Welcome to my website! This place started as a blog where I wrote a logline every day, and I still somewhat keep up that habit, but the name isn't quite as literal these days. I also sometimes turn loglines into screenplays, which are all available to read, including some earlier drafts.

Whatever brought you here, I hope you find what you're looking for; if not, feel free to contact me!

It's Live

Just swapped my old blog over from Blogger. This should give me a little more ability to customize things and hopefully the new format will get me posting more than just loglines again. We'll see what happens.

2021/05/27 20:35 · Teddy McCormick

I have habits

Just acknowledging it. I like to use "struggles" in my loglines. "Struggles with," "struggles to," "struggles against." It's a useful word, but I probably over-rely on it.

My loglines also tend to be pretty formulaic - which, I don't think is a bad thing, especially for the purpose they serve. I'm not coming up with loglines to pitch, I'm coming up with ideas to keep my brain-juices flowing. The idea matters more than the presentation. But even still, it can't be a bad thing to try to force myself to break out of that, can it?

No real thoughts here, just, realizing it, saying it out loud.

2021/04/06 21:13 · Teddy McCormick

Overthinking Acts

I'm not 100% sure how common this is in other writing media like fiction or playwrighting, but screenwriting very much has this default structure. I can't say for sure how many movies abide by it, but I'd wager most screenplays follow it (whether closely or loosely), and I definitely think more modern movies follow this structure than follow any other structure. It looks something like this:


This is a super-simplified version of it, using terms from a couple different sources, but it gets the idea across. A lot of people will use their own versions of it, some more useful than others, but generally speaking, Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet, the Hero's Journey, the Story Circle, they all often find themselves (rightly or wrongly) laid out to look something like this.

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2021/01/19 19:17 · Teddy McCormick

Starting over sucks

Working on The Dragonslayers novel has been surprisingly painful.

So when I started writing screenplays, I, like many new writers, thought I was hot shit. I wasn't trying to write Citizen Kane, I was just trying to write slick action schlock, and thought I did a pretty swell job of it, too. I knew it wasn't perfect, but hey, I was pretty good.

Then I wrote my second screenplay, and on review, oof, my first one? Not very good.

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2021/01/02 17:42 · Teddy McCormick

Lessons From Home Alone

I rewatched Home Alone recently for the first time in years, and I was fascinated to see how late in the movie Kevin's traps came into play. In my memory, Kevin's booby traps vs. the Wet Bandits is the bulk of movie; in reality, it's just Act 3, and not even all of that.

There are actually a lot of other lessons to draw from Home Alone (particularly when to explain details, when to put them in the background, and when to skip over them), but I want to focus on its act structure, because I think it's actually really key to understanding the wild success of the movie - and it was a wild success, staying in theaters for something like nine months.2)

The movie can be cut pretty cleanly into three Acts, with the first Act being Kevin at home with his family, the second Act being Kevin fending for himself alone, and the third Act being Kevin fending off the Wet Bandits' home invasion. I think you can also draw a relatively clear line between Act 2a and 2b, with the division being the moment the Wet Bandits realize Kevin is home alone.

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2020/12/26 18:01 · Teddy McCormick

<< Newer entries | Older entries >>

Ordinary World - sets up what the world looks like before the story starts.
Setup - shows how the plot gets started
Inciting Incident - the protagonist starts pursuing the goal of the story
Stuff Happens - shows the consequences of pursuing the goal, good and bad
Midpoint - A turning point; typically where things transition from fun and games to difficulty and turmoil
Life Gets Hard - The bad guys get the upper hand
Darkest Point - It looks like the bad guys have won
Build to Climax - The protagonist pushes on regardless
Climax - The protagonist either wins or loses