A client and I were having a discussion back and forth about the best logline for his script and it made me realize how very hard it is to really write a great logline. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking in the right direction.
1) It’s called a logline for a reason – it needs to be one line. It’s not referred to as a log paragraph or log couple of sentences. Yes, if you are an Oscar winning writer you can take as much room and time as you like describing your latest epic but if you’re just a regular writer trying to sell a script then knuckle down and figure out how to describe you script in one sentence. If you absolutely can’t, then maybe it’s time to re-think whether your script is such a good idea anyway.
2) Yes, a logline’s main purpose in life is to sell your script. If you are content just sitting alone in your writer’s garret slaving away at a work that no one will ever see then fine. Ignore the rest of these tips and just keep pleasuring yourself at your computer. But if you mean to do this for a living, you’re going to have to face the fact that some small part of writing involves selling. Get over it.
3) Ideally, you will e-mail, fax, call or snail mail the agent/executive/or whoever your logline and synopsis. They, in turn, will tell their friends and co-workers over coffee, water, drinks or lunch the oh-so-memorable script they were just pitched. Make it easy for both of you and give them a logline that any human CAN remember. They may have only glanced at it once so make it something that’s easy to spit back out.
4) Be ready to BRIEFLY pitch your script in a pinch. For instance, let’s say you’re skiing in Aspen and realize the person on the chairlift next to you is Robert Redford. You’re writers, use you imagination. You need to have a simple enough pitch that you can spit it out before the chairlift reaches the top. Or, in more mundane terms, it’s known as the elevator pitch – you get the idea. That’s why it’s best to be one line – something you can remember at the moment when you really want to do is vomit.
5) In a perfect world, you would have figured out your script’s logline BEFORE you finished it. You should write out the one sentence that best describes what your script is about and keep it on a post-it on your computer, your mirror or wherever else you look at every day before, during and after you write. Keeping a constant reminder of what your script is about will help you keep it on track.