Q. I'm in the brainstorming stages of a feature spec which for me begins with the logline.
My question is: if I'm writing with a certain comedic actor in mind, should I include his name in my logline? Or not so subtlety name him Steve Ferrell in the hopes a reader pictures either Will Ferrell or Steve Carell?
Don't get cute with the character names, it'll be distracting.
One danger in writing for a specific actor is you might not make the character strong enough. Knowing that Will Ferrell can make lots of unfunny things semi-funny, you might not sharpen the gags up enough for the read.
Another is, what if they're looking for a vehicle for Seth Rogen?
I would just write the strongest comic character you can, and let them figure out who it would be great for.
Or, if they ask "Who are you thinking of?" you can tell them.
(It's an entirely different thing when you are writing on a show where people are already cast. Then, of course, you write to the actor. I enjoyed writing for Colm Feore on BON COP BAD COP because I could guess what he'd bring to the lines. On another show, I had an actress who could act but whose English wasn't superb. We gave her short lines with short words, and she was fantastic.)