To help you with your homework for April. 7th (write a logline, a pitch and an Egri statement for an existing film) please read this post about Lajos Egri's premise tool:
As we discussed, Egri's "premise" statement is just one of several tools that marketers can employ.
Knowing the "premise" or "big idea" (behind a film you are marketing, or behind a brand or product) can be a source of inspiration when you are writing a marketing message.
Egri's ideas about what makes a great story are still relevant today. Perhaps Egri's ideas are even more relevant than ever in the age of short videos online.
According to Lajos Egri, in a good story, a well-defined character will drive the plot. (And not the other way around.)
Egri’s approach suggests that the conflict in the best dramas comes from a character’s strongest trait (great love, jealousy, ambition, etc.) encountering an obstacle. In Egri’s model - the struggle that ensues when a character’s defining trait encounters opposition will lead to a resolution that reflects the “premise” (i.e., theme, big idea, central organizing principle, moral, etc.) of the drama.
Perhaps you’re familiar with the German philosopher Hegel? Is it possible that Hegel's ideas about progress have influenced Egri’s model? Specifically, that a character starts with a thesis, that encounters an antithesis, and that leads to a resolution or synthesis?
Egri seems to suggest that a protagonist’s defining character trait, organized around a thematic truth, will suggest a conflict that can be organized as a drama with a beginning, middle and end.
For example, a character’s stinginess (thesis), will meet with inevitable opposition (antithesis) and then a resolution (synthesis) – which might be that character’s ruin or a new relationship with stinginess.
As an example of how to write a one sentence statement of "premise," in class we talked about the character of Scrooge in the Charles Dickens classic story A Christmas Carol.
Notice: The "premise" will depend on the message the author hopes to convey.
In A Christmas Carol, all the characters and plot events support a theme that might be expressed as: Generosity leads to happiness.
But another author might think that generosity is a mistake because "extravagance leads to destitution" - and their story would have different plot points and a different outcome.
When thinking about the "premise" of your favorite film, think about the thematic message that the filmmaker has conveyed...
Knowing your film's "premise" might help you to find the best images and text to market that film.
How can you go about discerning a film's premise?
Who is your protagonist?
What is your protagonist’s strongest trait (great love, jealousy, ambition, etc.)?
What obstacle(s) are encountered by her or him?
What is the struggle that leads to a resolution for her or him?
What is the resolution?
Is your protagonist's struggle organized as a mounting series of conflicts?
Does a protagonist's defining trait lead to a clear conflict that concludes in a final Act 3 struggle?