Having sold eight High Concept projects myself, I can appreciate a great idea when I hear it. The best one I’ve ever heard is a movie script called, Top Ten that sold for seven figures.
Every time I’ve told the logline of that movie to my writing students, each one of their faces would light up. Every single one of them without exception got it with no additional explanation needed. And everyone including myself, wished they had come up with that idea first.
The genre of Top Ten is thriller. The logline is as follows: What if a serial killer who ranks number ten on the FBI’s Most Wanted list wants to become number one. So he decides to kill the other criminals who are ranked numbers one to nine.
In my opinion, that logline is second to none. It meets every requirement High Concept demands. It’s totally unique. It has mass audience appeal and the potential is obvious. It’s story specific meaning it has details within the logline that make it intriguing and compelling. And finally, it can be pitched in a couple of sentences.
Now there is a third sentence to the logline that I left out. The FBI finds out about his plans and inserts one of its agents as number eight on the list. This last sentence is the hook even though the idea is strong enough without it. It adds the element of personal danger and now we know who the hero will be.
This three sentence logline is brilliant because of its originality, simplicity and brevity. Why the studios never produced the script is a testament to their stupidity.
- More Writer’s Edge articles by Steve Kaire
- Does Your Execution Suffer From E.D.?
- Ask the Expert: How to Sell Your Small Town Story
- Concept is King
Tools to Help:
- Writing High Concept Screenplays That Sell
- Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting Revised Edition by Syd Field
- Write What You Don’t Know: An Accessible Manual for Screenwriters