Search
  • Kyle Patrick

Tips to Writing a Stellar Logline

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

Your logline, or one-line, may be one of the most important elements to creating your story.

Like album artwork or a book cover, the logline is one of the first glances the audience has into the project -- write a good one and you'll draw people in, write a bad one and you risk losing the interest of your audience (which, if you're pitching a concept, could mean missing out on money)! Even before you have a story to pitch, however, a logline can help during the writing process by ensuring your story stays on target! One of the best resources I have found on writing a logline is Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting that You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder; in it, he describes four elements that every logline should have. Those four elements are:


  • A Sense of Irony

  • A Concept of the Storyline

  • An Idea of Intended Audience and Cost

  • A Killer, Connected Title

A Sense of Irony


Good irony in a logline is like an itch you have to scratch and is often known as the hook. Just like in music, the hook holds the attention of the intended audience; yes, it is important to know the general story from your logline, but without the ironic element you're essentially fishing without any bait.

When writing your logline, irony should be able to come naturally to the concept. If you find yourself attempting to force irony into the concept, perhaps you don't have a fully-developed concept and should rethink your story.



A Concept of the Storyline


Perhaps the most obvious of the concepts is that your logline should give a sense of the story. This sounds exceptionally simple until you are forced to condense all that you have dreamed up and envisioned into a short one-to-two sentence summation. Consider a statement that may evoke the notion of what the story could be, rather than a summary (ie - Flight 491 was airborne and on course...until it wasn't). Give your audience the chance to see the story in their mind without necessarily trying to tell it yourself.



An Idea of Intended Audience and Cost


Your logline should also give a sense of to whom this film would appeal. This is important because 1) targeting your writing within the project will result in a better reception, and 2) investors into your project will be drawn to knowing what the marketing plan looks like. However, if we look at a logline as a tool to be utilized prior to writing, using your logline to gain a sense of your intended audience will show you if you're writing a story that has any appeal, or if you're writing a story that only you think is interesting.



A Killer, Connected Title


Finally, understanding the connection between your logline and your title is important -- these two effectively function as a one-two punch! A good title ultimately does one thing: it says what the film is. Take for example a film called "Ride the Wave" -- immediately we get a sense that this story probably involves surfing, probably with some form of change in the protagonist's life that they have to "ride out." We are able to pick up on all of that simply from the title! Now consider if that same film were called "Board." Well, immediately we've lost almost every element that made the prior title a good one! Sure, "Board" could evoke the thought of a surfboard, but it could also make someone think of a skateboard, or a bougie board, or a chalkboard, etc. Additionally, this title does nothing to evoke any notion of what happens within the story. Your logline and your title should work together to bring about an idea of what makes this story one to watch!


A logline can be a daunting task when it comes to starting your story, but it will facilitate all aspects of your journey; resist the urge to jump right into writing! For more information, be sure to check out Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting that You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder -- in it, you will find examples and more comprehensive explanations behind the information outlined above. Onward to Creation!


#screenwriting #logline #writing #scriptdevelopment

14 views0 comments