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Logline

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What is a Logline?

A logline is a brief and concise summary of the main story elements of a script, including the main character, their goal, conflict, and stakes.

It serves as a hook to grab the attention of producers, readers, or potential viewers and provides an overview of the central concept and plot.

A logline has only one or two sentences. The logline tells the reader about the main characters and their problem. It also points out who or what is against them.

A good logline will make you want to know more about the story. Think of it as a small ad for your script.

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Purpose and importance of a logline

A logline in screenwriting is a brief summary that captures the main elements of a story. It serves an important purpose in grabbing the attention of readers or listeners and generating interest in the screenplay.

A well-crafted logline can hook producers, agents, and investors, showcasing the unique and marketable aspects of the story. It provides a quick snapshot of the genre, tone, premise, and central conflict of the screenplay.

Loglines play a crucial role in the film industry as they help professionals assess the commercial viability and marketability of a script. Writing an effective logline requires a deep understanding of the story’s core elements and target audience to generate curiosity and leave people wanting to know more about it.

Elements of an Effective Logline

An effective logline is concise and clear, providing a brief summary of the main character’s goal, the central conflict they face, and the high stakes involved. It should also include a unique and compelling concept that hooks the reader or listener right away.

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Conciseness and clarity

A logline needs to be concise and clear. It should provide a brief summary of the story using strong and descriptive language. By keeping it short, the logline captures the reader’s attention and generates curiosity.

It should convey the main character, central conflict, setup, and antagonist in a way that is easy to understand. A well-crafted logline uses words that paint a vivid picture and leave the reader wanting to know more about the story.

In the film industry, a clear and concise logline helps producers quickly assess if a script has commercial potential.

Main character and their goal

The main character in a logline is the protagonist, and their goal is what they strive to achieve throughout the story. The goal can be a specific objective or desire that drives the character’s actions.

It creates conflict and tension in the plot, as the protagonist faces obstacles and challenges along the way. The logline should clearly convey who the main character is and what their goal is, giving readers or listeners a sense of what to expect from the story.

Conflict and stakes

Conflict and stakes are crucial elements of a logline in screenwriting. The conflict is the main problem or obstacle that the protagonist faces in the story, while the stakes refer to what they stand to gain or lose by overcoming or failing to overcome that conflict.

These two aspects help create tension and drive the narrative forward. For example, in “Jurassic Park,” the conflict is about surviving on an island full of dangerous dinosaurs, and the stakes are high as people’s lives are at risk.

In “The Shawshank Redemption,” the conflict revolves around a man trying to prove his innocence while imprisoned, with the stakes being his freedom and justice. A strong logline should clearly convey these elements to captivate readers or listeners and make them curious about how they will play out in the story.

Unique and compelling concept

unique and compelling concept is an important element of a logline in screenwriting. It refers to the originality and intriguing nature of the story idea that captures the attention of readers or listeners.

This concept sets the screenplay apart from others and makes it stand out in a crowded market. Having a unique and compelling concept increases the chances of getting noticed by producers, agents, or potential investors who are constantly seeking fresh and innovative ideas.

It can also create excitement among audiences, making them more likely to watch or engage with the final product.

Tips for Writing a Strong Logline

Keep your logline short and concise, avoid using character names, focus on the central conflict, include an element of irony or surprise, and don’t give away the ending. These tips will help you create a compelling logline that hooks your audience and leaves them wanting more.

Read on to discover examples of successful loglines that have captivated viewers and stood the test of time.

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Keep it short and concise

A logline in screenwriting should be short and to the point. It is usually one to two sentences long and captures the main elements of a screenplay or story. The purpose is to grab attention and generate interest in the script.

A good logline uses strong language, provides a sense of the genre, and leaves readers wanting to know more about the story. It’s an essential tool for pitching ideas to producers and assessing marketability.

Crafting an effective logline requires understanding the core elements of the story and its target audience.

Avoid using character names

When writing a logline in screenwriting, it is important to avoid using character names. Instead, focus on the central conflict and main elements of the story. Using character names can make the logline confusing and less engaging for the reader or listener.

By avoiding specific names, you can capture the essence of the story and its universal appeal. This allows producers, agents, or investors to better understand and envision the potential of your script.

Remember that a good logline should create curiosity and leave people wanting to know more about your story without relying on specific character names.

Focus on the central conflict

The central conflict is the main problem that the main character faces in a story. It creates tension and drives the plot forward. In a logline, it’s important to clearly highlight this conflict to grab the reader’s attention.

The central conflict should be intriguing and compelling, leaving the reader wanting to know how it will be resolved. By focusing on this key element, you can make your logline more engaging and increase the chances of capturing interest in your screenplay or story idea.

Include an element of irony or surprise

Crafting a logline that includes an element of irony or surprise can make it more intriguing and memorable. By adding unexpected twists or ironic elements, you can capture the reader’s attention and generate curiosity about the story.

For example, in “The Shawshank Redemption,” a man sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit finds hope and redemption through an unusual friendship. This twist adds irony to the logline and makes us eager to know how this unlikely situation unfolds.

In “Star Wars: A New Hope,” a young farm boy discovers he is destined to become a Jedi Knight and joins an epic battle against evil forces. The surprising revelation of his hidden powers adds intrigue and excitement to the logline.

Don’t give away the ending

In a logline, it’s important not to give away the ending of the story. This means that you shouldn’t reveal how the conflict is resolved or what happens to the main character. The purpose of a logline is to generate interest and curiosity, so giving away the ending would spoil that.

Instead, focus on creating intrigue and leaving the reader or listener wanting to know more about how everything unfolds in the story.

Examples of Successful Loglines

The Godfather: “A reluctant heir to a powerful crime family must navigate the dangerous world of organized crime while trying to maintain his own morality.”

Jurassic Park: “Scientists on an island amusement park must fight for their lives when genetically engineered dinosaurs break free and wreak havoc.”

The Shawshank Redemption: “Two imprisoned men form an unlikely friendship as they plan their escape from a corrupt prison system.”

Star Wars: A New Hope: “A young farm boy joins forces with a group of rebels to defeat an evil empire and save the galaxy.”

The Matrix: “A computer programmer discovers that reality is actually a simulated world created by machines, leading him to join a rebellion against them.”

These examples give you a taste of what makes a successful logline and can inspire you to craft your own captivating pitch.

The Godfather

“The Godfather” is a famous film that tells the story of the Corleone crime family. The logline for this movie could be: “The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control to his reluctant son, sparking a violent power struggle with rival families.” This logline captures the main character’s central conflict and sets up the premise of the movie.

It highlights the unique aspect of the story by showcasing how a family’s internal struggles play out in the world of organized crime.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park is a famous movie that showcases the concept of a logline. The logline for Jurassic Park would be something like this: “A group of scientists, along with two children, visit a remote island where genetically-engineered dinosaurs roam free.

As chaos erupts and the dinosaurs escape their enclosures, they must find a way to survive and prevent the dangerous creatures from reaching the mainland.” This logline captures the main characters, the central conflict (the escape of genetically engineered dinosaurs), and the high stakes involved in the story.

The Shawshank Redemption

“The Shawshank Redemption” is a popular movie that showcases the power of hope and friendship. It tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary.

Despite facing harsh conditions and corrupt guards, Andy forms a bond with fellow inmate Red and uses his intelligence to navigate through the prison system. Through their perseverance, they find solace and eventual redemption within the confines of Shawshank Prison.

The film has received critical acclaim for its powerful storytelling, memorable characters, and themes of resilience and endurance.

Star Wars: A New Hope

“Star Wars: A New Hope” is a classic film from the Star Wars franchise. It takes place in a galaxy far, far away, and follows the journey of a young farm boy named Luke Skywalker. When Luke discovers that he has special powers called the Force, he joins forces with a group of rebels to stop an evil empire led by Darth Vader.

Along the way, they face exciting battles and encounter memorable characters like Princess Leia and Han Solo. The film combines epic space battles, thrilling adventure, and themes of good versus evil.to create an unforgettable story loved by audiences of all ages.

The Matrix

“The Matrix” is a popular sci-fi film that was released in 1999. The logline for this movie would be something like: “In a future where machines have taken over the world, a computer hacker discovers that reality is actually a simulated world created by these machines.

He joins a group of rebels to fight against the machines and free humanity.” This logline highlights the main character (the hacker), the central conflict (fighting against the machines), and the unique concept of a simulated reality.

It generates curiosity and captures the essence of what makes “The Matrix” an intriguing and exciting film.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a logline in screenwriting is a brief summary that captures the main elements of a screenplay or story. It is a powerful tool to hook readers and generate interest in the script.

A good logline should be concise, clear, and impactful, using strong language to convey the essence of the story. Crafting an effective logline requires understanding the core elements of the story and its target audience.

Overall, a well-written logline can play a crucial role in attracting attention from producers, agents, and investors in the film industry.

FAQs

What is a Logline in screenwriting?

A logline in scriptwriting is a one or two sentence summary that tells the core concept of your film production.

How can I write a good logline?

The best way to create a logline is by using the BFA formula, which helps structure your narrative. It includes character development and plot synopsis.

What’s the difference between a tagline and a logline?

Taglines are made for film marketing, while loglines sum up the movie’s story for script analysis or during show pitches.

Why is having an effective Logline important in scriptwriting?

An effective Logline guides the structure of your screenplay. It also grabs attention when you pitch it to others in film production.