Loglines are tricky. Length wise, they contain only a few dozen words but it is usually one of the hardest things for someone to write. Every word must be chosen carefully and really maximize its effectiveness to show the reader what your story is about so they want to read the entire 100 page script. An ineffective logline can leave you dead in the water right away, while an effective one can open the doors necessary to get your script sold and, ultimately, produced.
Here are a few tips on writing a killer logline.
1. Show your fascinating protagonist
At their core, movies are about characters and the journey we take with them. Who is your protagonist? What makes them fascinating? Why should we invest two hours of our lives into following them on their journey? Make sure to tell us who your movie is about and what makes them different from any other character we’ve seen before.
2. Show your world
Is your story based in fantasy or reality? If it’s the former, tell us what makes your world unique. How is it different than what we see on a daily basis? If it’s based in reality, that’s great! Tell us about the specific environment where your journey takes place!
3. Show your tone and genre
If your script is comedic, whimsical, and funny in nature, try to bring that into the logline. Show us what you can bring to the script with the wackiness that will ensue throughout. If it’s a thriller, try to show the seriousness of the characters and stakes as they move throughout their journey.
4. Show the stakes
What happens if our protagonist doesn’t reach their goal? What is at stake if they fail?
5. Show us how your story is different
No story is completely unique but your script, and logline, should have elements that make it feel different than anything that’s been written before. Try to incorporate this into your logline. Why should the reader choose this script over the other hundred in their pile? What makes your different? In your logline try to show the one thing only you can bring to the table: your storytelling and voice.
Don’t be boring, use captivating adjectives to describe your characters and world.
Don’t nitpick word count. Shorter is usually preferred but if it takes a few more words to show what your story is about, go for it. No one is counting or throwing out your script based on a few extra words in the logline.
And finally, the number one goal of a logline is to get the person reading it to pick up your script. That’s all that matters. If you’ve gotten them to say yes, you’ve written a successful logline.