When you hear the word “log line,” what does that make you think of? For most people, a logline is a short summary of a movie or TV show.
However, there are many different types of loglines that can be used for various purposes.
We’re going to look at the definition of a logline, as well as covering how to write a log line to sell your movie.
We’ll cover the purpose behind different types of loglines as well as showing examples from popular movies and TV shows. We’ll also provides tips on how to create an effective one for yourself!
HOW TO WRITE A LOGLINE
What Is A Logline?
The definition of a logline is a brief summary of the story that grabs attention.
It should be one sentence long and succinct.
A logline can also help you write your own script, giving you an idea of what needs to happen in order for it to be successful.
A logline is what you pitch to someone who may or may not be interested in reading more about your project. It is sometimes defined as “a brief introduction to the plot and characters in a movie or book.”
But, why do we need them?
Well, because they help us and our audience know what the movie or book is really about. That way they can decide if it’s something that interests them enough to read on!
A good logline should contain:
- protagonist (who),
- antagonist (what),
- goal(s) of the protagonist,
- conflict / obstacle(s) preventing the goal from being accomplished,
- stakes for protagonist and others involved in the situation,
- setting where the action takes place,
- a time frame for plot events.
The logline formula is a way of creating the perfect logline for your screenplay or movie. It can be used to identify what your story is about and who will want to read it.
There are many different types of formulas, but this post will cover the most common one: 3+1=4.
This means that you need three sentences describing the main plot points and 1 sentence summarizing the story.
In movie-making, a logline is a short and concise pitch used to make an idea sound interesting.
Whether you’re trying to convince someone in Hollywood, your friends or family, or even yourself of an idea’s potential worthiness, it is important to know how to write a good logline.
Here are some tips on how to write one:
1. A good logline should be intriguing enough that the reader wants more information about what happens next.
2. It should be succinct – just like a movie trailer – so that people have time for their curiosity before the end of the sentence.
3. It should also create interest by giving readers something they can’t get from other sources (e.g., behind-the-scenes footage)
The formula typically includes three parts:
- the protagonist (protagonist),
- their goal, and
- what prevents them from achieving it (conflict).
The logline formula has been used by Hollywood filmmakers for decades to generate interest in their screenplay, but you don’t need to be a screenwriter or filmmaker to benefit from this technique.
How To Write A Logline
So you want to learn how to write a logline? Great! The first step is to identify your theme, this can be in the form of an idea or even a genre.
You’ll also need a protagonist who has goals and motivations which drive them through the story.
What’s at stake for this character is also important as it needs to be something they care about deeply enough that it will motivate them and keep them committed throughout the story.
One last thing before you start writing: make sure there’s a clear conflict with stakes and tension, otherwise why would people care what happens next?
So you have an idea for a great movie. You’ve written it down and now you’re ready to turn your script into a Hollywood blockbuster.
Your logline is not only going to help sell your script but also define what type of film it will be! So how do you write an effective logline?
A logline is a one-sentence synopsis of your story that should be able to convey the most important information about your book in an intriguing way. It can also help you find the tone and genre for your project.
To write a great logline, follow these steps:
1. Write down all of the major plot points from beginning to end in chronological order without any detail or dialogue yet included
2. Rewrite each event as its own sentence with just enough information for someone who has never heard of this story before to understand what’s going on
3. Take out anything that is not essential; only include things that are necessary to understand what happens next
4. Use active verbs instead of passive ones like “was.”
Have you ever read a movie synopsis and felt confused?
Well, that’s because the logline is not successfully written. A logline should be concise, clear, and informative.
HOW TO WRITE A LOGLINE
How Do You Write A Great Logline?
The definition of a logline For a solid logline you want to identify what genre your story falls into – drama, comedy, horror, etc.
Then you need to decide on the protagonist’s goal and conflict (what they are trying to achieve but can’t).
The next thing you need to do is create tension by telling us how things get worse before they get better for our protagonist.
Finally, end with the protagonist achieving their goal or coming close enough; this should leave us wanting more.
A good logline grabs your attention and makes you want to know more about what happens next.
The following are some different types of loglines:
1. (comedy) When a struggling writer gets hit on by her married boss, she tries to make him jealous by dating other guys with hilarious results!
2. (drama) After being framed for murder, a man goes on the run from his past and finds himself caught up in a deadly game between two criminal syndicates.
– A family moves into a house with an old well on its property and soon realizes they’re not alone (The Haunting)
– A young girl struggles to keep her family together as she keeps getting terrible visions of events yet to happen (Insidious)
– An FBI agent’s daughter goes missing after he disrupts a terrorist plot and learns his daughter was involved.
Heighten The Stakes
In fiction writing, there are three types of stakes: emotional, physical, or material.
At first glance, it seems that these three categories don’t overlap much with one another. However, all three can be used together in order to make a compelling story.
When you use both physical and emotional stakes at once, you’ll have an even stronger story due to increased tension and suspense.
In contrast, when using only material stakes (i.e., money), the reader may not find themselves very invested.
The Best Logline Formula
It should be concise, informative, and intriguing. Here are awz tips on how to write a compelling logline:
Make It Clear What Genre Your Story Falls Into
Does it have elements of horror in it? Is there a romance element at play?
Knowing this can help generate ideas about what kind of tone will work best with your audience.
Don’t Give Away Too Much Information Up-Front
If they want more details they’ll read on or watch (or listen!) as long as their interest is growing.
The best loglines (or summaries) are the ones that engage you, make you want to know more.
They should be short and simple enough for someone to read in a single sitting, but not so vague as to leave you clueless about what the story is actually about.
Here are some basic tips:
- Be brief and succinct.
- Introduce your protagonist right away.
- Give us a sense of what your story is really about without giving too much away.
- Leave us wanting more!
Movie Loglines Should Have Stakes
I’m sure you’ve seen the title of this blog post and thought, “What’s so special about knowing what stakes are?”
Well, not all movie loglines have stakes. In fact, most movies don’t have them! Stakes in a movie logline refer to how much is on the line for your protagonist.
It can be their life or something they care deeply about like money or love.
“Will Smith plays an elite military agent who returns home from work one day to find that his wife has been kidnapped.”
The stakes here would be whether Will Smith saves his wife from being killed by her captors before she dies.
It could also include saving himself because he could lose his family if he doesn’t save her.
The stakes are what make a movie great. It’s the reason we keep watching, and why we care so much about what happens to the characters on screen. A good logline should include the stakes that will be at play in a film.
Here are some examples of how you can use stakes to write a compelling logline:
“A single mother must fight for her children when their father is released from prison.”
“In New York City’s Upper East Side, an aged socialite hires an assistant who turns out to be her long-lost granddaughter.”
The stakes are what make the movie interesting. They allow audiences to engage with a story, and they can be a powerful way to motivate people.
A well-developed logline should include some of these elements: conflict, desire, obstacle or antagonist, and resolution.
These components can help an audience visualize your story in just a few words.
Famous Movie Loglines
Every day, Hollywood churns out dozens of scripts that never make it past development hell and onto the silver screen.
So how do you find those diamonds in the rough? By reading their one-sentence summaries!
Movie loglines are the one-sentence summaries that provide the basic plot of a movie. They’re usually found on posters, DVD covers, and TV guide listings.
Here’s a list of some popular ones (see if you can name the movie!):
- An epic adventure as an unlikely group of heroes band together to stop a tyrant from remaking the world in his image.
- A nonstop thrill ride through the streets of Los Angeles with only one rule: no looking back.
- A man is given an ultimatum by his boss: destroy his team or have them all killed.
Know The Difference Between A Tagline & A Logline
Let’s get into a little marketing speak now, as we cover another use for log lines: in video marketing and advertising.
Taglines are short, memorable phrases that deliver a brand’s message. Loglines are brief sentences that introduce what your story is about in one sentence.
A good way to think of it is this: A tagline tells you what you’re buying; a logline tells you why.
A tagline and a logline are two different things. A tagline is typically short, memorable, and often not about the product or service at all such as Nike’s “Just Do It.”
Taglines are most often used for branding purposes.
Loglines, on the other hand, can be longer than a tagline but still shorter than a full synopsis of your story.
They focus more on what your story is about rather than how it will make you feel if you enjoy it like in a tagline. The best way to think of them is that they work together to create brand awareness which leads to sales conversions.
A tagline is more of an advertising slogan, whereas a logline is usually used in Hollywood to describe the premise of the film.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this deep dive into how to write a log line. Did we cover everything you wanted to know? Feel free to drop us some questions in the comments below.