If you are writing a logline to lure a producer to request your script, it has to be written in a way that makes the story attractive to the producer.
First: MAKE IT
ATTRACTIVE to a producer.
To do that, you need to
understand producers and how they
perceive loglines. Here's a quick overview:
1. Anyone in a production company is short on time and
about what they spend time on. Therefore, they have very specific criteria for what they are looking for in a script and will quickly
eliminate anything that doesn't fit those criteria.
That is a problem because at least 90% of loglines immediately disqualify the writer. They are often dull,
confusing, poorly written, a cliché story, vague, etc. None of those qualities are attractive to Hollywood.
2. When a producer looks
at a logline, they are only considering it for one reason --- to make a movie. That means they are thinking about a $5 million to $100
million decision and looking for stories that are strong enough to fulfill the requirements of that level of financial commitment.
Don't minimize this.
Every time someone looks at a logline, they are debating about whether that story would be worth spending two years of work, investing money and trying to get
a Studio to invest their money.
So the most important thing your logline needs to communicate is that your story will be
a box office success...but you can't say those words. The logline must be so good that a producer can't stop fantasizing about
the success your movie will have.
3. Every person in a production company pitches, including
Why is this important to know? So you don't fall for
that producers, development people, and even interns don't know
anything about screenwriting.
it works: From
your first week at a production company, you are taught how to pitch screenplays and exactly what the producer needs from a story. Then,
every time you pitch, it is hammered into your head what matters in a pitch.
If you pitch a great story, you are
rewarded. If you pitch a bad story, your credibility is at stake.
Now, the intern reads your logline. If you’ve done your job, they see
an amazing pitch
in that one sentence. It is perfectly designed so they can walk into the producer's office and pitch it right then.
If you've written it that
way, you'll get plenty of script requests.
Second: Write your logline
to be pitched.
is a difference between a logline you use to explain your story and a "marketing logline."
The first serves the story and is the one
you've heard about from your screenwriting teachers. The second *sells* the story.
Many times, a well-written logline is worded in such
a complicated way that it is difficult to pitch. It looks great on paper, but it doesn't flow off the tongue. So you want to test it by
pitching it to someone over the phone and having them pitch it back to you. Often, the solution is to simplify the logline to make
it easier to pitch.
Third: Tell the
Consider this: if there are 200 loglines on a site or
in their catalogue, how do you get yours to stand out from the pack?
So many writers’ loglines hide the best part. They hint
at it, but don't
say it directly, leaving the reader somewhat interested, but insecure about the decision to request the script or not.
You're probably saying,
"then they should read the script to see if it fits." But remember number 1 above -- they don't have time. So
guess what happens? They
eliminate that logline.
Get that? If there's any reason not to request the script, they don't request it.
So don't make the mistake of hinting or being vague about
the best part of your story. Give it to them with as much clarity and as powerfully as you possibly can.