Logline – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Screenwriting Glossary Terms

What is a logline?

A logline is a brief summary of a screenplay or movie that captures the essence of the story in just one or two sentences. It is often used as a tool to pitch a script to producers, agents, or potential investors. A well-crafted logline should convey the main conflict, protagonist, and stakes of the story in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and leaves them wanting to know more.

Why is a logline important in screenwriting?

A logline is crucial in screenwriting because it serves as the first impression of your script. In a competitive industry where hundreds of scripts are vying for attention, a strong logline can make your script stand out from the rest. It is often the first thing that a producer or agent will read, and if it doesn’t grab their attention right away, they may not bother to read the rest of the script. A compelling logline can generate interest in your project and open doors to opportunities for development and production.

How to create a compelling logline?

Creating a compelling logline requires distilling the essence of your story down to its most essential elements. To craft a strong logline, start by identifying the main conflict of your story and the protagonist who must overcome it. Focus on what makes your story unique and interesting, and try to convey that in a concise and engaging way. Avoid giving away too much detail or getting bogged down in secondary plot points. Keep it simple, clear, and intriguing.

What are the key elements of a successful logline?

A successful logline should include the following key elements:
1. The protagonist: Who is the main character of the story?
2. The conflict: What is the main obstacle or challenge that the protagonist must overcome?
3. The stakes: What are the consequences of failure for the protagonist?
4. The hook: What is the unique or intriguing aspect of the story that sets it apart from others?

Examples of effective loglines in popular films

1. “In a world where dinosaurs roam freely, a group of scientists must fight for survival when the park’s security systems fail.” – Jurassic Park
2. “A young boy befriends a friendly alien and must help him return home before the government captures him.” – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
3. “A young woman must navigate a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a serial killer who targets her friends.” – Scream

Tips for refining and perfecting your logline

1. Keep it short and sweet: Aim for one or two sentences that capture the essence of your story.
2. Focus on the main conflict: Make sure your logline clearly conveys the central conflict of the story.
3. Make it unique: Highlight what sets your story apart from others in the same genre.
4. Test it out: Pitch your logline to friends, colleagues, or industry professionals to get feedback and make improvements.
5. Revise and refine: Don’t be afraid to revise your logline multiple times until you find the perfect combination of clarity and intrigue.