Logline Diagnostics!

Brilliant, honest and adopted teenage girl [PROTAGONIST], fights school corruption among her parents-teachers association, students and staff [ANTAGONISM] stops a spoilt school boyfriend from becoming prefect, indeed causes general students’ moral rebirth. [GOAL].


An analysis of emphasized logline components indicates the Protagonist as main character through whose eyes audience experiences the story. The audience feels or shares in the total struggle against the antagonist through the protagonist’s point of view.


In many instances the audience sees protagonist as an unwilling participant, indeed that character (they/he/she) forced into a rising and falling actions and emotions from activities and dialogue in the screenplay story.


The Protagonist’s name should not be in the logline. Only when our protagonist is a well-known character in real life, would the use of name quickly define, who protagonist is. It will be so with Presidents Donald Trump (USA) or Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria). To that extent an Unknown Protagonist must be fully defined or described. Brilliant, honest and adopted teenager states clearly that we are dealing with an adopted teenager; industrious and honest pupil or student.


Note the irony or contradictions in the Protagonist: Brilliant, honest and adopted teenager. Such teen-role may never be imagined for fighting corruption practiced in a corrupt school system. This identity raises risks or dangers for the Protagonist or Main Character; acting against use of school resources to favor undeserving or lazy students.


Fighting school system corruption is the brilliant, honest and teenage girl’s Goal. The protagonist will not start, be caused or forced to challenge or fight corruption in the school, if there is no reason, objective or goal. The audience also will easily identify with his or her objective.


However some goals are not easily understood or felt by the audience. Otherwise a protagonist that fights evil will easily enjoy audience following, compared to one that lives, represents or enables evil. Such a (d) evil is unusual and morally unacceptable, but must be a believable protagonist.


You might call him or her the unlikeable (potentially evil protagonist), John Wayne Cleaver in I Am Not a Serial Killer. https://www.tor.com/2010/05/14/the-unlikeable-potentially-evil-protagonist/. A sociopath, an antisocial personality, who kills with glee, yet he also reveals human elements of sympathy and engagement with others. Various audiences may identify with him or her as bad/unpleasant/scary.


This calls for functional recognition of protagonist and antagonist’s three-dimensional characteristics. While loving the ‘good guy’ Protagonist, it is also possible to have a ‘bad guy, as ‘Protagonist’, who needs to be stopped by Antagonist. Doing so marks out the Antagonist, who may be made up of a collection or composite antagonists or issue etc. To a necessary end also the Antagonist must be a strong force to challenge the protagonist’s weaknesses. That way the latter will have bigger risks or higher stakes to face.


Stakes are the ingredients of captivating screenplay stories; because there is something always at stake between the protagonist and antagonist. To have the two opposing characters without important stakes, risks, dangers, incentives and rewards of prizes – better still higher objectives or goals- will defeat the role and function of a ‘stake character.’ The ‘stake character’ creates a three-way conflict triangle. Therefore in relation to the protagonist and antagonist it is about big risks or dangers, if they stand fail.


Stakes include one or more elements that must fill every Act of the screen story. Death Stakes – factual or symbolic are the single most powerful elements that constitute big obstacles. That will mean the death of the either opposing story drivers. There is always increasing likelihood of death in action/adventure, thrillers or horror screen stories.


Comedies and dramas do not entail the likelihood of factual death, perhaps metaphorical death applies. Heartbreaks among other emotional hurts could well account for death stakes in comedies and dramas. On the whole every unimportant character has some stake to realize, but the Protagonist, Antagonist, indeed the character has substantial roles and function to play.


Stakes achievable at any rate, at anyone’s risk can be seen as a three-way struggle: protagonist and antagonist fighting over whatever is stake. More so will the audience be attracted, enmeshed and enmeshed passionately.https://www.la-screenwriter.com/2016/01/13/who-cares-4-ways-to-raise-the-stakes-in-your-story/



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