specifics and then the conclusion is that and that she realizes that that is what it means to be a global citizen. Uh, I want to go on that little mini journey with her through the course of the log line to get to that. But if you throw those words at me and then I am and then I'm talking about being a global citizen eyes to say, well, I don't know exactly what that film looks like or what her experience but her experience like what? What I'm going to experience minute to minute in that film with her which of course you can't really do in the seventy five word logline, but I just need a visualize it a little bit more, you know, like I do have a visual of what it means to be on a farm and being terrorized even if I don't know the motivations, I can sort of imagine that film this one is a little bit harder to imagine yes, now I mean, it does help that we these people have submitted some photos here, which we are the show that does give a little context, but I guess the point is you want that to come through just in the exits. But michael chamara and mark mensink and logline on savage ground a research team desperate to prove an ancient supernatural aboriginal legend is hunted on a remote indian reserve by something far more fearsome than they ever imagined. Yeah, I mean, I'm a little bit like ok, so was the thing they were looking for, the thing that is now terrorizing them it sounds like not yeah it's hard to tell but again and the yeah it does it just shows sort of an eerie backdrop, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Another comment I have just kind of a general question with eases the balance of providing enough information while still leaving a little bit of the mystery accurate and I don't I don't know maybe it's there's no easy answer for it maybe it does come down to just kind of depends on the situation, but I find often when I try to like, you know, right down long lines I don't want to write the whole story there now I want those twists, but, um I don't maybe know yeah, I think it is about being specific but also leaving something to be proud of that in that one they leave you like saying something like far greater or whatever it is fine as long as they as long as they're specifics about who the characters are and what they were originally looking for, I think it's fine to leave some things out. Um, but using two big broad words can can leave you feeling like I just don't know what that film actually looks like with the experiences, but with that when I think it's just a matter of flipping a little bit of the language instead of talking about what they're out to do, it could just use some clarification, I guess, but that one I mean, I'm in tree that's just about sort of like I would maybe phrase it is like they go out looking for this, but then they come to find this as opposed to like scientists who happen to be looking about this encounter something far weird, are more fearsome. I'm being a little nit picky here, like that's. Good that's, a critique, right?

Class Materials

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Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 1.pdf
Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 2.pdf
Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 3.pdf
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Michael Gottwald - Call Sheet - Filled Out.xls
Michael Gottwald - Sample Low Budget Documentary Excel Budget Total Budget.pdf
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Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

A top-notch presentation on indie film making. I learned a lot from this course which I hope to soon put into practice as I'm about to embark on my first indie film - as a screen writer for the first time out, but eventually I hope to write, direct, and produce my own film. Very easy to follow the presentations in this course, and the handouts I received when I purchased the course are quite useful.


Such a great course! Being an indie "Grassroots" filmmaker in the middle of three projects, I found what Michael shared to be very valuable. The way that he described the different aspects of producing and illustrated with examples was very clear and fresh. The course really opens you up to examine your own processes, what works / what doesn't and stirs up some new ideas on how to move forward. Thanks CreativeLive team for making the class happen!


This is a tremendous introduction to grassroots filmmaking. Michael takes you step by step through the various elements of film production and offers those so inclined a cursory understanding of what is required. Because filmmaking is a creative pursuit, the direction the individual filmmaker takes from there is entirely up to each. I would highly recommend this course to any one starting out in filmmaking. Well worth the cost. David W. King, Michigan Movie Magazine

Student Work