Loglines may the only thing the entertainment world may ever read of your script. According to script consultant Danny Manus, they are the key predictors of your story’s success. They are a unique blend of substance and style designed to make someone want to read your script and potentially produce it. Given the amount of work your logline must do, it’s critical to craft it perfectly.
Ideally loglines should be between 40 and 60 words. They indicate the genre, tone, time, place of your story.
Then your logline is followed by the protagonist, the story setup, goal, obstacle, rising stakes and the dramatic conflict. It may touch upon the theme and give your audience an idea of the story trajectory. This is especially important for TV series loglines which should suggest your concept can span a few seasons.
A typical logline structure can follow this format:
When someting happens, this person must do something to prevent that consequence.
Consider your word choice. Use active words that elicit emotion, rather than generic passive verbs. Imagine the logline of “The King’s Speech”.
A king is forced to overcome his stutter to address his crowd. Compare this to A king visits a speech therapist to correct his stutter. Which carries more emotional punch? Which sounds more enticing. Hopefully you all agreed on the first option.
Use words like struggle, must, discovers, destiny, prevents, avoids, battles, fights in your loglines, They are active and depict the hero’s journey through a series of choices and actions with obstacles.
Loglines should be contain the key story beats of your story. i.e. a beginning, middle and an end.
Avoid adding unnecessary details of the supporting characters, plot twists, secondary plots and action secquences.
Protagonists should be described by their key attributes to attract acting talent. Descriptors like geeky, confident, sassy are good to use because it helps visualize your characters.