A logline is a summary of your script. It conveys the dramatic story - condensed into one sentence (more complex scripts sometimes require a two-sentence logline). The logline is not the same as the film’s tagline, which is a catchy, short-phrase or slogan used by film studios to market a movie.
- “The End Begins” (Terminator Salvation)
- “How do you break free without breaking apart?” (Revolutionary Road)
- “You think you know who you are. You have no idea” (Crash)
The logline effectively communicates the concept and the central problem that the main character needs to resolve.
“A drunken superhero, who has fallen out of favor with the community, meets a do-good public relations professional who tries to help him repair his image.” (Hancock)
“After his wife and youngest child are brutally murdered, an Irish mobster hits the road with his surviving twelve year-old son and seeks revenge on those who betrayed him.” (Road to Perdition)
“On his final run, an ex-cop turned bounty hunter must track a bail-jumping accountant/mob embezzler and drag him cross-country from New York to Los Angeles while eluding the FBI, the mob, and a rival bounty hunter.” (Midnight Run)
“In 13th century Scotland, a common man becomes a legend when he leads an uprising to overthrow English rule and gain Scottish freedom.” (Braveheart)
- “Three police officers unravel the truth behind the ‘random’ murder of a corrupt policeman and expose the political and judicial depravity of 1950’s Hollywood.” (L.A. Confidential)
Why do you need a logline?
Creating a logline is a crucial first step in planning your screenplay. The logline is a tool you can use when writing and revising your script to keep you focused.
- You will need a logline to sell your screenplay.
Five Tips for Writing Your Logline:
Establish the Main Character
Who is the protagonist - an ex-cop, a gunslinger, an Irish mobster, a super-hero?
State the Main Character’s Need or Goal
What does your main character want – to get revenge, to find the truth, to repair his image, to track a bail-jumper, to free his people from tyranny?
Provide a Promise of Conflict
What obstacles does your protagonist face in achieving his goal – corrupt law enforcement, another bounty hunter, the FBI and the mob, English military rule, his own character flaw?
Stimulate Interest with a Hook
What is unique about the story – a super-hero that’s an alcoholic, a mobster on-the-road with his young son?
- Convey All Relevant Information
A studio executive who has not read your script should be able to read your logline and fully understand the concept without any additional information. Do not include character intricacies, sub-plots, or specific scenes.
Now go write your logline!