If you think a logline is a sentence that condenses your entire narrative you are missing the mark, and if you think that it only needs to tell enough of the story to perk the interest of the reader you’re no better off. The way to write a successful logline is to ensure that you communicate the story idea succinctly and clearly. Importantly you must make the reader visualise the film – instantly.
Easier said than done!
Most aspiring writers struggle to write quality loglines, and in my experience many veteran writers have never mastered the art. Research shows that there is a lot of information (and misinformation) available about how to formulate a logline, and what information must be included when writing one. So I thought I’d take a different angle on it, and share a list of common mistakes that I have collected over the years from various sources.
Of course from this list you’ll also be able to extract what I think you should include in your logline. Good luck…
It’s a tagline not a logline!
Too much story explanation
Not specific enough
It contains clichés
Not one distinct idea
Sounds like another film
Genre is not clear
World is not clear
Time and place are not clear
Protagonist is not clear
Protagonist’s goal is not clear
Story is not clear
The conflict is not clear
The stakes are not clear
There is a question or unexplained mystery
There is no irony
There is no sense of tone
It uses character names
There is no inciting incident
I left the inciting incident for last, because for me it’s the most important element of a quality logline. Make certain that it’s there.
You are welcome to share your loglines with us in comments – I look forward to seing them.
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