Master the Art of Crafting a Compelling Logline and Grab Your Audience’s Attention

How to craft a logline

A logline is a powerful tool that every screenwriter should have in their arsenal. It is a concise and captivating description that sums up the essence of a script or a film in just a few sentences. When done right, a logline can effectively convey the main character, their journey, and the stakes they face, leaving the reader eager to know more. In this article, we will explore what a logline is, why it’s important, and how to create a logline that stands out.

First and foremost, let’s break down what makes a good logline. A logline should answer three main questions: who is the main character, what do they want, and what obstacles stand in their way. For example, let’s take a look at the logline for the film “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006): “A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he’s poised to begin a life-changing professional endeavor.” In just one sentence, this logline introduces us to the main character, Chris Gardner, his goal of a stable career, and the high stakes he faces as a single father.

When crafting a logline, it’s important to remember that less is more. Keep it concise and to the point, using strong and evocative words that capture the essence of your story. A good logline is like a teaser trailer for your script, enticing the reader or listener to want more. Let’s break down the logline for the film “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006): “A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.” This logline introduces us to the main character, Miranda Priestly, her high-stakes position, and the struggles that the protagonist must navigate. It leaves us wanting to know more about the challenges that the protagonist will face and how she will overcome them.

In addition to being concise, a logline should also have a clear and unique voice that reflects the tone and genre of your story. For example, here’s the logline for the film “La La Land” (2016): “In this modern take on the Hollywood musical, a pianist and an actress fall in love while pursuing their dreams in Los Angeles.” This logline immediately sets the tone for the film, conveying the romantic and musical elements that make it unique. It also introduces us to the two main characters and their shared goal, making us curious to know how their love story will unfold and how it will ultimately affect their individual pursuits.

Now that you understand the importance of a logline and what makes it effective, let’s dive into some practical tips for creating your own. First, start by identifying the main character and their goals. What does your protagonist want more than anything? What are the stakes if they don’t achieve their goal? Next, think about the journey your character will go through and the obstacles they will face. How will they grow and change over the course of the story? Finally, put it all together in a concise and captivating sentence that captures the essence of your script.

Remember, a good logline is a powerful tool that can open doors for your career as a screenwriter. It’s the first impression that people will have of your script, and it can make or break their interest in reading or watching it. So take the time to craft a logline that truly stands out. Work on conveying the heart of your story, the struggles your characters face, and the high stakes that will keep the audience invested. And above all, be passionate about the logline you create. Let it be a reflection of your creativity and your voice as a writer. After all, when a logline works, it not only gets people to care – it gets them ready to invest in the journey that unfolds on the screen.

How to write a logline in 2023 Length tips more

When it comes to writing a logline in 2023, there are a few key tips and tricks to keep in mind. Your logline is ultimately a short and concise summary of your film or screenplay, designed to convey the essence of your story and convince people to want more. Here are 7 tips that can help you craft a good logline:

1. Keep it short:

Try to keep your logline to one or two sentences. It should be a quick and easy read that gets straight to the point.

2. Focus on the main character:

A logline should always center around the main character. Let the reader know who they’ll be following on this journey.

3. Highlight the conflict:

What struggles does your main character face? What tension is there in their story? These are important matters to address in your logline.

4. Convey the genre:

Is your film a comedy, drama, or thriller? Make sure to include the genre in your logline to give the reader an idea of the tone.

5. Raise a question:

Leave the reader with something to ponder by ending your logline with a question. This can create intrigue and make them want to know more.

6. Be specific:

Avoid vague language and focus on the unique aspects of your story. What makes it stand out from the crowd?

7. Use action and emotion:

Each word in your logline matters, so choose them wisely. Use action verbs and evoke emotion to make your logline more powerful.

Now that you have these tips in mind, let’s break down a few examples of loglines using the above guidelines:

Example 1:

When an eccentric pianist in 2023 London teams up with a finance expert, they must raise enough money to save their beloved music school from closing, threatening not only their dreams but also the future of music education.

Example 2:

In the not-so-distant future, a screenwriter struggling to come up with a great logline for his latest sci-fi script takes an elevator ride that transports him to a world where all his ideas and characters come to life, forcing him to confront his greatest fears and find his way back home.

Example 3:

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, a group of survivors must journey across the country to find a legendary city that holds the key to rebuilding society, facing dangerous obstacles and their own personal demons along the way.

As you can see, writing a logline can be a challenge, but with these tips and examples, you’ll be able to craft a logline that truly captures the essence of your story and leaves a lightning strike impression!

What’s next? Get your elevator pitch ready

Now that you’ve learned how to craft a logline, it’s time to take your skills to the next level and get your elevator pitch ready. An elevator pitch is a short and concise summary of your film or TV show concept.

Imagine you’re in an elevator with a high-powered executive who could potentially make your dreams come true. You have only a few seconds – the time it takes to ride the elevator – to capture their attention and sell them on your idea.

But how do you condense your logline into a pitch that is quick and compelling? Here are 6 tips to help you create an elevator pitch that stands out:

1. Know your essence: Understand the core essence of your story. What makes it unique and compelling? What is the underlying theme or message you want to convey?

2. Convey your character’s journey: Communicate the main character’s struggles, goals, and how they change throughout the story. This will give the listener a sense of emotional investment in your concept.

3. Be specific: Use vivid and specific examples to paint a picture in the listener’s mind. Don’t just say “a woman gets a job promotion”; say “a highly eccentric woman with a passion for playing the piano gets the opportunity of a lifetime to be the opening act for a famous pianist.”

4. Keep it short: Your elevator pitch should be no longer than 2-3 sentences. Stick to the most important details that will grab the listener’s attention.

5. Get active: Use action words to make your pitch more engaging and exciting. Instead of saying “the main character struggles with her career,” say “the main character fights against the corporate finance world to raise funds for her daughter’s life-saving surgery.”

6. Practice, practice, practice: Write out your elevator pitch and practice saying it out loud. You want to be able to deliver it smoothly and confidently when the opportunity arises.

Remember, your elevator pitch is a lightning-fast synopsis of your story. It should be intriguing, exciting, and leave the listener wanting to know more. Use the tips above to craft a pitch that will make your project stand out in a crowded room.

How do we write truly great loglines

When it comes to crafting a logline that truly stands out, there are a few key elements that every screenwriter should remember. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newcomer to the world of writing, these tips will help you create loglines that grab attention and sell your story.

The first rule of writing a great logline is to raise the stakes. You want to pique the reader’s interest and make them want to know more. Give them a reason to care about your story by creating conflict and tension right from the start. For example, instead of simply saying “A woman in London tries to find love,” you could add more intrigue by saying “A woman in London searches for her long-lost daughter before a mysterious deadline.” The second version raises the stakes and creates a sense of urgency that hooks the reader.

Another important aspect of a great logline is to convey the passion and emotion behind your story. Use strong and vivid language to describe your characters and their motivation. Instead of saying “Three women in London face challenges,” you could say “Three eccentric women in London join forces to save their beloved eccentric pianist’s career.” This not only gives the reader a clearer picture of what the story is about, but also communicates the passion and drive of the characters.

One key element to remember when writing a logline is that less is more. You don’t want to overwhelm the reader with too much information or a long-winded description. Keep it concise and to the point. Here’s an example of a concise logline: “In 2023, a woman must convince her high school’s rival basketball teams to put aside their differences and work together to save their dying town.” This logline gives a clear idea of the story and the conflict without going into unnecessary details.

When it comes to writing loglines, it’s also important to remember the elevator pitch rule. Imagine you only have a short elevator ride to convince someone to read your script. You need to be able to convey the essence of your story in just a few sentences. This is where a well-crafted logline comes in. Use it as a tool to hook the reader and make them want to know more.

Finally, one of the most important things to remember when writing a logline is to make it unique and memorable. Avoid cliches and generic descriptions. Give your logline a unique twist or angle that sets it apart from the rest. For example, instead of saying “A good cop fights against a corrupt system,” you could say “An eccentric detective with a knack for solving crime teams up with a psychic to take down a mysterious serial killer.” This logline stands out and grabs attention.

So, whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, these guidelines will help you write loglines that truly stand out. Remember to raise the stakes, convey passion, keep it concise, use the elevator pitch rule, and make it unique. With these five important elements, you’ll be on your way to crafting loglines that sell your story and get noticed.

1 Write a logline not a synopsis

1 Write a logline not a synopsis

When it comes to crafting a logline, it’s important to remember that you’re not writing a synopsis. A logline is a one or two-sentence description that effectively communicates the essence of your story, while a synopsis provides a detailed summary of the entire plot.

So why is it important to write a logline instead of a synopsis? Well, for one, a logline is much easier to remember and communicate to others. If someone asks you what your film or story is about, you can quickly and concisely share your logline, leaving them with a clear understanding of the story’s premise.

Additionally, a logline helps you focus on the core elements of your story. By forcing yourself to condense your plot into just a few sentences, you’re able to distill your ideas down to their most essential components. This exercise can uncover new insights and help you strengthen the foundation of your story.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  1. Example 1: A highly eccentric pianist teams up with a woman who can raise lightning with her hands to save their city from an ancient evil.
  2. Example 2: In a world where finance is the ultimate power, an ex-convict must outsmart a corrupt corporation to uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious death.
  3. Example 3: When a group of strangers find themselves trapped in a remote cabin, they must work together to survive the night, but soon realize that one of them is not who they seem.

In each of these examples, the logline stands alone as a clear and active description of the stakes and the characters involved. The logline is designed to grab attention and make people curious about the story. It’s a powerful marketing tool and can be highly effective in selling your ideas to industry professionals.

Of course, writing a logline is not always an easy task. It can take time and effort to distill your story down to its most essential elements. But once you have a strong logline, it provides a solid foundation for your writing process. It serves as a reminder of what truly matters in your story and helps to keep you on track as you navigate the complexities of your plot and characters.

So remember, when crafting a logline, don’t get caught up in the rulebook of creating a synopsis. Focus on capturing the heart and essence of your story in just a few sentences. Use active language, create tension, and make people want to know more. With a great logline, you’ll stand a much better chance of grabbing people’s attention and getting them excited about your project.

2 Don’t write a tagline either

When it comes to crafting loglines, it’s important to understand that they are not taglines. Taglines are short phrases or slogans that are used for marketing purposes to entice viewers and create buzz. Loglines, on the other hand, serve a different purpose.

Loglines are brief yet descriptive summaries of a film or TV show that convey the essence of the story. They provide a clear and concise snapshot of the main characters, their goals, and the stakes they face. Loglines also highlight the central conflict and the struggles the characters must overcome, raising the tension and making the audience want to know more.

While taglines focus on catchy phrases and creating intrigue, loglines are meant to communicate the story’s core elements. Theyll give potential audiences a better idea of what to expect and attract the attention of industry professionals, including producers and agents. A well-crafted logline can make or break a pitch, so it’s an essential tool for any screenwriter.

Let’s break down what makes a good logline:

  1. Clear and concise: A logline should be straightforward and easy to understand. It should convey the main idea of the story without unnecessary details.
  2. Engaging: A logline should grab the reader’s attention and make them care about the characters and their struggles. It should raise the stakes and create tension.
  3. Descriptive: A logline should provide a brief description of the main characters, their goals, and the obstacles they face. It should give a sense of the story’s unique voice and tone.
  4. Marketable: A logline should have commercial appeal and stand out in a crowded market. It should convey why the story is compelling and why audiences would want to see it.
  5. Convey the main idea: A logline should give a sense of the story’s main idea and what sets it apart from other films in the same genre. It should highlight the central conflict and the unique elements that make the story worth telling.

Remember, a logline is not a synopsis. It’s a tool to pitch your ideas and get industry professionals interested in reading your script or watching your film. So, don’t get too caught up in trying to include every little detail. Focus on the most important aspects of your story and convey them in a compelling way.

Here’s an example of a well-crafted logline:

  • When a struggling pianist’s daughter is diagnosed with a rare illness, he teams up with a brilliant scientist to build a time machine and travel to the future for a cure. But as they journey through 2023 London, they discover that the future holds high stakes and dark secrets that threaten their lives and the fate of humanity.

As you can see, this logline gives a clear picture of the main characters, their goals, and the obstacles they face. It also raises questions and creates tension, making the reader want to know more. It’s an effective logline that conveys the unique elements of the story and sets it apart from other time travel films.

So, when crafting your logline, remember to focus on what’s most important and convey it in a clear and engaging way. Avoid writing taglines or long-winded synopses. Use the five tips above as a resource to help you craft a logline that stands out and gets people excited about your story.

3 Sell the main character

3 Sell the main character

Selling the main character is an essential part of crafting a compelling logline. It’s through the main character that the audience will connect with your story and become emotionally invested.

When crafting your logline, break down the essence of your main character into a few key traits or goals. Let these traits or goals shine through in your logline to make it clear who your main character is and what they want.

Here are 6 examples of loglines that sell the main character:

  1. “London, 2023. When a young screenwriter with a passion for history gets the chance to write the greatest film of her time, she must confront her own struggles with self-doubt and find the confidence to create something truly remarkable.”
  2. “In a future where lightning strikes tear open the sky, a young girl with the power to communicate with teams up with a mysterious stranger to save her village from impending doom.”
  3. “When a down-on-his-luck detective is hired to find a missing daughter, he must navigate the seedy underbelly of the city and face his own demons to bring her home alive.”
  4. “In a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, a skilled thief with a troubled past teams up with a brilliant hacker to pull off the ultimate heist and get their lives back on track.”
  5. “A young woman with a knack for solving puzzles finds herself caught up in a dangerous conspiracy when she unwittingly uncovers a hidden treasure map.”
  6. “When a small-town girl with big dreams is accepted into a prestigious performing arts school, she must navigate the cutthroat world of competition while staying true to herself.”

These examples demonstrate how to convey the main character’s goals and struggles in just a few sentences. The names and specific details can be tweaked to fit your story, but the focus should always be on selling the main character and making their journey clear.

Remember, the main character is an important tool for connecting with your audience. Get ready to craft a logline that sells your main character and entices readers to want to know more about their story.

4 Don’t use names

When crafting a logline, it’s important not to use character names. Instead, focus on the essence of the character or their role in the story. This allows the reader to connect with the character on a deeper level and also helps to convey the central conflict or theme of the story.

Using character names in a logline can be confusing and also limits the effectiveness of the logline as a pitch tool. It’s much more important to create a clear and concise logline that immediately grabs the attention of the reader and leaves them wanting more.

For example, instead of saying “John, a plucky young pianist, struggles to make it in the competitive world of London’s music scene,” you could say “A young pianist fights to find her voice in the cutthroat world of London’s music scene.”

By removing the specific name and focusing on the struggle and journey of the character, the logline becomes more universal and relatable. It also creates more tension and raises the stakes, making it more appealing to potential buyers or producers.

Remember, the logline is not a synopsis or a detailed explanation of the story. It’s a concise pitch that ultimately sells the idea and raises the reader’s curiosity. Stick to the rule of thumb: don’t use names, focus on what’s important, and convey the core of the story in a clear and compelling way.

5 Think about your character’s goals

When crafting a logline, it’s important to think about what your character’s goals are. What do they want to achieve in their life or career? This is a crucial aspect of their character that you can’t afford to overlook.

Not only does thinking about your character’s goals help you create a clear and concise logline, but it also helps you understand your character on a deeper level. By knowing what your character wants, you can better understand their motivations and struggles.

For example, let’s say you’re writing a story about a woman who is a plucky pianist. Her dream is to become the greatest pianist of all time. That’s her ultimate goal, and it’s what drives her throughout the story.

In the logline, you can communicate her goal by saying something like: “A plucky pianist fights to become the greatest pianist of all time.” This simple yet powerful sentence conveys the essence of what the story is about and gives potential readers or viewers a clear idea of what to expect.

When crafting your logline, it’s important to remember the 7-8-7 rule. This means you have seven words to grab the reader’s attention, eight words to explain the main conflict or struggle, and another seven words to raise the stakes or show what’s at stake.

For example, using our plucky pianist example, you could write a logline like this: “A plucky pianist struggles to become the greatest, but when lightning strikes, she can’t afford to lose her voice.” This logline follows the 7-8-7 rule and gives a concise description of the story.

Having a clear goal for your character not only helps with writing the logline but also makes it easier to pitch your story to people. When you can clearly explain what your character wants and the journey they will go through to achieve it, it becomes much more enticing for others to get on board with your project.

Remember, the main goal of your logline is to generate interest and get people excited about your story. By focusing on your character’s goals, you can craft a logline that truly captures the essence of your story and raises curiosity.

6 Use the active voice

When crafting loglines, it’s important to use the active voice. This means structuring your sentences in a way that clearly conveys who is performing the action. Using the active voice helps to create concise and impactful loglines that grab the reader’s attention.

For example, let’s say you’re writing a logline for a film about a young pianist striving to make it in the competitive world of classical music. Instead of saying, “A pianist is trying to make it in the classical music industry,” you could use the active voice and say, “A young pianist fights against all odds to make a name for herself in the cutthroat world of classical music.”

The active voice not only makes your loglines more engaging, but it also helps to convey the stakes and struggles that your main character faces. It allows you to communicate the goals and journey of your character in a clear and direct way.

Using the active voice in loglines is also important because it helps to sell your story. Loglines are often used as a pitch tool to communicate the essence of your story to producers, agents, and investors. By using the active voice, you can easily explain the core of your story in a simple, concise, and compelling way.

Here are some more examples of loglines that use the active voice:

  1. A single mother with three daughters struggles to balance her career, her passion for writing, and her desire to provide a good life for her family.
  2. In the year 2023, a team of young women tear down finance industry stereotypes as they break into the high-stakes world of investment banking.
  3. An ordinary man is sent back in time to prevent a lightning strike that would ultimately change the course of history.
  4. When a resourceful teenager finds herself stranded on a deserted island, she must use her wits and determination to survive and find a way back home.
  5. A group of friends embark on a journey of self-discovery as they strive to achieve their dreams in the competitive world of professional dance.

Remember, using the active voice in your loglines helps to create sentences that are easy to understand, convey the stakes and struggles of your characters, and ultimately sell your story. So, whenever you’re crafting a logline, don’t forget to use the active voice!

7 Raise the stakes

Raising the stakes is a crucial aspect of crafting a compelling logline or synopsis. It lets the reader know that there is something at stake for the characters and creates a sense of tension and urgency. This is especially important when pitching your story to industry professionals or potential investors, as they need to be convinced that your story has the potential to captivate audiences and make a profit.

So, how do you raise the stakes in your logline or synopsis? Here are some tips:

  1. Focus on the essence of your story: In just a few sentences, convey the core struggles, conflicts, and themes of your story.
  2. Create a sense of urgency: Highlight a time constraint or a ticking clock that puts pressure on the characters to act.
  3. Make the stakes personal: Show how the events of the story impact the lives of the characters on a deep, personal level.
  4. Introduce obstacles and challenges: What are the main obstacles or challenges that the characters must overcome in order to achieve their goals?
  5. Show consequences: What will happen if the characters fail to overcome these obstacles? What is at risk?
  6. Highlight the emotional journey: How does the protagonist change and grow throughout the story? What emotions are they experiencing?
  7. Emphasize the unique elements: What makes your story stand out? Is there something highly eccentric or distinctive about your characters or the premise?

Remember, the goal is to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to know more about your story. By incorporating these tips into your logline or synopsis, you can create a high-stakes description that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

8 Tear up the rulebook

When it comes to crafting a logline, it’s important to think outside of the box and let your creativity fly. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and try something new.

Over the years, many successful films have made an impact by taking risks and defying traditional storytelling conventions. By throwing out the rulebook, these films have been able to create unique and compelling stories that resonate with audiences.

One way to tear up the rulebook is by focusing on the passion and essence of your story. Instead of following a strict formula, let your ideas flow and explore different ways to communicate the heart of your story.

For example, instead of having a clear description of the main character’s journey, you may opt for a more abstract and open-ended tagline. This allows the audience to interpret the story in their own way and creates a sense of tension and curiosity.

Another way to break the rules is to use unconventional sentence structures in your logline. Instead of a generic “X character struggles to do Y”, think about how you can create a more intriguing and unique sentence.

For instance, instead of “A plucky young woman fights to raise her daughter,” you can say, “In a world where resources are scarce, a young woman embarks on a high-stakes journey to give her daughter a better life.” This not only raises curiosity but also gives a sense of the struggles the character faces and the goals they are striving to achieve.

Remember, the goal is to stand out and create something that truly captures the essence of your story. By tearing up the rulebook, you can go beyond the expected and craft a logline that is ready to pitch and explain your story in a captivating and memorable way.

Let Your Passion Rule Your Writing

When it comes to crafting a logline, it’s important to let your passion for the story shine through. Your logline is the elevator pitch for your screenplay or film idea, and it’s the first glimpse of your story that potential investors or producers will see. So, it’s crucial to make it stand out.

But how do you create a logline that grabs attention and leaves a lasting impression? Here are some tips:

  1. Keep it simple: Your logline should be short and concise, no more than two or three sentences. This is your opportunity to communicate the most important aspects of your story in a clear and succinct way.
  2. Focus on the character: A logline should give a sense of who the main character is and what their journey is about. Use words that raise curiosity and make the reader want to know more about the character and their struggles.
  3. Add a twist: A great logline often adds a twist or unexpected element that makes it stand out. Think about what makes your story unique and find a way to incorporate that into your logline.
  4. Let the passion shine through: Show your enthusiasm for your story in your logline. Use language that conveys your excitement and makes the reader feel your passion.
  5. Use a lightning strike moment: A logline should convey the moment when everything changes for the main character. This “lightning strike” moment is what sets the story in motion and hooks the reader.

Here’s an example of a well-crafted logline that incorporates these tips:

A plucky young pianist in London struggles to finance her dream of becoming a professional musician. When her father dies suddenly, she is left with nothing but her talent and a piano. With the help of a mysterious and unconventional piano teacher, she embarks on a journey to make her mark in the music world and prove that dreams can come true.

Remember, a logline is not a synopsis or a full description of your story. It’s a snapshot that captures the essence of your film or screenplay. Keep it clear, compelling, and above all, let your passion for your story shine through.


How to Write a Logline — TV Writing & Development Course: Ep4

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