"A Place in the Ground" by Don Riemer

Logline: A bankrupt funeral director desperate to save his family from ruin decides to rob the grave of a wealthy eccentric, who he just buried with a fortune in jewels. Her family suspects him. His wife wants to leave him. His fence plans to kill him. And his only confidant is the ghost of the first person he ever saw dead, his childhood sweetheart, who has haunted him for 30 years.

Genre: Drama - Fantasy - Thriller

Cast Size: 10+

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

Contest: Feature ~ Round 1 of 3: Logline (Jan. 2009)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent

Comments Made During the Contest

Adam Grage (Level 4)

Okay, this is what I'm talking about. Great descriptors. A cool premise and I love the conflict. Right now, I can't see anything wrong with this logline except where are the 10 pages so I can start reading this one.

Look forward to seeing more of this one. :)

Aleem Monroe (Level 3)

The logline gives me the info I need to know the story. It is a bit whacky and far fetched, though. The name is good.

Bill Delehanty (Level 4)

"His fence plans to kill him." Like a fence in the backyard? Unless I'm missing a meaning or a language barrier is confusing me, I have no idea what this means.
The last line of the logline is the most interesting. All the family stuff isn't as important. The first line could also be shortened. Work with the first and last lines and then you should have a pretty strong hook/logline.

Brad Huffman Parent (Level 4)

Title: Decent but doesn't really grab me.

Logline: A little choppy. The first sentence is too long, followed by several short ones. It doesn't flow that well. I like the last line though, throws a nice hook in the right place.

Story: I wasn't sure if this something I would watch until I saw the ghost line. Then you got me. Interested in how that part of things plays out.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

The title is good. The logline is pretty good, but I think I would have gone with a few commas instead of several short sentences. The story sounds intriguing and I get the sense that it probably has enough going on in terms of subplots to fill a feature script. The genre is well defined as a crime story with ghost undertones. Nice job.

Calvin Peat (Level 4)

This could be a quirky black comedy, although the potential for humour is perhaps too understated in the logline. If it were played as a straight drama, it would probably be too morose and depressing.

Although the main character's actions are wrong, the writer makes him more sympathetic by casting him as an underdog who is "desperate to save his family from ruin".

The three short sentences in the middle of the logline are effective in their own right (and hint at the script having an effectively madcap pace), but jar with the long sentences on either side, especially the first one.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

Title - don't know what to think of it. It doesn't grab me though.

It seems to me you've told me what's going to happen with each sub-plot. Do I need to watch the film? Is there anything MORE in it?

I somehow feel that nothing is left to my imagination to entice me further.

Grammatically, it should be 'whom he has just buried' I also feel that the first sentence lacks commas. In the context of a logline, I wouldn't start a sentence with And.

In amongst it all there seems to be an interesting story but your logline didn't quite do it justice I'm afraid.

CarrieAnn Lee (Level 3)

Great title!!! This is the best title I've read so far. I think this title could stand alone without the logline and still make a person want to check out your script. As for the story conveyed in your logline, it sounds like a great read. I think it could be shortened though, for example - "who he just buried with a fortune in jewels" isn't necessary after you said the man was wealthy earlier. Nor do I think you need the last part of your last sentence, "who has haunted him for 30 years" when you already told us that she was a ghost. (just my opinion) This was probably a lot of fun to write. I look forward to reading your script. Good luck.

Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)

Love the title.

Love the set up.

Does his wife want to leave him because she suspects him or knows about it? confusing.

I don't think you have to say why his fence plans to kill him, but the way it is stated is a bit confusing as to whether or not its tied into the main theme or if he's trying to kill him for some other reason.

Not really sure how to take this one. At first it almost seems like a dark comedy of errors, but the final sentence is so dark that I'm thinking maybe not.

Really like the idea, think this is all very good, but that you need to tighten up and tie it all together a bit more. Hoping this one advances so I can see you do it.

Good luck.

Chris Keaton (Level 5)

Interesting. Sounds like a TV pilot. Tighten this bad devil up clearly state the protag, the antag(s), and the drama (risks/rewards).

Chris Messineo (Founder)

Great title. It feels unique, "movie-like", and fits the story perfectly (with multiple meanings).

I love the originality of this story. The logline is clear, compelling, and I want to know how the story ends.

Excellent logline. I hope I get to read the first ten pages.

Chris Villafano (Level 3)

Great logline and title.It sounds real original.

Christopher Castle (Level 4)

Title okay. I like the premise it shows good potential. It sounds like a comedy so you could clarify the genre in the pitch. Interesing characters and setups and would be worth seeing at the cinema.

Dan Lennox (Level 5)

Interesting premise, but it raises a few questions for me. First, I didn't think they buried people with valuables anymore, for the mere sake of preventing grave robbing. Second, When you say "her" family, which family are you referring to? I can see the funeral directors wife wanting to leave him, but who is his "fence"?

On another note, I like your title. It goes with the story well, I just don't see a real strong and organized conflict here. Can money solve all these problems? Will money keep his wife from leaving him?

David Birch (Level 5)

i'm not a big fan of paranormal, but the premise was so original, that i have to give it a "green light"...logline was a little "wordy"...would have preferred it tightened up a bit...good luck on getting to the next round...

David D. DeBord (Level 5)

I like the title. Simple, straight forward, and when I read the logline, the title actually ties well into the story.

The logline is longer than I might like but there is so little that I would cut out that I have to admit I really like it. I might delete “with a fortune in jewels” since I think there is an implication of valuables buried with the wealthy eccentric so I don’t have to be told what the valuables are.

The terse middle sentences are rhythmically fun and the surprises in the last sentence send the logline over the top.

My best score to this effort.

Elias Farnum (Level 5)

This is great, the entire movie is contained withing these sentences. Visually precise, a unique concept, and some very interesting plot questions generated. I'm not clear on the genre, but it sounds comedic - that's the only thing that keeps this from an excellent.

This is really, really, good. I read this to my wife and she doesn't think it is a comedy, "definitely not a comedy." I think this could be, but the wife says, "You think is everything is a comedy!" LOL, no I don't.

The only sentence that might cause confusion, just might, is - Her family suspects him. I see - The dead woman's family suspects him.

Elisabeth Dubois (Level 4)

love to know how the fence will kill him?
a mixed bag...not sure if will be horror or comedy, hmmmm!
I'll have to wait and see.

Erich VonHeeder (Level 4)

Brilliant. Love it.

Take THAT everyone who says a logline CAN'T be more than a sentence or two. This one had me engaged from the beginning, and just kept reeling me in because it was INTERESTING and WELL WRITTEN.

I've reviewed 70 loglines now and you are currently in my top five with EASE.

P.S. Best TITLE in this entire contest? Maybe.

Ethelyn Boddy (Level 4)

This is just complicated and busy enough to keep an audience attentive. I like the ghost sweetheart, and am glad the abandoned mortuary-man has someone? something? to comfort him.

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

The story premise is fun and I'd love to see the movie. However, the logline is confusing because of all the pronouns. It could also be streamlined and written in a more active voice. Consider something like this: "Tom Jones, a funeral director, robs the grave of a wealthy eccentric to save his family from financial ruin. As Tom becomes a suspect and the target of a killer, his only confidant is the ghost of the first person he ever saw dead: his childhood sweetheart." The title works for the screenplay premise.

Garrett Box (Level 4)

Seems like a whole lot of drama and little plot.

Harriet Barbir (Level 0)

Cool. I really would want to see this one.

Jane Beckwith (Level 4)

I like this. I'm not usually a fan of the dead love interest, but it seems to be done more and more lately. The title is pretty good, but maybe it does not quite capture what I see as the dark zaniness of the logline.

Jay Arbry (Level 3)

Short sentences. Good. The last line pulls you in. Good.

Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)

It is pretty tight but not certain it's interesting enough to make it to the next level.

Jeff Ferry (Level 5)

I'm not sure about the title, but maybe it'll grow on me. I like the idea, it seems to have a lot going for it. I think the story will live or die with the relationship between the man and his sweetheart.

Joel Davis (Level 5)

Great setup. Lots of texture and potential for drama.

I'm a little confused, does he dig up the jewels at the start of the story or is that his goal throughout the story? If he digs them up at the start and just has to deal with the repercussions, that's not as interesting as if he's trying to get the jewels and all of these issues are in the way.

I love the idea of the ghost, but with the jewel heist (can I call it that?) you've a lot going on already. Focus on what the heart of the story is.

Great stuff, atmospheric, cinematic. Very character-driven, but the story needs some focus, or if the story has it, it doesn't come through in the logline.

I love the title, puts an ironic twist on "A place in the sun", and tells you something about the story all at once.

John Brooke (Level 5)

What a lovely droll story. Man I am truly hooked. What a wonderful imaginative and incredibly unique tale. I think you needed every single word in your logline to impart the significant of this wonderful cinematic jewel of a promise.

It’s a smooth exciting read for me. The premise is so persuasive and wry, that I should think this film would be irresistible to a wide audience.

Really enjoyed reading that logline and the title fits too.

John Ward (Level 3)

The title is good, it fits in well with the story background which is always a bonus. The story itself is pretty interesting, although I'm still not sure of the genre. Is this going to be a comedy or a drama? The eccentric nature of the recently deceased confuses me in this sense. Are they eccentric because they wanted to be buried with their money (hinting at a dramatic tone)? Or are they 'zany' eccentric (hinting at a comedic tone)? I'm not sure. Was the director involved in the death of this girl? Is that why she is haunting him? Many questions to be asked I think. Overall I think it's good - but will need some work to make it a great film.

Jon Hill (Level 4)

A great idea for a movie. Unfortunately your logline is a little cluttered and needs some trimming. For example, does it matter that he "just buried" the woman. I also didn't like the multiple sentences in the middle, it disrupted the flow.

Jose Batista (Level 5)

Great title. A comedic drama that is sure to please. The conflict of money problems is sure to connect with many people initially. The drama that will arise out of all this is surely going to entertain and shock, the parties involved are probably trying to each execute their secret agendas. Then you throw in a ghost for good measure. All great elements to make a good entertaining feature. Good Luck with this, sounds good so far. Looking forward to reading the first ten pages.

Kathleen Clevenger (Level 4)

I like your title. What a strange movie. I'm hoping this one is a comedy. Did you really mean to say that his fence plans to kill him? That one confused me. I guess this might be a little to strange for my taste. I'd like to understand the story a bit better. What does he hope to accomplish after stealing the jewels, and what is the conflict in the movie?

Kirk White (Level 5)

I'm giving this a good because the story is intriguing. but you have to rework this a few times to really give us a sense of style and tone

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

Title: Quite good, fraught with several meanings.

Story: Is this a ghost story? Or a heist picture? Or a tragedy? It seems like all of the above, but there ought to be a main theme that pops out.

Craft: The short, choppy sentences detract from the flow of ideas.

Lee Carlisle (Level 4)

I was a bit torn on this one - your title really works and I think theres definitely a good movie in your logline, but it becomes more muddled the longer you go. You did a great job of setting up the character, but I failed to understand why the dead womans family would suspect them? How would they even know the grave was robbed if she was just buried and he wasnt caught? Also - what does 'His fence plans to kill him' mean? If you got a bit more specific, this could really work. It sounds like youve got it inyour head, but the log needs a bit more work.

Leigh Smith (Level 4)

The title is strong. It refers to the job of the main character and his crime. However, it is could beabout the fact that his childhood sweetheart hasn't found her place in the ground because she is still haunting him. Maybe, someone else will be dead in the ground at the end. Love the title.

I have a question. Does the main character just see ghost or can he communicate with the ghosts? I ask this because wouldn't he be able to see the ghost of the eccentric during or after he robs the grave.

Lewayne White (Level 4)

What else is there to say?
I'm iffy about the title, but the logline has me so interested, I'm not so concerned about what the movie's called.

Lizzayn Shaarawi (Level 3)

An interesting concept though you've given way too much information in the logline. I like the title, I think it works well with the plot. Best of luck.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

Title: Great title. I'm expecting drama and death. After reading the logline I can clearly see how it ties in with the story. Very good title.

Story: I'm intrigued. This could be good. There's going to be alot going on and it should be fun to watch. I expect comedy and drama. Good story.

Craft: Too many unnecessary words. You could edit this down to 3 lines without much effort. Spelling and punctuation look good. Good crafting.

Good work.

Maria Lennon (Level 1)

The title is great! The logline is very busy.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

I like the title and really like the concept. Not nuts about the logline. I think there is to much info in there and could use a trim and some focus. But I'm scoring you a very good because I do like the idea for the story.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

Sounds good, but I don't think the ghost is a significant "kicker" to the end of the logline. It's not the most unique or exciting part of the story, and confuses the stance of the movie. Is it serious or not?

I like the idea of this timid funeral director (at least, that was the interpretation I had of him) being forced to deal with shady characters like the fence that's planning to kill him, and trying to hold his family together. That sounds like it could be comic or serious, and I can think of examples of similar movies in each vein.

However the last sentence makes it sound more like a completely different movie. You could keep this in if it was closely related to the main story, for example, the ghost gave him information about things he couldn't know about.

Otherwise it was good.

Micah Ricke (Level 4)

You have some compelling elements, which make me want to read more. However, the logline is a bit confusing. What does, "His fence plans to kill him" mean? Is "fence" a typo? I really like the premise of his childhood sweetheart haunting him -very nice touch. Admittedly, while I only think your logline is 'good', I'm going to issue it a 'very good' because I want to see it advance so I can give the first ten pages a review.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5)

Title: intriguing, dark, instantly creates an image of a grave so fits well with your story.

Story: highly original. Clearly constructed with strong goals and obstacles. Feels like it could be a comedy so perhaps inject a little more humour if this is the case.

Craft: I suggest using bracketing commas after 'director' and before 'decides'; omit the comma after eccentric and 'confidante' has an 'e' on the end. I don't know that many would pick up on those minor details, I'm just a picky English chick.

Was also slightly thrown by 'her family' - took me a second to realise you meant the recently buried eccentric was female.

Like this very much, hope to read more of it over the coming months.

Nathan Goldman (Level 4)

This is a hard one to judge -- it is a mix of good and bad. The title is very good. The idea has a lot going for it. The logline, however, is somewhat jumbled. It starts strong, then gets lost in a detail listing, but then it ends on a very nice hook. I think a rewrite of this logline could be a winner.

Neal Barringer (Level 0)

My score is based on clearly stating each of these major story elements (Get a Yes in each to earn an Excellent):

Protagonist: Yes
Goal: Yes
Antagonistic force: Yes
Stakes: No
Accurate Portrait: No

My personal opinions about your log line:
I like the concept of a funeral director robbing the grave of a wealthy eccentric. I wonder why you added a ghost idea. That just seems to distract from an otherwise great concept.

Nick Miranda (Level 4)

Very nice. Well structured and executed. There is pleanty of room for internal conflict as well as external. Not much I can think of to change or to comment on except that I hope this moves on to the next round.

Nicky Muddle (Level 3)

Sounds interesting but not "I've got to read/see that". The words "Her family suspects him" was initially confusing as to who her and him were until I realised the wealthy eccentric was female. With no other information I had assumed it was a male. This confusion interferes with making a good first impression.

Patrick T. Lo (Level 0)

I don't know if it's just me, but I find this logline really confusing. The logline is too disjointed to tell a fluent summary of how the script will unfold.

To be more clear, I would restructure it like this:
"Desperate to save his family from debt, a bankrupted funeral director decides to rob the grave of a wealthy eccentric. With suspicions on the rise, his only confidant is his childhood sweetheart who has haunted him for 30 years."

I also feel that you need to establish the current relationship between the funeral director and the childhood sweetheart. Is he still in love with her?

Paul Jaworsky (Level 4)

It seems like there is a lot going on, but not in a bad way. I really like the "ghost"
portion of this premise. I think it adds a whole other dimension. The title is very fitting and the logline is intriguing. It has a nice "hook" to it. Good job. Could be a contender.

Paul Williams (Level 5)

His fence plans to kill him? I'm sorry, I have no idea what that means.

This seems very ambitious, maybe too much so. You gotta a crime-genre, family-drama, ghosts, etc. all rolled into one.

There's a seed for a potentially interesting story here. Try to keep it fresh and interesting. Stories are out there now about funeral directors and funeral homes. I guess it makes for unique characters and death is always compelling.

Title: Fine, I guess, for your subject matter.

Pete Barry (Level 5)

The set-up is great, with wonderul descriptive adjectives that pull me in. The title was interesting, and then I laughed when I saw the protagonist's occupation. I was expecting mob movie, and I get "Six Feet Under".

You had me with the first sentence. The next three add nothing. They are informative, and give me insight into the myraid possibilities, but I'm already sold - the rest is just detail that I'll read in the script. They also muddle the genre a little - I think it's a comedy, based on the first sentence, but by the time I hit the part about the fence, I wasn't sure anymore - are we edging into Elmore Leonard territory, or darker waters?

The first and last sentences together (minus the one "And") would be perfect. I'm not sure how I feel about the ghost story - it makes a funny concept a little wacky, without much gain. But it interests me enough to make me want to read it.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

That's a chilling concept and I really like it. I'm getting the idea that this would be a kind of tragic farce.

The title is not very good for me. It feels like there ought to be something snappier and cleverer that captures the concept. I can't think of a good one right now, say "Coffin Care" only better than that!

Rick Hansberry (Moderator)

Better logline than title. I would have gone with 'Safe In The Ground.' There are some quirky, interesting ideas here. One thing jumped out at me early. He's desperate to save his family and his wife wants to leave him? Maybe she would be better suited with an adjective like -- 'his golddigging wife' or something. I would also try to switch out 'fence.' I read it twice and I'm still not sure who that would be. Someone who what? Finally, would a 'confidant' ghost be very much help in solving the mystery? I see a ghost as being the character that he confesses to and talks to to add the exposition but our funeral director would need more actual help to get out of his predictament which leaves the final note: why would we root for this guy when he clearly did something wrong in grave-robbing if the eccentric never did him any wrong? Could be stronger.

Ron Hooker (Level 4)

This logline should be MUCH tighter. I really do find the idea to be intriguing and original, but there's way too much going on here and it proves to be quite distracting. Get the point across quickly and leave the reader on the edge of their seat without giving away details that can flesh themselves out in the script.

You can keep it simple and still make it exciting: "A financially struggling funeral director digs himself a deep hole when he robs a man who took valuable jewels to his grave."


Sally Meyer (Moderator)

I felt like taking a deep breath after reading this logline. There's just a lot going on here. The last line is too long and too much. I do like the title and it fits well with the logline. I was confused as to who 'Her' family is? I am assuming it's the family of the wealthy eccentric? It doesn't say whether the eccentric is male or female, so maybe that could be put in.

All in all there's too much going on here. I think you've got a good idea, but the logline needs work.

Sasha Clancy (Level 4)

Title - Very good. It's clever and different and I like it.

Story - You have a lot going on in your logline and most of it doesn't need to be there. It seems to be more driven by summarizing the story than creating a hook to get people to want to know more. It is a little intriguing to me that his confidant is a person who haunts him because to me haunting is a negative relationship. But, other than that, I don't see anything that makes this story incredibly unique.

Craft - You have a typo/grammar issue that really jumped out at me. I don't take off for typos and grammar but in such a short space, those things have more of an impact than they do in a screenplay. Other than that, it is technically fine but missing the thing that makes it "pop".

Scott Merrow (Level 5)

Great logline! I would go to see this movie in a minute.

Steve Dexheimer (Level 4)

I like it. I think you could trim this down a bit and still keep all the impact, but generally you've done a really nice job with this. You've established a firm goal for the lead and plenty of obstacles in his way, but at the same time painted a nice dark , quirky tone for the piece.
This should definitely get you into the second round. Can't wait to see what you do with the idea. Good luck!

Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)

This is very good, it's a little long but it's working! Sounds like a very dark comedy.

Tim Aucoin (Level 4)

Her meaning the wealthy eccentric? And maybe I didn't realize there's another meaning for the word 'fence', I just thought it was something to keep people out and whatnot. Didn't know they could plot to kill someone.

Tim Westland (Moderator)

Title: Good

Logline: Good
The first sentence... the hook.. is pretty good. Unfortunately, the rest of it falls out of the proper logline formula and rambles about.

I'm not rewriting many, but I'll try here:

Bankrupt Funeral Director Bob Smith, desperate to save his family from ruin, decides to rob the grave of a wealthy eccentric, who he recently buried with a fortune in jewels. But when his family discovers his secret and the Mob want more than their fair share of the booty, Bob's turns to the only person he can trust for help; the ghost of his childhood sweetheart.

Not great, but it tells things a little more clearly, more succintly.

Tom Shipley (Level 4)

I love the concept. A couple nit-picks on the logline. At first, I wasn't sure if the "her" in the second sentence was referring to the funeral director or the corpse. I'd maybe not use a pronoun there.

Along the same lines, at first I took "fence" literally, so I had visions of wrought-iron metal attacking him. But then I figured out you probably mean the person who's moving the jewels for the director.

I'd maybe change "And his only confidant..." to "And the only person he can trust..." Also don't know if you need to say "who has haunted him for 30 years." You might be able to get away without it.

But overall, great job.

Vicki Davis (Level 3)

I like your twist. I wasn't sure where you were going with this, and then the last line got me interested. While it was a solid story when it was just a funeral director in trouble and he decided to cross a line, it wasn;t that interesting to me. The idea that he has a ghost he can confide in makes this something out of the ordinary. I do wonder if it will be beliveable that he wants to rob his last client, I think this behavior should be better established in our character, and why would the family be suspitious? I see that there could be many comic elements in this story, and i am not sure of the genre, maybe make your tone more explicit.

Wes Worthing (Level 5)

Could make for a fun 1970's style ensemble comedy romp. The title works. The logline itself could go for trimming.

William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)

Can't say much about this one except that I love it all the way around. My first Excellent. Love the title and the complete logline -- proving that a logline need not be one or two sentences. Superb.

William Coleman (Level 5)

Your choice of title, "A Place in the Ground," amuses me. I am not sure what genre you are writing. I am not sure if this will be a black comedy or a drama. That duality can work for and against you.

My impression of your story is that it could make a funny black comedy - or a drama. I am not sure which way you are going. You need to guide me in the direction you intend. I'm not sure if you need "the ghost of the first person he ever saw dead, his childhood sweetheart, who has haunted him for 30 years." to make your story work. You have a lot going for you without the occult entering the scene. Why not use your central character's name?

In conveying my brief impression of your story, you need to let me know what genre this is. Right now, I am amused by your logline. I am not sure if you intended to do this!

William D. Prystauk (Level 5)

Great, but one question: By "her family suspects him", do you mean his family knows the grave was robbed or did he kill the guy knowing his final wishes?

William Dunbar (Level 5)

I'm finding this month that I like shorter loglines. So it may be a preference thing, but I'd just go with the first sentence of this, and maybe one more sentence that tells about the story. It sounds like a good story, but I would call what you have here too much of a sales pitch.

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