"Stealing Time" by William Wilson

Logline: A former psychiatrist has just found out his wife has only days to live, when all hope seems lost a mysterious man walks into his life and offers him the opportunity to save his wife by giving him the ability to steal "Time" from others, but all is not what it appears to be.

Genre: Drama - SciFi - Thriller

Cast Size: 10+

Production Status: Available (Please contact the author to negotiate the rights)

Contest: Feature ~ Round 1 of 3: Logline (Jan. 2011)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
2%20%38%35%5%

Comments Made During the Contest

Ammar Salmi (Level 5)

Ah, I want to read this right now. Really, great job man. But all is not what appears to be is a cliche in loglines get rid of it.

Audrey Webb (Level 5)

I like this idea. I think the logline needs a little tightening up, however. For instance, lose "but all is not what it appears to be". I think we can surmise that there will be a price to pay for anyone who steals time from other people. Add a period after "only days to live" and start the new sentence with "when". I don't think you need "walks into his life". It's a bit of a cliched saying and really adds nothing to your premise.

I would definitely go see this movie based on the kernel of your idea. Nice.

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

Nice Faustian pact with the devil story. Yummie! Definitely a movie I'd like to see.

The logline can be tightened a bit, made a bit shorter, but I can envision a movie so it is okay.

Bill Clar (Level 5)

Title: It's a nice double entendre.

Story: The concept of stealing "time" is vague. Is he stealing their life? Their soul?

There's no such thing as a free lunch, so I'm not hooked until I know what's at stake for the psychiatrist. He revives his wife, then what? What must he accomplish for the mysterious man?

Craft: It can broken into two sentences at the first comma. "Time" should be lower case.

Omit the phrase "walks into his life". It's enough to say a mysterious man offers him this opportunity.

Brian Howell (Level 5)

Good title, good set-up, interesting concept. This could really be an interesting glimpse into human nature. What came to mind was a movie where someone was given a box, by pushing a button in that box you would receive 1 million dollars, but somebody would die. I never saw the movie, but the idea intrigued me. Same here with yours, the idea is interesting.

The reason I never saw that movie is the previews didn't excite me. I kind of feel the same here. The logline seems structurally sound. There is conflict and emotion, even some unknowns, but for some reason it doesn't have me on the edge of my seat. Perhaps you could give a little more as to why things aren't as they seem. This might help me decipher what kind of movie this will be; an action? Comedy? Drama? Suspense? Don't get me wrong, this is good, but I feel like it could be more.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

I like the title. It seems appropriate for the the story you've laid out. The protagonist is clearly identified as are his ally, the antagonist and the goal. The genre seems to be along the lines of a creepy psychological thriller, possibly bordering on horror depending on how things play out.

I guess my main problem here is that this seems more like a premise than a succinct summary of the script. Like you've possibly only considered the first act of the film. You have an interesting idea nd have given some thought to characters and and how you'll set it up, but do you have the whole script in mind? The last line is vague which is why I'm somewhat concerned that you don't have a firm handle on the entire story. I feel like we need to know how or why all is not what it appears to be, but given the logline, it's impossible to tell if you're even aware of that yet. We don't really have any idea what obstacles he'll need to overcome or what's at stake beyond the obvious (his wife's life.)

Additionally, it's a bit of a clunky run-on sentence. I feel ike it could be trimmed down to be more succint or separated into 2 shorter sentences to enhance the flow and make it less clunky.

This is my first review and I will come back to to it to make sure my score is in line with the rest once I've reviewed a few more.

Caroline Bucholz (Level 3)

Hasn't there been something similiar to this already on the big screen, starting Cameron Diaz and Jason Marsdon, Just a thought, Could be a very cool idea, depending on where you take it, Love that it doesn't contany alot of useless bits of information. Clear and percise, Love that.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

This sentence is WAAAAAAY too long - and isn't even properly constructed as a sentence.

This is one sentence which should finish with a full-stop:

A former psychiatrist has just found out his wife has only days to live.

Then...

When all hope seems lost a mysterious man walks into his life and offers him the opportunity to save his wife by giving him the ability to steal "Time" from others, but all is not what it appears to be.

Why did you capitalise and put quotation marks round 'time'?

This sounds VERY familiar. Is it based on an existing MoviePoet short? Or a film already made?

Charles Martin (Level 2)

Sounds Intriguing. I hate it when someone tells me they can steal time from others to help me save a loved one then welch out! I have fallen for that one a couple times in the past and unfortunately last week aswell, with my wife. I threatend to sue him but he insists he knows of this old pet cemetary where he can bring my wife back from his incompetant time stealing scam. Wish me luck.

Chris Keaton (Level 5)

Nice title and a pretty decent logline. But I think some reshuffling would make it better. For example:

"A former psychiatrist is given the ability to steal time from someone else's life to add to his dying wife's existence, but some powers come with a cost."

That's not perfect, but another step to the super logline you could have. Either way I'm giving it a VG.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

Perfect title.

This is a great high concept film. I am totally hooked and I really hope I get to read the first ten pages.

I don't know how important it is that we know he is a "former psychiatrist" and I do want to know a bit more about the twist, but those are small quibbles.

This is great.

Christina Anderson (Level 4)

First, you should know I'm dismayed at finding yet another time movie.

I feel the logline is too vague. Potentially the best part of your script (and all good movies have great endings) is twisted up in this hurry-up cap you've crammed it into.

The opening is redundant; 'just found out' overdramatizes, it gives too much hype to a very tiny aspect of the story. The 'when all hope seems lost', is better. I think it should be the start, because this is when ex-psyc's adventure really begins (and you get dug-into the point of your script).

Claire Fishman (Level 3)

I like it, but your logline is a run-on sentence. That first part before the comma break can be its own sentence. Then the second sentence should be: "When all hope seems lost, a mysterious..." You can use multiple sentences in a logline, you just need to keep them brief (which you did, so that's good). Just watch the grammar.

The concept sounds pretty interesting. The title is alright, and while I can see that it fits, I feel like it could have something with a little more energy.

Dan Delgado (Level 5)

You've got a unique idea and I think it could be interesting, but you're only giving us the set-up. The only hint at what the story is going to be about is: "...but all is not what it appears to be." Which isn't telling us anything. Why does the mysterious man pick him, what does he want? Is there a trade-off -- you can save your wife, but..."?

You tell us: "...but all is not what it appears to be.", but you don't really tell us what it appears to be. This looks like the kind of story I like and it's probably a good one, but I don't think your logline is doing a good job of selling it.

Good luck.

Denise Jewell (Level 5)

Title: Excellent

Logline/Craft: Well written, but I'd like to see some characteristics of your characters (did I just say that?). Also, tell me more of what's goin on. "All is not what it appears to be." Duh.

Story: I didn't mean to be harsh above, just helpful. I REALLY like this idea - I'm a sucker for anything sci/fi like and especially involving time. I'm going to rate you high based mainly on the idea, not the logline.

Ed Jones (Level 4)

Is there such a thing as a 'former' psychiatrist? He may no longer practice but the fact that a 'mysterious man walks into his life' with an 'opportunity' suggests he is able and active. Quite how a psychiatrist can grant supernatural powers is a question of a different order, even taking into account 'all is not what it appears to be.'
By now you will have got that I am not sold on this; I feel the plot is too contrived. If it had an ironic tone I might have believed anything.

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

This is one really long sentence. The premise of the story is very appealing to me but the logline needs work. If the writer breaks this logline into two or three sentences, the impact of the premise would be greater. Consider something like: “When a retired psychiatrist discovers his wife is about to die, a mysterious man offers him an opportunity to save her. But, when the psychiatrist learns he must steal “time” from others, he has doubts about how he should proceed.” The title is perfect for the story!

Gavin Bale (Level 3)

I commend you for dreaming up an exceptional idea for a plot. I can totally envision the story unfolding in my head. The only thing wrong with it is grammatical. A period after "live" along with a comma after "lost" would help. A more concise re-write with just as much detail, would improve it dramatically. The title, I'm not so sure about either. Otherwise, good job.

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

Very good title, certainly sets the tone. The logline is also very good. It is the right length, long enough to explain the story but without unnecessary words. I also like that you end the logline with a reason for us to want to know what happens next. One very minor point, I don't think you need to do this all in one sentence by over using commas. I suggest a period after "live" and a comma after "lost".

Heather O'Connell (Level 4)

I love this idea. I assume you used "former psychiatrist" for a reason, so would love more of a hint as to how that comes into play. Does he steal time from past patients. I want to see where this one goes.

Herman Chow (Level 5)

Very, very high concept. And I liked it.

I had a short script that deals with time, and I did temper with stealing time once until I settle for slowing down time. So I'm pleased that someone is going that route.

The concept aside, I think the logline fails to give us the antagonists, the obstacles and the stakes. Everything in the logline is mostly setup and a little bit of Act II. So what does the psychiatrist trying to achieve here? Him saving his wife is not his main goal of this script, I assume. Instead, the "all is not what it appears to be" should be the meat of the story. And I need to know what it is until I can feel for the story.

Again, I loved the premise, but the logline has some problems.

GOOD.

Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)

Worded well. Some similarity to the story "The Box". So I can not say that it is entirely original. Clever title.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

First impression: Wow.

This seems like it would be very touching. Stealing "time" from others, meaning he will be shaving life off of others to conserve his wife's? That is incredible. I would love to see this. Have to give you an excellent.

A very interesting story in a very well crafted logline.

Just read this again and love it. Great premise.

Jon Hill (Level 4)

A great concept and a great title.

I would trim the logline as it's a little too long for my liking. For example, I didn't like the "has just found out" part.

I didn't like the "walks into his life" part... it's just cluttering the logline.

Jose Batista (Level 5)

This has the promise of a Blockbuster. The title, the logline, the whole premise is just awesome. This is an excellent concept and whether or not you make it in the contest, I seriously urge you to move forward with this idea. My only gripe would be the end, "but all is not what it appears to be." That is expected, however, I would suggest framing that in words that are less used. That phrase is old and used, but it did get the point across. Excellent work, I very much hope to see this move into the next round.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

I think there should be a period before when.

Steal time from others that's very interesting and that is fresh. "All is not what it appears to be" is too general for me, I don't know what it's leading up to.
Fine concept though. I'd want to read it actually.

Kirk White (Level 5)

good premise, I think the actual logline could use a tightening, it's a little wordy.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

This story appears to be a drama with some mystery and romance. There's internal conflict as the former psychiatrist protagonist deals with his wife's medical condition. Externally, the mysterious man seems to force the psychiatrist to make a decision; accept help for his wife, but it will be at the expense of someone else. A definite moral dilemma.
All the information needed is contained in the logline. Might add another dimension if the psychiatrist is not retired; perhaps some of his current clients would add interesting and relevant subplots. The single sentence could easily be broken in two and provide a slightly smoother read. The ending, "...all is not what it appears to be" may be a given and probably omitted without losing the essence of the description.
The title is a perfect fit.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

Should be "to live. When all". Loglines should have perfect grammar/puncutation/spelling.

Isn't this almost exactly the same logline as "The Box"? It's probable that your plot and twists will differ, but then you should hint at that in the logline.

Lewayne White (Level 4)

Could probably be tightened a bit to get to the protagonist and his wife, the offer, and the consequences.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

The title has been used. Don't despair, though. The film was released in 2001 with a different title and then re-released with this title in 2003, so it couldn't have been very good... I do like it better with your premise, too.

I think you need a period after "days to live." It reads as a separate sentence.

I don't think you need the cap or the quotation marks on "Time."

"...but all is not what it appears to be..." This is a cryptic and stock statement that makes me think you couldn't think of several possibilities. Maybe you don't really have an ending in mind... Maybe you were rushed for time and just shipped this out... Maybe you were tired and you couldn't think of a more original way to get say what you're saying... There could be more reasons behind it, too.

I really like the premise. Work on a new title and new phrasing that makes your story stand out from the crowd...

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

This idea feels familiar. I can't put my finger on it though.

Is your description, "former psychiatrist". supposed to clue us in on his personality? I think you may be able to choose better adjectives for this character. This sounds interesting but "all is not what it appears to be" is a vague statement. To me, statements like that are the easy way out. Give us a clue as to the problems he runs into. You don't have to be specific but give us more than a vague statement.

This sounds like a pretty good idea, although I think something along these lines has been done, and I like the title and how it fits in with the logline. Very good job.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

There are some grammatical issues here that stop it flowing. The first comma should be different punctuation, a dash or period would do, and the whole thing is a run-on

"Time" does not need to be in quotation marks, or have a capital letter.

This idea sounds interesting, but I'd like to know more about "all is not what it appears to be". What downsides are there?

Michael Berg (Level 4)

It's okay to use two sentences, and you need at least two for this. You don't need to put quotes around the word that's in your title, in fact don't ever do that. If your title happens to fall into the description, that's fine, just don't purposely put it in there... it plays out as though you think the reader/producer/agent isn't smart enough to understand the connection -- and you don't ever want to insult them!

Like the idea, not the title.

If you have run together sentences in your logline, people will think your script will have the same problem.

Michael Hughes (Level 4)

The logline and title are good. I think it needs a bit more to grab the reader though. The story concept itself is interesting, so I think it is the characters who might need a bit more to get this to jump. I was curious about the "former" psychiatrist. It seems you might be hinting that he something drove him out of the profession. Perhaps a few words describing why he no longer is a psychiatrist might push the story harder and make the moral choice he faces more dramatic.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5)

Title: great, I like this a lot and it fits well with the premise.

Logline: 'all is not what it appears to be' - please don't be so vague, please tell us what's going on, we want to know so we can tell if it's our kind of story or not.

You give us a set-up but no actual story? What happens? What are the stakes, the obstacles, what makes this exciting? Is this an action story or sci-fi or adventure? or thriller? I really want to know, that's what a logline is for, to tell us and entice us.

Nick Miranda (Level 4)

This is a good attempt. The idea is there, but the structure is off. This should be at least two sentences.

I'm not a fan of the last line. It's cheap and tells me nothing. I'm assuming that things aren't what they appear since the guy was described as mysterious and that this has to be some kind of Faustian deal-with-the-devil story. Just leave it off completely.

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

Nearly excellent, the final sentence is quite crappy, seen too often in other loglines. Its a cliche.

Paul Williams (Level 5)

Title: Good, seems fit for your story.

I think it's a really cool idea for a story. I like the moral and philosophical questions it poses.

My main concerns were with the logline structure itself. I think this would have worked better as two sentences. I found some punctuation issues here. I think a period, or a re-arranging of the sentence, is preferable after "live." A comma should probably be placed after "lost."

Pete Barry (Level 5)

A devil of a deal: this sort of tale would make Rod Serling proud. You've got a moral conundrum with high stakes, assuming "Time" is what we all think it is: shave off minutes from someone else life.

You do, however, suggest that it's something more compliacted than that, and that undoes a lot of what you've built up. If the scare quotes and the last phrase are to be believed, that's maybe not what happens at all. What am I missing? You've made it a little too mysterious - "not all is what it appears to be" could mean anything, and certainly adds no information or emotion to the logline. It's essentially the writer saying "I'm lying to you" up front, which is off-putting and renders the logline almost useless.

The run-on nature of the sentence also lessens its power. Much of it could be shortened, but at the very least you could break it into seperate sentences. When you've got multiple uses of the same word or phrase - for example, "his wife" - you've got to shorten the sentence or break it up. Just combine the instances and you'll see how quickly the thing streamlines itself: "A former psychaitrist gets the opportunity to save his dying wife..."

It's a bit tangled and muddied, but I bet there's a story underneath it all; more detail and more straightforward, and the logline could really sell.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

The title sounds good to me.

The premise sounds like it has lots of potential for drama and tension, as well as having a good moral dilemma.

The logline technique is pretty good in explaining what you have in mind. For me I'd suggest seeing if you can tighten it up and get it to pack more punch. For example "has just found out" could be "is told", "has only days" might be "has days". Do you need "walks into his life and" or ", but all is not what it appears to be"?

Can you be a "former" psychiatrist? This makes me wonder if you could describe the guy in a more engaging way.

Razvan Badea (Level 3)

An interesteing premise, but it sounds familiar. Still, if it's entertaining and well written I'd like to see it. I'm also interested in seeing how the fact that he's stealing time will go wrong. Also I like the fact that he's a psychiatrist and I hope that will play a big part in the story.
The title is not that special, but it's a good fit for the content.
The logline is good. It's not too long and it gets the point across.

Rich Keel (Level 4)

I like the idea itself so I am giving you "Very Good." I'm not a very good logline writer so I will not critique anymore than whether I like the idea or not.
Good luck to you this month.

Robert Chipman (Level 4)

An interesting logline here, that seems reminiscent of something from "The Twilight Zone".

I will be honest, when I first read the logline, I laughed when the ability to steal "Time" was mentioned. I initially thought, steal Time Magazine. Anyway, there are a few puncuation errors here. After "days to live" you probably should have put a period there. Also a period could probably be used after "Time from others". As such, this whole logline is one sentence.

Besides those issues, I feel the logline idea is sufficent and I am going to rate this logline entry as good.

Robert Newcomer (Level 4)

1) Error free? The author would be better served to split this up into a couple of sentences.

2) Do I know what to expect? Yes, the tone here seems pretty straight-forward, and the fact that "all is not what it appears to be" is par for this territory.

3) Clear character(s)/compelling goal? We can all relate to the husband, whose primary goal is to save his wife. You hint at the emergence of another obstacle, once the time-stealing begins, but it is fine to keep that secret for now. Enough of the story is revealed.

4) Sounds like a marketable film? Yes, particularly if it has a happy ending. People who go to see these sorts of films are upset if they do not get a happy ending. A wise author would respect that.

5) Do I want to read the script? It is not the sort of story that I normally seek out, but I can still acknowledge the appeal of this logline.

Very Good.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

Nice title. To the point and it tells what the story is going to be about. The logline needs work. The first line isn't good grammar. It should read 'A former psychiatrist finds out his wife only has days to live'. the next line is fine, but the last part is weak also. It doesn't tell us anything.

How about something like

A former psychiatrist who finds out that his wife only has weeks to live, makes a bargain with a mysterious man to save his wife, by stealing time from other people.

Good luck on this, the story seems really intriguing.

Stephen Brown (Level 5)

Strong premise and stakes for this one. It feels very 'twilight zone'.
My main concern is whether the premise has been done before as it sounds quite familiar.
Still I would like to read the first ten pages and make my decision from there.
Caught my interest so a very good from me.

Steve Lewis (Level 3)

I'd say this is Fair as a logline. It's a long sentence which could be trimmed and/or punctuated to better effect I think. "walks into his life" seems a little cliched to me, while "mysterious" and "not what it appears" tend to imply much the same thing in many ways. I also have no feel for the genre: this could be a sad romantic drama, a sci-fi film, a horror thriller etc...some more clues as to what kind of film I might be reading/watching would be helpful.

T. James DeStein (Level 5)

Very mysterious. Stealing time is a pretty cool concept, that makes me want to see the movie. Who's this mysterious guy though? He's such an important part of the story, he should at least have a little bit of explanation to help the next big mysterious part of your story.

Teo Gonzalez (Level 4)

Pretty, pretty good.

I like the title, which fits perfectly to the expectation it rises as well as to the story.

The story is ingenuous and interestin, and I definitely would want to see this movie.

The logline is pretty good, too, but I would cut the very last part. I would say that anyone reading the beginning of the logline would expect what the end states, but reading about it takes away from the story -at leaast, it did it to me.

I give it a very good grade.

Good luck.

Tim Westland (Moderator)

Title: On the nose. But not bad.

Logline: The first half of your logline can be easily tightened...

After a man discoveres that his wife has just days to live, a mysterious man appears and offers him the ability to 'steal time' from the lives of others and give it to his wife.

There... totally set up (a bit long, but still - it sets up the movie).

The next part though is up to you... because "but all is not what it appears to be" is really just a writing cop out. It tells me you either don't know the stakes and all, or you want to keep it a mystery. Either way, that makes this logline fails.

However, I like the idea of the story so much that it saved your score a bit. You'll likely make it to the next level with this.

Wayne Morrical (Level 4)

Title is good. This sounds like a twilight zone episode. Maybe another storyline in the logline would help this sound more compelling. Stealing is morally wrong, so the psychiatrist by 'stealing' is automatically going to seem like a selfish bad guy. Borrowed Time, might be a better title and the idea of 'borrowing' is not morally reprehensible, and implies it will need to be paid back somehow, and for me is more interesting.

Wes Worthing (Level 5)

Creative concept - should make producers sit up and take notice. "...but all is not what it appears to be." is overused - name specifics so I'll know how original your twist may be. Fitting title. I think this should move on to round 2.

William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)

TITLE: Love it, fits right in with the logline, a sum-up, if you will. Excellent.

LOGLINE: fantastic concept, if executed, a blockbuster. A few issues with the actual logline, however: "A former psychiatrist..." why former? The word is clumsy -- are you ever really a former? If his license to practice was revoked, sure, but a licensed MD is a licensed MD. If his licensed was revoked, important part of the process, shows him to be easier led into the "stealing" aspect rather than just love, which adds to the level of tension and plot. If he is retired, than use retired. I would definitely get rid of "former".

The logline is one sentence, and a run-on at that. The logline needs to be constructed better than currently constituted. Three sentences here would work rather than one. Break it up and get rid of the cliches, "...when all hope is lost" and "but all is not what it appears to be".

I am marking this high on title and concept. It's one of the best concepts I've read and with a properly executed logline, it will get plenty of requests.

I will say that you have all the elements in the logline, just rethink how you've stated those elements.

William D. Prystauk (Level 5)

Sounds like "The Box" meets Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree." Just clean up the logline to avoid repetition. Don't just say "but all is not what it appears to be" - because he's stealing time from others and cutting their life short, so the moral dilemma for the main character has to be brought to light. And what's the importance of him being a former psychiatrist?

Good title for the tale.


Comments Made After the Contest

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 3/1/2011 12:35 AM

I thought this was great and I'm disappointed it didn't make it to the next round.

Denise Jewell (Level 5) ~ 3/1/2011 11:11 AM

I gave this a VG and I am disappointed I won't get to read this. I love sci-fi time stories. Hope you continue to work on this.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 3/1/2011 4:31 PM

William, I really like this. I thought this would have made top 3 or at least an honorable mention. Great, great work. Would LOVE to give it a read if you will.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5) ~ 3/1/2011 5:02 PM

I gave it a VG too. --I think it came very close. 35VG - that's high. Great concept!

William Wilson (Level 3) ~ 3/1/2011 9:25 PM

I really appreciate the reviews and the comments made after the contest I especially enjoyed. My logline didnt reach the final thirty cut but in all honestly this is the first logline I've ever written and if you start at the top of the mountain there is nowhere to go but down, (so silver lining) sometimes its ok to start at the bottom haha

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 3/1/2011 9:30 PM

So William, is it finished? If so, can I read it?

Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 3/1/2011 9:59 PM

I'm very surprised that this didn't move on to the ten pages!!

Herman Chow (Level 5) ~ 3/2/2011 12:14 AM

I should've bumped this up to a VG. I want to read this.

But can you give us a little hint as to what: "But all is not what it appears to be." is?


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