top of page

How To Perfect Your Logline

And why they're so important.


A logline is a concise description of your story in one or two sentences.


Anything longer and it becomes the 'premise' instead. Which is still valuable, especially when you're writing your Treatments BUT learning the art of creating loglines is one you'll need to master.


We love a good logline at Script Stable. However, we also remember the early days and how frustrating it could be when it didn't come easily. So if you're finding yourself in a similar situation, then you've come to the right article.


There are various ways to approach writing your logline and more often than not, you'll want to try a few ways before settling on which one to use.


In general, the easiest way to remember what you need to tell the reader when it comes to your story is: WHO. WHAT. WHEN. WHY. WHERE. The Five W's will help you include all the necessary information when it comes to accompanying documents like One Pagers or Treatments. But a logline can be even more paired back.


LOGLINE CONTENT TIP:


Your hero, who are they, how can you sum up their current status? Then, when the catalyst happens, what are they going to have overcome or embark on that is ironic to their current character?

Irony is huge player in successful storytelling and a helping hand to you when describing your screenplay. BUT you don't HAVE to have irony in your logline. For some stories it won't really apply. However if you do; it tends to help it 'pop' a bit more when you're pitching.



This comes of course with the disclaimer that there are lots of different types of story and there's room for everyone. However, here at Script Stable we're in the camp of 'Story is King'. And good screenplays contain great conflict with a satisfying dose of irony. So this is something to consider when you're initially creating your story before writing your script.


A good rule of thumb for when you have a new idea for a script is to see if it works as a logline. If you can succinctly describe it and it feels like a satisfying story idea then you're probably on to something. Tell it to a few people and see what they think. Is it the type of story they'd be interested in? If not, why?


STRUCTURE:


Loglines can vary but here is the rough structure you'll want to follow:


Title of Film is a genre about main character/job/identity trait who discovers inciting incident - then sum up the journey they're about to embark on.

Here's an example of an existing film. Full points if you can guess what it is:


"When a street urchin vies for the love of a princess, he uses a genie's magic power to make himself a prince in order to marry her".


[If you don't know what film this is, you've either been living under a rock, or you're very, very young. Either way, you should watch the film!]


Here we have a logline that contains irony, conflict and obstacles that will potentially crop up - alluding to lots of fun. We know it contains love and magic all within one sentence. It's so concise that there's even room to add the name and genre IF you'd like:


"Aladdin is a musical-fantasy animation about a street urchin who vies for the love of a princess. Using a genie's magic power to make himself a prince, Aladdin is going to find out that it takes more than riches to truly win her heart".



Slight disclaimer: Disney movie genres are always a tad tricky to tie down - they typically include elements of buddy movies, romance, adventure, comedy, fairytale, magic, fantasy and villains. They're also typically musicals which is its own genre but they can do this because, well, they're Disney and Disney animations are a huge brand that we're all familiar with.


When it comes to the genre of your screenplay try and keep it simple. It's great to have a hybrid but don't pull a Disney; you don't have the clout to back it up yet.


COMMON MISTAKES:


The most common mistake is when writers don't know the different between (or get confused by) story, plot and character development. Essentially when they put ALL the information into one area...


"Aladdin is a street urchin who lives with his monkey Abu and then one day he finds a lamp and a genie comes out, granting him three wishes. He wishes to become a prince because he met the princess when she was pretending to be a normal person whilst running away and he fell in love with her. But then when he turns into a prince and meets her again she thinks he's really arrogant and doesn't like him. Oh and I forgot to mention he has a magic carpet..." etc etc.


Ignoring the fact that it's written poorly to prove a point, it is way too much waffle. A logline is a lean, stripped down 'taster' of the film. It needs to tell us the type of story it is without minutiae OR spoilers. That is its entire purpose.


WAX ON. WAX OFF.



Part of the mystery of writing is that whilst it takes a lot of work and practise to get good, every now and again we learn through osmosis. And the best way to do that is through the work of others.


The more films and tv shows you watch and analyse, you'll start to understand the patterns of screenwriting. What NEEDS to be in a story and what feels frustrating when it's forced in or left out. It's the same with loglines.


As an exercise, take your five favourite films and from memory write the logline as if you're pitching it. You'll soon start to notice what is needed and what can stay out.


 

MORE ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE




30 Day Challenge - Free challenge to get your writing for 30 days.



If you've already downloaded our FREE Tools and Resources and want to show your support, you can always buy Script Stable a coffee to help keep us going.



11 views0 comments

Comentarios


bottom of page