How to Read a Logline - Reading a logline

Writing a great logline can be difficult, but like most things – practice makes perfect, it’s so integral to the filmmaking process. Let’s jump into how to write a logline!

It’s the way to sell your script to a big Hollywood producer, a logline opens a lot of doors… But only if it’s great. Here we delve into the best methods on how to write a logline and some industry examples.

A bad logline can stop your fascinating, exciting script from being read, even if the script is well written, intriguing, and captivating – if the logline sucks, there’s the probability it’ll be ignored.

Below we show you how to craft a logline that will grip your audience the second they set eyes on it.

How to Read a Logline - Reading a logline

What is a logline?

A logline is a compact, precise description of your script that contains the premise of your film and the core conflict surrounding the protagonist. Your logline reads in a way that conveys the full story in a singular line but enough to hook the reader in to want to read more.

Here’s a quick video summary of what is a logline. If you think about it.. this video is essentially a logline in itself.

Example loglines

1. The silence of the lambs

A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

When an optimistic farm boy discovers that he has powers, he teams up with other rebel fighters to liberate the galaxy from the sinister forces of the Empire.

3. Finding Nemo

When his son is swept out to sea, an anxious clownfish embarks on a perilous journey across a treacherous ocean to bring him back.

4. The Hangover

A Las Vegas-set comedy centered around three groomsmen who lose their about-to-be-wed buddy during their drunken misadventures then must retrace their steps in order to find him.

READ MORE: Why your script outline is essential: 3 simple steps

READ MORE: The most iconic logline examples

The four key components of a logline

How to write a logline - Film clapper

When writing a logline, there are four key components to consider, these are:

  • Protagonist
  • Inciting incident
  • The protagonist’s goal
  • The main conflict of your story

These don’t need to be in order but are integral pieces of information when writing your logline.

READ MORE: 7 essential tips to improve dialogue within your script

How do you write a Logline?

1. Remember to develop a strong protagonist

The first part of the logline should show who or what your movie is about. This gives the reader an insight into who they are. Are they strong? Weak? Crazy? Mercurial? Describe who they are as you lead into the logline.

2. Use irony

Using irony is one of the best methods to make an interesting logline, pair your protagonist with something completely opposite to them. Drag them out of their comfort zone, they’ll be uncomfortable but will lead to a great read and an exhilarating journey for the audience.

3. Use active language

By using active and visual language it really captivates the visual aspect of the film, it allows the reader to imagine what this film could lookalike and generates a far bigger picture. Use words like “struggle” or “fighting” as it adds another layer to the logline.

For example, The protagonist “learns” that. Or, the protagonist “fights” for it. 

We know which one we prefer. The active language makes the logline exciting for the reader and keeps them intrigued at where the story may go.

4. To show the dramatic narrative

A great logline will lay the dramatic narrative out and keep the reader hooked. You don’t want to reveal all, but you want enough there to hook them in and making them want to read the full script to find out what happens to your protagonist.

Why do you need a logline?

1. To write your script

By having a well-crafted logline you have the foundations to write your script outline, film treatment and then the script. It really is important as these allow you to beat writer’s block and have a solid plan of where the story will go.

2. To get funding!

When sending your script to producers and production companies you must have a great logline. This is essentially what a producer uses to decide whether or not they will read your script. So, if it’s a poor one they will not read your script, no matter how amazing your script is. Don’t worry – all you need to do is use the above tips and you’ll be good to go!

3. Screenwriting competitions

It’s a must. When applying for screenwriting competitions you need to have a well-crafted logline, a solid film treatment and an intriguing, captivating script. There are many entrees per competition so to really stand out you need a potent logline. A lot of the execs will weed out in the early rounds screenplays with weak loglines.

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