First Impressions: A Game of Risk

Here’s a first look at one of the loglines submitted to our team:

“A group of 13 year old friends meet up to play Risk, and through the course of the game they discover that each of them is not quite the person they expected.”

This idea definitely has some merit. It doesn’t sound like an exciting logline but that’s partially because it’s not a concept film. It would have to be character driven, and there is potential for it to be a good drama or comedy. Personally, I’m going to choose to view it as a drama for now.

Now before I get into thinking about the actual story, my mind is drawn to the technical difficulties around shooting and producing it. (I recognize that this probably isn’t ideal from a creative development standpoint, but I’m going to work with it.) First, getting a group of 13-year-olds who can act is no small order, even for a large Hollywood production. Talented child actors are not a dime a dozen, and for a character driven drama, they would certainly have to be talented. The flip side is that, since the movie is centered around a board game, locations could be a cinch and props wouldn’t be hard either.

I imagine this as a short film with about 5 characters (Risk is 2-6 players). They are all good friends and there is a familiarity among them as they begin to play but gradually they reveal things about themselves based on how they play the game and their different views on strategy and disputes. In the beginning there could be an argument about whether to just play with 5 people or try to get a sixth. Moving forward there could be discussion between players about collaborating and backstabbing ensues.

The natural direction for it to flow at this point is towards a Lord of the Flies descent into bickering and hard feelings during which several long hidden opinions or grievances are aired.

One possibility: Evan, a stereotypically geeky boy, breaks his pact with stereotypically stylish and popular boy, Tom, and attacks him in the Middle East. When Tom expresses outrage at being stabbed in the back, Evan accuses Tom of messing up his chances with a crush, Megan, by taking her to the Spring Dance before Evan could ask her. Exasperated, Tom blurts out that he doesn’t want to date Megan. He doesn’t even like girls. To which the girl(s) in the group take offense. And so on…

Naturally, there are a lot of ways this could go, and the more I think about them, the more I think that if the characters take the game too seriously, it will come across comically, so maybe it’s worth making one character comic relief, just to lighten the whole mood. I see a slightly younger, or less mature member of the group who can’t handle conflict and keeps trying to get people to calm down, but eventually gives up and hides under the table eating Cheetos as the fighting continues above and around him.

In the climactic moment, one of the players knocks over (either intentionally or not, this has implications for the resolution) the board and scatters the pieces across the floor. This snaps the characters out of their fury and puts everything back in context. They sheepishly pick up the pieces, end their arguments, and make up having learned things about each other that they never knew.

The End

So that’s my first take on that logline. I hope the Insider will give us her first take as well, because I’m sure it will be a completely different story from the same premise.

If you have ideas for this story, comments, likes, dislikes, please share them. I’m interested to hear how you react to this reading.