What is a logline? by Michal Aviram - Israël
Mis à jour : 28 août 2019
I think you will agree with me that you can’t sell a script without a killer log line. You can have a great screenplay or a TV series bible, but if the log line isn’t good – no one will ever read it.
It took me years to understand the importance of a strong log line. Once I realized it is an essential part of the craft, I researched for the best way to write it. Reading and analyzing log lines, I found guidelines you can follow in order to write a professional log line quickly and easily.
In this post, I will show you how to write a compelling and effective log line.
What is a Log Line?
A good log line is a 1- to – 3 sentence summary of your film/series, that hooks the reader instantly.
You can think of a log line as an ultra-condensed version of your story. In every story, there is someone that wants something but is having trouble getting it. This is the essence of drama.
In other words, the log line should state WHO will face OBSTACLES and CONFLICTS, WHERE he or she is, and what they need to do to get WHAT they want.
Let’s look at an example:
The Handmaid’s Tale
Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine, under a fundamentalist dictatorship
WHO – a woman.
WHAT – forced to live as a concubine.
OBSTACLES/CONFLICTS – under a fundamentalist dictatorship
WHERE – a dystopian future.
A log line forces us to identify the core elements of our script (that is why it can be so excruciating to write.) It requires us to truly understand what the script is all about.
As hard as it is, it is also a gift to us as screenwriters. It is not just for marketing or a part of a sales pitch. It is a screenwriting tool, and the sooner we apply it to our script, the better.
Now that you know what a good log line is, what key elements are needed to write a one, and why you need it, It is time to write your own.
Take your time. Write and rewrite it as much as you need.
Remember: Who, What, Obstacle, Where.
If you try and try and it doesn’t seem to work, it might mean there is a lack of focus in the script or concept.
In that case, go back to your treatment and try to identify if the main character’s goal is clear.
Try reading my post on “how to write a script treatment like a pro”.
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