I took part in #loglinechallenge last month and it was really fun. Being forced to come up with a random idea on the spot really got the creative juices flowing and it was much more fun, this time, sharing responses in the Facebook group. Being able to see and comment on each other’s loglines helped us identify ideas with potential, ways of improving loglines and we just generally spurred each other on.
Just recently, I was asked (again, for this is a common question amongst writers): “What if someone steals this idea?” It’s not a silly question – it’s a genuine worry when you happen to stumble across an idea that really excites you and you think you might want to actually write it. I’ve even thought it myself when I’ve written a particularly inspiring logline from a prompt.
The simple answer is that ideas can’t be copyrighted. A detailed plan or an actual script can be (though you don’t want to go getting all super paranoid about those, either), but a logline is such a small summary of an idea that it really doesn’t have much strength on its own. Sure, someone else might try and write a script with that logline in mind, but could they write it the same as your original idea? Of course they can’t – only you can write it in the way that you imagined it! Anything else is just an interpretation of a very basic concept/plot.
With #loglinechallenge, the aim is to have fun and as such responses are usually a spontaneous response to the prompt and not a carefully crafted version of something you’ve already written. But even if you are testing a logline on peers for a specific project of yours, you’re extremely unlikely to need to worry about the idea being stolen.
Instead of fretting over this, why not get it written and get it pitched and, if you’re really worried, get the actual script copyrighted. Worrying over ideas won’t get you anywhere, and as a blog commenter from one of the links below rightly says: “Screenwriters have to get past that fear if they want to function. Filmmaking is a collaborative business.”
Still worried? Check out what other writers and industry people have to say on the matter…
And that’s just a few… Google it and you’ll read the same thing from practically everyone.
And then, lastly, have a laugh reading Euroscript’s take on it!