by Jennifer Bozell
Crafting the perfect logline is often a challenge. How do you describe your characters and story and summarize your plot in a way that is marketable and enticing to buyers?
And how do you do that in only a sentence or two?
Below are a few things to keep in mind as you tackle this task…
BILLBOARDS. One way to think about what your logline needs to deliver is to visualize what the billboard for your project would look like. Billboards are large advertisements that have to sell products in a simple, quick manner. You drive by a billboard, glance at it, and that’s all the time there is to process what’s being sold. And yet they are very effective marketing tools. How would the billboard for your project sell the idea of your story? And describe it in a way that would appeal to potential viewers?
WORDS. Given you only have a sentence or two to create the logline, every word matters. As such, choose your adverbs and adjectives wisely. This is particularly important when describing your protagonist. Define who this person is by choosing the right description. Is your main character gruff, or is he downright surly? Get out your thesaurus!
URGENCY. One important element that many loglines lack is a sense of urgency. Remember the stakes! This is a big one. The stakes need to be high. I’ve had studio or network executives reject loglines or pitches that were presented to them for this very reason. “We just felt like there were not life or death stakes involved,” they would say. So define your character’s goal. What is he trying to accomplish and what happens if he fails? Even in a intimate, restrained story, there needs to be dramatic stakes which are outlined in your logline.
A logline is not something to whip out quickly. Write it, put it away, and come back to it. Make those tweaks and changes that come to you only after having the time to mull something over.
It’s not easy to do – but having a great logline its essential to selling your script.