How to Write a Logline - OFFICIAL DISCUSSION


#1

If you plan on becoming a screenwriter, the ability to craft a good logline will become a crucial part of your skill set.

A logline is a 1-2 sentence summary of what the core of your story is about. Not only that, it serves as a baseline from which you can communicate your story quickly and clearly to many different people. So crafting a good one is harder than it looks!

In this video, RocketJump’s Head Writer Will Campos tackles the process of writing an effective logline for your script, and explains why it’s important to the writing process. Not only is it good for quick communication and a solid pitch, but it can actually help you become a better writer.

Questions for @ShotBotWill? Want to take a shot at writing your own loglines? Comment below and chat with us in the forums!!


#2

#3

#4

On a separate note – Before any discussion begins, can we have a completely awful logline contest? Something that just touches way too much on unimportant plot devices?

A teenage farmer from a desert town befriends a religious extremist and a smuggler in order to rescue a princess he is incestuously attracted to from a fascist regime all the way across the galaxy.


#5

Here’s one:

A detached mathematician joins a team of code breakers, as they work to solve Enigma for the Great British Empire, and stop Europe from being engulfed in tyranny.


I need some help with my videos
#6

But Willy, your logline says nothing about the setting of WWII or who the antagonists are, Nazi Germany.

How about my favourite movie, can anyone guess?

An actor past his prime doing advertisement work bonds with a graduate student over their loneliness and unhappy marriages in alien Tokyo.


#7

Here’s my logline: “Snakes on a plane.” Guess which movie. :grin:


#8

Star Wars: A New Hope,

(Extremist? I always considered him more monk-ish?)


#9

Lost in Translation?


#10

In 80s Dublin, a teenage boy forms a school rock band to impress a mysterious girl across the street.


#11

Family hires Nanny with no formal qualifications who talks to her umbrella and force feeds kids sugar.


#12

A small town sheriff attempts to reconnect with his family while he argues about the closing of a beach with the town’s mayor with the assistance of a marine biologist and navy veteran.


#13

Obi-Wan Kenobi is definitely a religious extremist. He literally was part of a theocratic military force.


#14

I didn’t write this, but this is the logline from my favorite film:

An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

I wouldn’t ever arrive anywhere near this level of artistry, but they sure did it.


#15

Guys, can you help me write my logline?

  1. Who is your character? Joey, undercover government agent working inside of the mob, smartass, heroic at heart
  2. What do they want? To escape/end an interrogation he’s enduring, to do the right thing, to return home to his younger brother, Elliot.
  3. What gets in the way of what they want? The mobsters Randall and Ted, who ruthlessly interrogate him for intel on a “second mole” (Joey being the first), he doesn’t even know about.
  4. How do they try to overcome their obstacle? Trying to convince the mobsters he really doesn’t know who the second mole is (which is true), and to escape the interrogation room.

Yeah I know it sounds like every action movie ever. I tried giving the tale a different spin in its execution. Here’s the script, for reference (don’t worry it’s short): https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2nS50UTndh4YUl3MUZIcG5ISjQ

Ugh, I feel like a terrible writer.


#16

The Imitation Game - great movie:+1:


#17

First off, Everyone needs practice, and this is excellent practice.
Secondly, This is my opinion, so feel free to completely ignore it if you do not agree. It’s your work, You have the final say in whatever happens to it.

That ending doesn’t make sense in my opinion. Him and Ted being shot is one thing, I can see that. It makes sense, and fits within this narrative. But, A. If you want Randall to be a spy, he can’t break a thumb. That’s then, later, translates to him being purposefully evil. He can sock Joey in the face or something, As that definitely heals, and won’t hinder him at all. But breaking his thumb? That means he can’t use that thumb should Randall need him. And B. Joey can’t kill himself, at least, not there and then. At that moment, it is literally the least intelligent choice he could have made. If he’d gotten patched up, he would’ve been able to walk, albeit meekly, and able to shoot, albeit while in serious pain. Perhaps, You could end it off with the mob bursting into the door, with Joey then pulling a gun on them, fading out, gunfire clear, and then fade to Elliot, and Joey comes out, very much alive, or Randall comes out, very clearly bearing bad news. But that’s just me. At minimum, if you go by my opinion., You ought to change it so Joey does not kill himself under that exact scenario, because his reasoning isn’t strong enough.


#18

Thanks for the critique! Although, I do feel like you might’ve missed out on some plot points (although arguably that’s my fault as a writer):

A) It certainly does seem that way. The reality is, Randall broke Joey’s thumb so he could escape his handcuffs, without blowing his cover to Ted. I thought about Randall noting this in the ending dialog, but I was afraid to dump too much exposition on the audience…come to think of it, Randall saying something like “Sorry about breaking your thumb” (or something like that) would suffice.

B) This depends. If Joey got shot somewhere else less vital instead of his chest, he might’ve gone this route. However, if we make the wound really messy on set, or perhaps have a sequence where Randall desperately tries to fix his wound and fails; his suicide would make more sense. See, Joey knows that his wound is bad enough he’s not going to make it, and he’s only going to be a liability to Randall–if Randall tried to escape with a dying Joey, neither of them would’ve made it. Joey instead decides to kill himself, sparing Randall the burden and actually giving him a better shot at making it out. Joey also tells him to tell the government that he betrayed Joey. This way, Randall would be seen as a hero, rather than a coward for leaving Joey behind.

Technically, I disagree with you. However, you’re not the only one who was confused about the ending. So I’ll be reworking the script and I did learn important stuff from you. Thank you for your critique!


#19

Here’s a logline I came up with for one of my favorite movie:
A rich debutante with amnesia is brought into a chaotic household under the ruse that she is the mother of four children which belong to a carpenter she refused to pay.


#20

I used this as the boot in the butt to create my elevator pitch. I just completed the first draft of the script and I need to explain to collaborators, students, and supporters what it’s all about. Special bonus: it’s in Spanish!

Una estudiante de arte sublevado que viva una vida doblé como una grafitera lucha a expresar su propia misma vía arte anticonvencional. En el proceso, ella discuerda con figuras de autoridad y pelea con sus demonios interiores.

Spanish isn’t my native tongue—if anyone with greater Spanish fluency sees any major grammatical errors, please point them out!