On today’s episode, we will be tackling the art of creating the perfect logline. We will use various clips from movies to illustrate how the logline process will be broken down. Hopefully, by the end of this video, you will have a better idea of how to write your own logline for that amazing movie of yours. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
The definition of a logline is a brief one to two sentence summary that hooks the reader in and describes the central conflict of the story. People often refer to a logline as the DNA of your movie. It gives your audience a precursor to what they’ll be watching, without spoiling the plot.
Back in the day of old Hollywood, screenwriters would write a very short explanation of their story on their screenplays so producers could get an idea of the story and reel them into reading the whole script... And wouldn’t you know, we still do that today, just in a different way.
In the case of creating the perfect logline, you should hit three important keys: The protagonist, the antagonist and the goal of the story. Now, let’s break down exactly how to create the perfect logline.
Number one: create a powerful protagonist. This is where the audience understands a little about your main character. Are they a vengeful culinary artist? Maybe a love-struck assassin? How about a money-grubbing architect? Get the picture?
Number two: your logline should convey what the character wants! In the case of ‘The Equalizer’, Robert McCall tries to live a normal life until he meets a young girl under the control of Russian gangsters. Because of this, he can't stand idly by. So, the goal of Robert is conveyed because he’s now pushed to protect this young girl. There’s your goal! Now that we’ve had our Denzal Washington fix for the day, here’s some other points to consider when creating the perfect logline.
Number three: use an active voice and don’t shy away from sarcasm. Number four: ‘up the stakes’ and be creative! Some of the best loglines break the rules and chart their own path. Do the crooks have two minutes to complete their heist? Put that in there! You want to make sure your audience can feel the stakes and be intrigued to watch.
Take the logline from “Do the Right Thing” for example: On the hottest day of the year on a street in Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry boils and builds until it explodes into violence.
Here’s another example of a successful logline: After his brother's death, a troubled street dancer unwillingly enrolls in college where he meets a beautiful girl and finds himself in the middle of a war between fraternities who want to use his talents in a dance competition.
I see those wheels turning, you’re starting to understand this, aren’t you! That’s great. Well, in case you need a reminder of what we’ve just learned, here’s some take-a-ways.
One: Clearly lay out your objective. A good logline hooks the reader.
Two: use active voice and enticing language.
Three: Irony and breaking the rules aren’t illegal! Be creative and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Unconventional and unusual loglines are exciting and makes us want to open a bag of popcorn and settle in for a great movie. Once you use these tips in your logline, everyone will want to read your screenplay!
Today we learned about the art of creating the perfect logline. I hope you learned something today. If you want to help us, please leave a comment on what videos you’d like to see next and make sure to like, share and subscribe for more videos like these! And remember, knowledge is power… the more you know, the better you’ll be. Peace.