Writing a script begins with the singular substance of a thought, where that thought turns into an idea, leading into a possible script. It’s quite remarkable how the process of writing a script varies depending on the person. Still, no matter what a person’s writing style is, it all goes back to the notion of a logline.
For those interested in scriptwriting, you more than likely are aware of what a logline is, or at the very least, you’ve seen the phrase before. Considering a logline is such a vital portion of the screenwriting process, we’re going to highlight a few ways you can perfect your script logline. Let’s take a look!
What is a Logline?
When discussing the importance of a logline, it’s worthwhile to quickly discuss what a logline is. Although it’s an extremely critical part of a script, there’s no shame in case you need a reminder of what one is. For those who don’t know, a logline is a brief summary of a television series, film, or book.
The word brief is exceptionally critical when discussing the subject of a logline since that phrase alone can be subjective. A good rule of thumb is to have your logline somewhere between 25 and 50 words. Any shorter or longer, you may want to adjust the logline so it follows these rules:
● Who is the protagonist?
● What is their goal?
● Who is the antagonist or conflict in the way of the protagonist?
● What’s the genre?
Why is a Logline Important?
A logline is essential for the pure sake that it’s a description of a story. Rather than hand someone a story to read entirely for them to know what it’s about, a logline gives a short description for those interested in the story. It’s imperative when trying to pitch a script.
Pitching is an extremely overwhelming and anxiety-inducing situation that deeply surrounds the notion of a logline. As a result, it’s crucial for people to have a great logline while pitching. Email pitching and trying to get the word out about your script all surround the logline. In short, you can’t have a successful script without a great logline.
Develop a Logline Before Your Script
More often than not, many people try developing a logline once their script is already written. As straightforward as that approach might seem, it’s still not a good idea to wait until the last second to develop your logline. In fact, your script will benefit from having a solid logline attached to it before you begin.
Try to come up with a great outline and get your ideas on paper. Then, once you feel like you’re at an appropriate stage writing-wise, figure out a logline and go from there. You’ll be surprised at how much better your writing will be once you have a great logline to look at while you’re pounding away at your script.
Loglines Are Hooks
A good rule to follow when thinking of loglines is to imagine them as hooks. Usually when people think of their favorite song, they tend to reference the chorus or an instrumental part they enjoy. Loglines operate in a similar capacity, where it’s the hook and the overall appeal tied to a script.
The Goal of the Protagonist and Their Conflict
The whole point of a logline is to demonstrate the main story of a script in a short and sweet fashion. When thinking of a logline, it’s essential to be mindful of the protagonist’s goal and their conflict. That’s the whole point of a script, and it’s imperative when trying to develop the logline.
Having the Logline Gain Interest
Gaining interest is a significant portion of the success of a script. That interest is primarily derived from the logline since it’s what people see or hear before anything else. As a result, it’s exceptionally critical for writers to craft a great logline that makes people want to check out the story. A boring logline won’t do the story any justice.
Who, What, When, Why, and How
As mentioned with the purpose of a logline, it’s also vital to highlight the who, what, when, why, and how of a logline. This may seem challenging to fit in a single logline, but it’s actually much easier than it sounds. Looking at popular film loglines will help you get an understanding of how you can develop a great logline.
● THE GODFATHER
The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.
● THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
Two imprisoned men bond over several years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.
● THE ARTIST
Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.
● FORREST GUMP
Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny, eludes him.