Wanted to respond to Erica’s Pitch Workshop Submission from a few weeks ago… sorry this is a little late, Erica!
Here’s Erica’s logline and synopsis:
“When the romantically inept son of Dracula travels to New York to find a powerful amulet, he finds he must learn the art of seduction to coax it from a sexually frustrated woman cursed by its dark magic.”
“Dracula’s son Dragos has come to New York to escape arch-vampire hunter Adam Van Helsing…and find a powerful amulet, the Eye of Khamsa. It’s the only thing that can protect him from the incantation Van Helsing has already used to destroy his father. But Reinfeld has given the amulet to his daughter, Rachel, a sexually frustrated virgin who doesn't realize her spectacularly doomed romances are caused by the amulet's dark magic.
“While Dragos might have his father’s strength and good looks, he lacks his debonair charm. Unable to talk to girls, he relies on his powers to get by. But when his powers fail to control Rachel, he finds he must learn the art of seduction to get the amulet back…slowly falling in love in the process. But after his parents tragic romance, he fears only the worse will come of it.”
First of all, Erica, thank you so much for submitting. As you know, it is SOLID, INARGUABLE FACT that the greatest show in television history (and possibly mankind’s greatest artistic achievement EVER) is “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” so you’re already playing in territory I love. I also love the fusion of horror/fantasy with comedy… and you’re clearly using the vampire mythos to comment on the difficulties of love and dating, which I love. Joss Whedon would be proud.
Secondly, kudos to Matt Star for his dead-on and lengthy feedback to your original logline post. I don’t know Matt personally, but someone should give him a job in development. And since he already commented on your original logline, I’m gonna comment on your revised logline and synopsis. So here we go…
DRAGOS FEELS TOO REACTIVE. In other words, he’s not proactive, or in active pursuit of anything… he’s simply responsive. He “escapes” to New York, and while sure, he’s in search of the Eye of Khamsa, his real motivation is just to “survive” and be “protected.”
I think you need to make Dragos genuinely PRO-active: he wants to destroy Adam Van Helsing, and the only way to do that is with the magic amulet. Or he needs to sleep with a virgin (Rachel) to get immortality, and he needs the magic amulet to help him seduce her. It’s much easier to invest in and root for pro-active characters, and right now he feels a bit too reactive.
THE MYTHOLOGY SEEMS MUDDY. You’re obviously playing with the traditional vampire mythos here, which is great, but there are a few points which are confusing to me…
• What, exactly, are Dragos’s powers? For instance, you say he’s “unable to talk to girls, [so] he relies on his powers to get by”—and then, a moment later, you his “his powers fail to control Rachel,” suggesting he’s able to control OTHER girls. So which is it?... Do his powers usually allow him to control women, in which case he IS able to talk to girls (and if he’s not able to talk to them—so what? I’d much rather be able to control people magically then have to work at talking to them)? Or is Dragos a nerdy, anti-social vampire whose powers have nothing to with talking to girls, in which case Rachel is no different than anyone else (except he falls in love with her)?
(On a similar note, why does Dragos need to seduce Rachel at all to get the amulet? If he’s a vampire with magical powers, and she’s human, can’t he simply fly into her room and TAKE the amulet? Or attack her? Or bust open her safe with his super-strength? Or turn into fog and sneak into her hiding place?)
• I love that Dragos must seduce Rachel in order to retrieve the amulet, but what does the amulet actually DO? On one hand, it seems to give Dragos strength and power (yet you also say he has Dracula’s strength, so I’m not sure what more he needs). On the other hand, the amulet is responsible for ruining all of Rachel’s relationships. This seems contradictory to me. It seems like the amulet needs to have a very specific power… like boosting sexual/romantic prowess. So Dragos needs it to become as “manly” and strong as possible… and when Rachel gets a hold of it, it turns her from a geeky bookwork into a sexual dynamo.
• Who were Dragos’s parents, and why was their relationship tragic enough to make him afraid of romance? (Is his mom Mina or Lucy? A new character?)
• Lastly, and this may sound silly or obvious—but why does Adam want to destroy Dragos? Sure, Adam is a Van Helsing and Dragos is the son of Dracula… but this story lives in a world where vampires can be likeable and good… and frankly, Dragos doesn’t seem very threatening. He’s an anti-social dork who can’t talk to girls and then falls in love… is he really dangerous enough that he warrants being killed? Or—is Adam “evil,” so obsessed with killing vampires that he can’t distinguish the good ones? I think this relationship needs to be clarified and articulated.
Anyway, having said all that… I still love this—and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen, shot with a $100 million budget!
For the rest of you, if you have loglines you'd like to workshop as party of the Script Notes Pitch Workshop, please feel free to post them in comments here, or simply email them to me at WDScriptNotes@FWPubs.com.
In the mean time, coming up... we have many more reader questions, pitch submissions, book reviews, and much more! Don't go anywhere!