"Shooting Mr. Cool" by MJ Hermanny

Logline: Convicted for murder aged eight, a teenager escapes custody and sets out to find her idealised father. With a dogged detective on her trail and a cantankerous gunrunner in the car she steals, her craved reunion does not bode well. And daddy has a secret.

Genre: Action - Drama

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

Comments Made During the Contest

Adrienne Jorgensen (Level 4)

While I'm interested in the characters that are mentioned, I'm feeling a little confused about this one.

There's something about the style in which the logline is written that makes it feel disconnected from the story that is actually being described. 'Does not bode well' and 'cantankerous' may be the prime reasons for this. They seem respectively casual and quirky when what is being peddled seems to be a really dark story. Maybe it's just me, but I'm having a hard time getting over what I see as discord. I'd lose the cantankerous description and the craved reunion line, which doesn't really follow from the rest of the sentence.

I think that you mean that she was convicted of murder at age 8...

Ammar Salmi (Level 5)

It's good. I like it. But meeting her daddy doesn't seem like a perfect goal for a story like this. Raise the stakes.

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

Superb title! It seriously rocks.

Logline rocks even more! Teenage girl serial killer! I can see many events unfold, could definitely become a cool movie.

I think you could drop "And daddy has a secret."

Bill Clar (Level 5)

Title: Very interesting.

Story: The goal of finding her father feels random. It would be more powerful if the father were connected to the murder. Say he's on the run from crooked cops and he's the only one who can prove her innocence. There's your hook.

Craft: "Convicted for murder aged eight" should be "at the age of eight".

It reads as if she steals the car when the gunrunner is in it. This would make it the gunrunner's car and highly implausible.

Remove the last sentence or expand on it.

Brian Howell (Level 5)

Love the title!
Convicted for murder aged eight? Would that be "at the age of eight'? I didn't understand what was being said there.

IdealiZed father. Here it starts to get holes. Ideal implies an idea, unless you meant idolized, but I don't think so. So she's searching for what she pictures as the ideal father. Okay, that works until the closing statement, "daddy's got a secret"? Does this mean there is an actual father that she is searching for?

This isn't bad, but I'm not clearly understanding what she is searching for. This is good.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

I really like the title here. Very catchy.

The genre seems to be crime/thriller.

There isn't any spelling or punctuation errors here, but there is some poor wording. 'Idealised' is a verb, not an adjective so it is being used incorrectly. Also, the first few words of this are clumsy. I think you meant 'Convicted for murder at age eight' and not 'Convicted for murder aged eight'. Your choice of other adjectives seem rather strange to me... dogged detective, cantankerous gunrunner, craved reunion... All of those seem like instances where other adjectives would have been a better choice.

The protagonist and her goal are cleary identified, as are the antagonists. Some of the obstacles she'll face are present.

I don't like the vague last line. If her dad's secret is important enough to mention, you should tell us about it. Otherwise, don't waste words talking about it at all.

Based on what's written here, I do get the impression you could fill the pages of a feature with the story you want to tell, but I'm not entirely sure how credible it will be. An 8 year old being locked up for murder and then a teenage girl carjacking a gunrunner both just seem highly unbelievable right out of the gate. It makes me wonder if the script will have me rolling my eyes in disbelief the entire time.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

I liked the title and I liked the story idea. I could see a young Dakota Fanning in the role of the child - shame she's too old!

her idealised father - I'm not sure this works as a description. SHE idealises her father - you make it sound as though idealised is an adjective like over-weight. The same with 'craved reunion' - the reunion she craves

Anyway - I'd like to see it.

Very good!

Chris Keaton (Level 5)

Oh this was going down hill and then we got "and daddy has a secret". That was the humdinger. You are missing a word in your opening. It's got too many details that makes it hard to enjoy. You want these smooth. How log would you lock an eight year old up for murder?

"A teenager wrongfully convicted of murder must avoid a dogged detective on her run from jail in search of a father with a terrible secret."

Or something like it. You are close, keep working.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

There are so many "cool" elements here, but honestly, I'm having a little trouble seeing how they all fit together. I am intrigued by this runaway teen who was convicted of murder at eight, but her journey raises so many questions and the logline feels a little dis-jointed.

I think there is probably a really great story here, but it's not entirely clear in the logline.

Christina Anderson (Level 4)

First, the backstory is unflattering; 8-yr old killer is a story inside itself, and honestly more intriguing than the teen-escapee angle your going for.

Second, it needs strung together better. Especially that last piece about daddy is weird--like an old man in a trenchcoat watching the kiddies play.

Christopher Castle (Level 4)

I like the title. My worry is I'm not sure how it fits in with the story. Is she out to shoot her father, if so you need to say so.

Interesting protagonist and struggle but not sure why she now wants to find her idealised father and how she was brought up before the incident. It would help to understand her motivation. Sometimes it is hard to root for a convicted criminal unless they had just cause.

I like the line 'daddy has a secret', which adds intrigue.

The genre feels like a drama but also feels comedic at points.

Claire Fishman (Level 3)

Love the title, really like the plot. 'Convicted for murder aged eight' sounds a little awkward, maybe it's a word missing. The last line is totally awesome. It's a great hook and I'm really interested in what's going to happen. It's really dark and sets up the tone with the rest of the logline. I also love 'cantankerous gunrunner'. It just flows so nicely. Good work!

Dan Delgado (Level 5)

You've got a lot at play here for a set-up (and a hint of the end), but it seems fairly disjointed. An eight-year old girl convicted of murder seems fairly unlikely but I guess it's possible. Stealing a car with a cantankerous gunrunner is kind of pushing the implausibility meter a little higher. Convicted of murder at eight, escapes, chased by a dogged detective, steals a car with someone in it, who happens to be a cantankerous gunrunner. That's all set-up. Imaginative, but set-up. Sets out to find her dad and daddy has a secret. That's all I get of the story. You've got enough in your colorful logline that I can imagine my own story, but the logline didn't tell me what the story is.

Good luck.

Dave Kunz (Level 4)

I love "Shooting Mr. Cool." I love the 8 year-old murderer, the escape, the idealized father figure and I especially love the cranky gunrunner who just happens to be part of the combo platter when it comes time to steal some wheels. Well done. This needs a little bit of a polish (e.g. "Convicted for murder AT age eight..." and "...her craved FOR reunion..." etc.). But other than that this is my kind of story and you've done an excellent job here. One suggestion: You might want to change the father bit to: "...and sets out to find her father whom she idolizes."

Denise Jewell (Level 5)

Title: Very good. I'm curious as to who "Mr. Cool" is. Her victim? Her father? Someone else she and the gunrunner meet on their journey? I guess I'll have to read the script to find out!

Logline: Very, very good. You've got a very interesting protagonist, a mission, an opponent, an interesting ally. It feels like it's missing something, but I can't figure out what. Anyway, this is one of the best I've read so far. Good job.

Ed Jones (Level 4)

The excellent title is matched with an excellent hook. The story inbetween is one that gets my interest. But what a pity it was not delivered with more snap.
The first sentence gives us information but in an awkward way that lacks flow. 'Cantankerous' is a mouthful in an already long line, and would be better replaced with one of its synonyms (mean?)
'Craved' should be followed by 'for'.
'...does not bode well.' does not have the impact of, for example, 'seems doomed.'
Very good yet could have been excellent.

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

This logline is confusing to me because I do not know what the story is about. Is it about the father-daughter reunion, where the father’s secret is revealed? Is it about the daughter’s escape?” Or is it about the journey to the father? Interesting story but give the logline more focus! I am not sure about the title; Who is Mr. Cool? The father or he cantankerous gunrunner?

Gavin Bale (Level 3)

This is a sound idea for an action/thriller/drama. Title is interesting too. There are some grammatical flaws, and it sounds a bit forced, but I think a lot can be done with this, and it could turn into an exciting adventure. I'm not sure if an eight year old can be convicted or murder, though. The last sentence doesn't fit well. I think it should be blended into the previous sentence.

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

The title is interesting and appropriate. However, something as important as a logline should be free of grammatical mistakes. I'm sure you mean "Convicted of murder at age eight" and not "Convicted for murder aged eight". The rest is good and the last sentence is very good.

Heather O'Connell (Level 4)

You have done a good job of setting up the main character and the journey she will take. I think parts of this can become cliche, like the fugitive, but the teen girl could put a new spin on it. The reunion with dad leaves me wanting to know more. I like the title.

Herman Chow (Level 5)

"Convicted for murder AT age(no d) eight" - not really a good sign with two mistakes from the first five words.

Hmmm....I have mixed feeling about this logline. I can visualize some of the scenes, like how she breaks out of prison and evades the police, but some other details feel very random. I'm talking about the cantankerous gunrunner. What does he have to do with the story? And what you say the craved reunion does not bode well, it's because of the gunrunner, right? But why?

The last sentence is just like something really tacked on to add a final twist. So Daddy has a secret, but what's he gonna do about it? How is his secret affect our teenage protagonist?

This has all the good intention but somehow fail to elicit my interest. Sorry.


James Hughes (Level 5)

It sounds like you have the basis of a good story here. The writing in the logline might need some more work. at age eight. what is an idealised father? "her craved reunion does not bode well", I would update this somehow, it doesn't sound right to me. The last sentence feels tacked on. I still think I want to see the story because it seems to be filled with good characters so I am giving a very good. It would be excellent with some improvements to the logine writing.
The title isn't giving me any extra for the story. I'm not sure what it means or who it is referring to.

Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)

While the story sounds good, the logline could use some tightening up. The last sentence seems out of place. Perhaps put the daddy's secret idea right next to where he's first mentioned.

Jeff Ferry (Level 5)

I thought the title was very good. The idea is a very interesting and fairly orginal one. I think there is a lot of very good story elements in your logline. The logline itself was well written and conveyed the plot very well.

Jem Rowe (Level 4)

This one's really tearing me, but since I want to read it even though it's not what I'd usually go for, I'll give it a "Very Good". A "Very Good" but with plenty of flaws.

Firstly, the positives for me are the amount you managed to pack into this relatively short logline, and also the compelling nature of the central character, she really grabs my curiosity.

My main issue with the logline is the middle part in which the detective and gunrunner are mentioned, this part feels like it's straying away from the core of the story and just signposting some landmarks that will be seen on the way. I think what I'm trying to say is that your logline needs more focus on the throughline of the protagonist. For example, after the murder is mentioned it seems almost instatly forgotten to rest of the logline, where I would have thought the event, it's repercussions and her dealing with it would be far more central to the story. Drama like that seems more compelling to me than kooky characters.

Lastly, the final line I don't like at all. It seems like it should be in a tagline, not a logline. I figure, if this secret comes up in one of the first two acts of the script, then you may as well share it in the logline so we can get a better sense of the themes and ideas you're tackling, or if it comes up in the final act, why mention it at all?

Good title too, Well Done :)

Jeroen Bouva (Level 3)

It looks quite economical. You have managed to introduce 4 important characters, made clear that some of them are obstacles (though I wonder why she doesn't just throw the gunrunner out of his car) and a simple goal. I'm a bit surprised though that it's much easier to picture the detective and gunrunner than the more important characters. You give those two a simple character trait and the teenager and daddy could have used one too. The last sentence of your logline feels a bit disconnected, try to find a way to incorporate it more with the rest. The title is fine, I like it.

Jessica Burde (Level 3)

Title is unusual and interesting.

Logline is an awkward read. I'd suggest watching out for the prepositional phrases taking over your sentences. I think you may be trying to include info on too many characters. It seems like your key points are - escaped from custody, trying to find her father while dodging the law, her father has a secret that will cause further problems. Wording is also distracting in places. 'Idealised father' - I get you are saying that she has an idealized idea of who her father is, but the wording you have sounds like she is looking for some one who would be an ideal father. 'Her craved reunion . . . ' could be stronger if you used rephrased without 'craved' and with a stronger verb and descriptor on the threat - as it is the emphasis is on the reunion, and not the conflict/problem.

Story could be decent, but it's hard to get a good feel for the strength of the story itself from this logline.

Joel Davis (Level 5)

Right off the bad, a eight-year old protagonist who's a murderer pretty much sinks this concept for me. Even as a teenager it's going to be hard to identify with this protag. I like the specific obstacles, it paints a nice picture of the story. Credibility is difficult with this one -- if it's meant to be realistic then it's hard to believe that she would get very far and it would seem like it would be pretty hard to watch, but on the other hand if it's more of an action movie than the 8 y.o. murder and the daddy issues seem way too heavy for an action style plot. Still I like that you have a female lead and i think this could work, it just doesn't come across from the logline.

Kathleen Clevenger (Level 4)

I hope this is a comedy. I like the set up. The stakes are high, and your hero has an interesting back story. I'd like to read more. Who did she kill at age 8? Might be interesting enough to mention. Did she do it? If she is trying to prove her innocents, that might also be important to mention. If not, does she believe her father can protect her? What does she hope to get from him? Just some thoughts.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

The logline is interesting, reads like a thriller. The title is on a comedy side - so the two do not match.

When you say "daddy has a secret" - I think he's a pedophile. You may laugh at that, but that's what I thought. Maybe if you said and daddy has a secret that ...(would put both in danger) - in other words not give up the secret but add on. Most possible just an opinion and nobody else has "pedophile" come to mind at all.

murder aged eight - not at age eight? - I'm just curious if the others point that out, I'm no expert at that.
I think there's a way to rewrite that but I can't know better. Maybe someone does in his review. The story is good. Interesting.

Kirk White (Level 5)

I soooooo wanted to like this one, it seems like it could be fun. But it's just too clunky. And I think you meant to say "convicted for murder AT age eight", lack of proofreading is a def no-no for a logline...

KP Mackie (Level 5)

This story appears to be a drama, with some crime influence from the detective. Love the idea that the misbehaving protagonist is female. Her external struggle contains lots of opportunities for conflict as she travels to find her father and keep ahead of the detective. Internally, she's probably struggling with why he left her. Daddy's secret is great enticement.
Guessing the first line is supposed to read, "at age eight" instead of "aged eight." Although there's a reference to her as a teenager and "the car she steals" would be unusual, maybe impossible, for a youngster of eight years old. Or, perhaps the line's "at age eighteen." Wonder, also, whether "her idealised father," meaning he's a man with ideals, should be, "her idolized father," meaning she looks up to him. Might be hard to drum up sympathy for a young woman who is "convicted for murder"; likely need a compelling reason for the killing. Intriguing story idea would be conveyed better with some tweaking.
A unique and interesting title. Cool.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

Wow. That first phrase has me thinking: convicted of murder as an 8-year-old! There's an entire movie just in that phrase alone.

Unfortunately, the characterization doesn't seem to hold the same amount of promise. The teenager seems strangely naive for a child who has spent half her life in a juvenile prison. It's also strange that a gunrunner seems to come with the car. Not to mention the fact that an incarcerated teenager wouldn't know how to drive a car, much less steal one (technology changes rapidly over the ten years she's in prison, right?).

"daddy" should be capitalized.

The title doesn't really do anything for me. At first glance, it looks like a bad pun on movie-making. But the title doesn't hint at any of the logline's tensions: young vs. old, good vs. bad, idealism vs. reality.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

I like the title. It has a good flow and it establishes a mood for the story similar to "Get Shorty."

I think the first line needs some work. The writing here is okay, but it seems a little cut and dried.

I like the second line much more, and would like to see the two merged into one sentence, retaining the tone of the second.

The third line is a teaser, and I'm not crazy about those. They hit me as shortcuts and remind me of the "something ensues" lines.

There are no spelling or punctuation errors, and you've covered all of the bases pretty well.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

"Convicted for murder aged eight" at age eight?? This is sort of all over the place. I don't really get it. And that last line is totally vague. Give us some kind of clue. Interesting title though.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

Good use of adjectives to give an immediate idea of the characters.

All the characters are here and this logline gives a good indication of the structure up until when she meets her father and learns his secret (I'm already thinking the secret has something to do with her murder conviction, which would tie it together).

Very good.

Meghan Wolf (Level 2)

The clumsy grammar in this logline makes it difficult to read.
I think it may be missing an article in the first sentence.
Also, when you say the "craved reunion does not bode well" are you really talking about the reunion, or the journey to get to the reunion?
It is unclear as to who idealizes her father and why - better perhaps to just say long-lost father or something in that vein. It's trying to fit in too much information in just a word.
Is she 8 or a teenager?
Put the information about the stolen car at the top of the sentence, rather than the end - it is too important to be an afterthought.
The title doesn't seem to match the logline. Who is Mr. Cool?

Michael Hughes (Level 4)

I like the title and the story premise. Some of the specific wording threw me a little though. "Aged eight" seemed odd as I read it. "craved reunion" seemed strange as I read it too. That aside, I think you have set up a nice group of characters in a plot that could be fun. Perhaps a few words of description for the girl, since she is our main character.
Good luck.

Nick Miranda (Level 4)

The title is snappy and cool. The logline is a little clunky and some of the words kind of spill out of it.

I am not sure if I'm following the story. It kind of reads like a word salad of jazzy adjectives: "idealized," "dogged," and "cantankerous" are all completely unnecessary because they are getting in the way of the quick synopsis you are trying to tell.

Your last sentence was cheap! There's a difference between making someone want to read your story based on what you've provided and simply telling them out loud that they should because they don't know something important. In theory, many of the popular genre movies of the last two decades could be written in the logline of "Someone has a secret."

Olga Tremaine (Level 5)

Pretty good. Sounds like a complex storyline. Who is Mr. Cool, her dad?
I wonder what's daddy's secret...
Even though the logline is pretty good and gives me good character descriptions, the concept itself doesn't scream high concept. It's good but not great.

good luck

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

Dont know. You didnt make any errors although the sentence runs along a bit long. Could i see a violent ellen page here or is she younger still. Teenager is such a broad term. I could see this film on a poster but i dont like the hook/concept

Paul Williams (Level 5)

Title: Fun; fit for a comedy.

But who is the titular Mr. Cool?

This sounds adventurous and fun, but your screenplay's potential is not capitalized upon in this logline, as it is written here. Too much info is crammed in, typos, some things don't seem to make sense or come out of no where, and then the tacked on last sentence.

Take the advice from these reviews and give it another try with this logline. Good luck.

Pete Barry (Level 5)

Frankly, while the gun-toting teenager on the loose has merit, at first I thought this was a gun-toting EIGHT-YEAR-OLD stealing cars and looking for daddy, which would have made possibly the greatest crime-action-spree script ever written. No pun intended, but you kind of shot yourself in the foot, there.

Some odd word choices: her "idealised" father - so she's looking for a father figure, not a biological one? That's a pretty vague desire, much less direct than just trying to find her actual father. Her "craved" reunion is awkward - just drop the adjective. "Convicted for murder aged eight" is not grammatically correct and clunky - she's convicted for murder "at age eight" - which incidentally, had better be justified, or we're not gonna like this kid. "And daddy has a secret" adds nothing - it's a tease, not at all more interesting than the setup as you've laid it out already. "in the car she steals" has poor placement, gumming up the sentence by twisting the action around into an awkward place. And how exactly does she steal a car with a gunrunner in it?

It needs a cleanup, but there's a lot of fun elements here - tie them together, and you've got it made.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

The title works well for me.

The premise of this sounds pretty solid. It gives you effective stuff to work with.

The logline technique on this gets the concept across, but at the same time for me it could flow more smoothly and pack a better punch. Specifically I'm not sure that "bode well" is a good phrase, and the last sentence feels awkwardly bolted on.

Rich Keel (Level 4)

So her father was convicted when she was 8? I feel if that is true then it could've been written different to tell that so I did not have to read it three times to figure it out. She couldn't have been convicted at 8...so I had to go with what I said above. But my first seemed to point toward her being the killer at the age of 8. All the above had me confused in 5 words. That can't be a good thing. I think the idea is solid but the logline needs to be re-worked some so it's less cumbersome.

Good luck to you this month. the title is cool. :)

Richard Buckley (Level 4)

Although I think you have quite a well realised idea here, I feel your logline could be snappier, the age of your main character doesn't need to be mentioned personally. Your title is perfect. Because i'd like to read this i'm gonna vote slightly higher. VERY GOOD.

Robert Newcomer (Level 4)

1) Error free? You do have a typo, and occasional odd choices with adjectives; idealized, cantankerous, and craved. None of them wrong, really, just a bit "off".

2) Do I know what to expect? Yes, the story is laid out very well, with an interesting cast of characters in place.

3) Clear character(s)/compelling goal? The girl searching for her father is clear. Why she wants to find him is not, and that would help us understand her pursuit of this goal. The last sentence is not bringing much to the story.

4) Sounds like a marketable film? Tough call on this one. The title has a nice Elmore Leonard ring to it, but it does not seem to fit the story as laid out here.

5) Do I want to read the script? I would give the author a chance to hook me with the early pages of this script, as the car-stealing girl seems like an interesting character, but those pages would have to very good.


Rod Thompson (Level 4)

There is something stumbly about this one. I can't place it, but the problem...it's bothering me. I think that most of all, the abrupt ending doesn't finish as a cliffhanger, but more as a "okay, so what is it?" There is nothing that leads us, suspense-wise, so there is no need to care what the secret is. When JR got shot, people wanted to know who did it. Daddy's secret...not so much.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

Typo in the first line. Should be 'at' aged eight. And should it be 'Convicted OF murder' ? Should it be idolized father?

I think you've got a lot going on in the logline. Maybe too much information. When you have too many descriptive words, 'dogged detective' 'cantankerous gunrunner' it comes off a little bit over the top.

Starting from 'her craved reunion.... the logline falters a bit.

I don't know if the title fits the logline. Who is Mr. Cool?

Steve Lewis (Level 3)

This works for me as a reasonably Good logline. It has enough detail to tell me what I need to know, a bit of a hook to keep me interested, and leaves enough detail out to keep me curious. The "daddy has a secret" doesn't do much for me though: this feels like a road-trip movie, where the destination is usually at end of the film...that's where the "secret" likely is, so mentioning it here seems a little too much for me.

T. James DeStein (Level 5)

"Convicted for murder when she was eight" reads a lot better than how you got it. I think maybe if you added the complication that could ruin the reunion, this could be a lot more potent. Right now it feels like it's not telling me enough.

Tim Westland (Moderator)

Title: I love this title:

Logline: "Convicted for murder aged eight"? That doesn't really make grammatical sense to me. Perhaps "at the age of eight". What the heck is an "idealized father"? Is it her father, or someone else who is the idealized version of what she thinks a father should be? "Her craved reunion does not bode well"? What? That makes no sense. Then adding "And daddy has a secret" has no place here.

A lot of work needed on this.

Wayne Morrical (Level 4)

Tough to follow. When I read 'idealised father', I was thinking her 'ideal father figure', reading it again, I think she has idealized her father. Sounds like you have some characters in mind, but I think it would help to know, why the reunion does not go well (she's in jail, she's sick, she's lost) and a hint about dad's secret. This sounds like a road movie, but I think it needs to be a little more focused.

William D. Prystauk (Level 5)

Killer title. That alone was enough for me to dive into the script.

The logline, however, has a couple of problems: Do you mean "Convicted of murder at age eight"? And "her craved reunion does not bode well" may work if the final line lets us know what else this teenager may have to face - such as the main conflict of the story. Without that, this just means she's being chased and end up being disappointed. We need to know the stakes for her in regard to daddy's secret.

Regardless, it seems like this will be action-packed ride.

Comments Made After the Contest

MJ Hermanny (Level 5) ~ 3/1/2011 3:13 AM

Bummed I didn't advance but I can see now that this is kind of clunky. Also rather relieved that I can sit back and relax and enjoy the other entries this year.

Denise Jewell (Level 5) ~ 3/1/2011 11:08 AM

I really liked this - gave it a VG. I hope this is something you decide to write (or are writing) because it definitely has potential!

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