When writing your screenplay, summarising it into a maximum of two sentences can feel near on impossible. If you are looking to enter your script into a competition, pitch it to a producer or try and get funding – a logline is extremely important.
The logline in fact can determine whether or not someone will read your script, so you need to be sure to nail it!
What is a logline?
A logline is a compact description (usually one or two sentences) of your script that contains the premise of your film but also allows for the emotional undertones to get the reader interested.
The logline contains the protagonist and conflict in a way that reads well but conveys the full story that will hook the reader in.
Examples of popular loglines:
Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him.
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.
Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II: An American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.
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.
Why do you need to write a logline?
There are many reasons you need to write a logline. One of the main reasons is simply for funding. The goal of the logline is to keep the reader hooked, and make them want to read more – this will give you a much better chance that the gatekeeper will pick your script up and begin to read.
You also need to write a logline to help build out the script outline. The logline is integral to building out your script outline. This then leads onto the film treatment, this will also need to be placed at the top of your film treatment – which you can use for screenwriting competitions and approaching screenwriting managers and production companies.
*Remember, if you can’t sum your script up in one line, it shouldn’t be written (YET).
What are the components of a logline?
A logline consists of the main protagonist/character, the setup and the central focus of conflict mixed within.
Constructing a logline:
- Who is the protagonist(s)?
- What is their goal?
- What is the inciting incident?
- What is the conflict?
Below is an example of a famous logline breakdown.
The Hangover movie:
The Protagonist – Three of the Wolfpack (Stu, Alan and Phil).
The Inciting Incident – A crazy night out drinking.
The Goal – to find the groom.
The Conflict – There are only a few hours until the wedding.
Check out some more loglines here, and try and break them down into the above formula, this will help you develop your logline writing skills.