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Loglines: What's it All About?

If you've scrolled around on IMDB, chances are you've seen a bunch of loglines. What is a logline? Why do I need it? How do I write a logline? Good questions! Let's take it one question at a time.

What is a logline? Why do I need it?

Loglines basically briefly say what your film is about. Unlike a synopsis, loglines are a great way to get someone interested into seeing your film. With a strong logline, chances are people will be interested in seeing your film. Loglines are usually used to sell your script!

Before you start writing your logline keep the following formula in mind. "When {INCITING INCIDENT) happens. [OUR PROTAGONIST] decides [TO DO ACTION] against [ANTAGONIST].

It might look confusing a bit at first but that's okay! If you're still a bit confused think about it like this.

A character (protagonist) sets out on a journey (plot), to do or to get something he or she absolutely needs or wants (goal), against all odds (antagonist & conflict).

How do I write a logline?

There are a few different methods to writing a logline. First there's the 3 step logline.

1. Who is the story about? (protagonist)

2. What he strives for? (goal)

3. What stands in his way? (antagonist)

Another way, a useful logline and something I was taught in screenwriting class, was the 4 step logline, aka the MadLib logline.

1. Who's story is it? (A specific protagonist. "An (adjective) _____")

2. What does he/she need or want? (goal)

3. What must he/she overcome to get that? (Make sure it's tangible and concrete. No theme, concept, and ideas.)

4. Why do we care? (What's at stake? What happens if he/she fails?)

EXAMPLE: When a teenage Kansas girl is tornadoed away into Oz, she, a scarecrow, tin man, and lion, helps her to meet the wizard while battling a wicked witch and flying monkeys, in order to get home.

 

And now for some final notes..

It's really important to note not to use someones name, unless it's a historical figure or someone famous, in your logline. If you have a character named "Crippled Carl" for example, one that's offensive to those with disabilities, and two, no one knows who he is. Also note, when writing your logline, make sure it's not too long or too short. Keep it at least one to two sentences and less than 30 words. I know that the above example is over 30 words, but its okay if it goes a bit over. Some rules are made to be broken.

If you have any questions about loglines, or want me to look it over, feel free to reach out to me by contacting me on my site! I'm more than happy to help out!