When it comes time to market your script, invariably the first thing a prospective producer will want to see is your screenplay's logline. A great logline may be the difference between your script getting sold or your script getting tossed. The logline is almost like a business card - it serves as both an advertisement and a calling card for the script. A poorly written logline usually means a poorly written script. But how do you condense your entire screenplay into 25 words or less? What do you include? What should you leave out? Take these tips from the pros to turn that logline from a dreaded part of the screenwriting process to one that could possibly lead to that big sale.
Logline Tips: Some Do's and Don'ts
Try writing your logline before you write your script. This will help clarify the screenplay and keep you focused on the main storyline. You wouldn't want to start a road trip without knowing your destination. Likewise, you wouldn't want to start a script without knowing where you are going. Writing your logline before you start is like having a road map sitting in front of you, to keep you on track. If the story changes, you can always revise your logline later.
Don't use character names in your logline unless your story is based on an actual person.
Don't attempt to tell the story in the logline. Tell about the story instead. It's a subtle difference, but basically you want to relate the story's concept in a logline by telling the story in a nutshell.
Don't use analogies to describe your story. Lines like: "It's Jaws meets Top Gun" is not what you want to put in a logline. While analogies can be useful, their place is not in your logline.
Do keep your logline to a single sentence. It will probably be a long sentence, but we'll come to that in just a minute.
Don't write a logline that sounds like a movie poster. That's a tagline. Avoid things like "it's the greatest story ever told" or "this explosively creative story...". These sorts of lines...