How To Write Loglines To (almost) Guarantee Interest In Your Screenplay


Loglines are the most common way to pitch your screenplay and get a movie producer to read your film script. What is the secret to a perfect movie script logline that will generate film producer interest? Read on.

A CAPTIVATING KERNEL OF AN IDEA

In my experience, it’s a captivating idea that attracts a film producer, agent, manager,actor, financier etc. on a visceral level. This is before they even get to reading your synopsis or screenplay.

Let me elaborate. A standard logline / mini-synopsis summarizes the story and conflict from the protagonist’s point of view. This has its value. Always be prepared with this extended version which contains more story plot details.

However, a captivating idea will stimulate a producer’s imagination and present potential movie possibilities. Consider this logline:

A man acquires the power of shapeshifting which allows him to alternate between male and female states.

There is a freshness and uniqueness to this logline because a producer can conjure up at least a dozens story possibilities of how this film might look like. They can envisage different scenarios of desire, conflict, tension and outcome. All these factors relate to the execution of your film script.

Consider an alternative, more traditional, extended logline for the same movie script:

When a shy high school nerd bribes a wizard to grant him the power of gender shapeshifting, he befriends and convinces the girl of his dreams (as a girl) to be his prom date (as a male). However, he gets stuck in his female state on the night before prom and the wizard has disappeared.

This extended logline format certainly gives the idea shape, it describes the protagonist’s goal, the source of conflict and how the story might pan out. It also gives an idea of the genre (romantic comedy/ fantasy), tone, audience and market positioning. It’s a solid idea with specific details. A film producer may or may not like this logline.

A screenwriter is limiting their chances of a screenplay request with the later extended logline. So it makes sense to only pitch the captivating idea, right?

Not so fast. The downside to this is that it lacks detail. What if a producer doesn’t want to fill in the gaps? What if they can’t visualize your screenplay?

SOLUTION: Pitch the captivating idea first. If you’re pitching live, give the producer a moment to process and gauge their response. If there aren’t any questions or anticipated plotlines, progress to the extended logline. This shows the producer how you have written your screenplay.

Even if they ultimate don’t request a script read, you have engaged them longer than if you had only pitched an traditional extended logline.

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