How to Write a Logline (the easy way)

You must be able to pitch your film in 10 seconds, the logline explains what your film is about. Imagine a producer is standing in front of you, now pitch the perfect logline to get his attention.

What is a Logline

Loglines are used to pitch your film to funders, producers, distributors and the media. Keep in mind the person you are pitching has to have an interest in the subject.

When you need a Logline

Your logline is used right from development through to when an audience decides which film they want to see.

  1. you market the script to producers
  2. the producer markets the project to financiers
  3. the sales agent sells your film to distributors
  4. the exhibitor advertises the film to the audience
  5. for advertising in print, online etc

The logline is what peaks the interest in your audience, wanting to know more.

How to write a Logline

A logline tells the essence of your story, stimulating excitement without giving the full story away.

A good logline consists of three major elements:

  • the character (protaganist)
  • the character’s goal (objective)
  • the obstacle to overcome (stakes)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

A meek Hobbit (character) from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring (character’s goal) and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron (obstacle to overcome).

The Matrix (1999)

When a beautiful stranger leads computer hacker Neo (character) to a forbidding underworld, he discovers the shocking truth (character’s goal), the life he knows is the elaborate deception of an evil cyber-intelligence (obstacle to overcome).

Interstellar (2014)

A team of explorers (character) travel through a wormhole in space (character’s goal)  in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival (obstacle to overcome).


logline structure


The structure of a logline

The protagonist (give a description like ‘absentminded professor, don’t use their name)

Objective (the journey your protagonist is experiencing)

Stakes (the obstacle that needs to be overcome)

Another option is to include an incident that puts your protagonist on his journey, example:

After a fire burns down a school (incident), an absentminded professor (protagonist) joins an all-night poker game (journey) to get money (obstacle) to rebuild school.

For the person hearing your logline, they should be able to have an emotion toward the character and what to know what will happen next.


Keywords in your Logline

When you think of your audience, what words would resonate with them?

  1. is it a place
  2. a character trait they identify with
  3. they are on the same journey

Try use keywords in your logline, it will attract your targeted audience.


Taglines

What is a Tagline

The logline is the pitch of the movie to sell the idea to producers, distributors and audiences.

The tagline is the one-liner on the poster, not more than a few words that is memorable.


Logline vs Taglines

Taglines are an even shorter version of you logline, generally not more than 5 works, mostly used on film posters. It needs to resonate very fast.


Tagline examples

Pulp Fiction (1994)

You Won't Know The Facts Until You've Seen The Fiction

Fight Club (1999)

Mischief. Mayhem. Soap.

The Matrix (1999)

The Fight For The Future Begins


Where to find more examples of Loglines

  • The one-sentence program summary in your online movie guide
  • Check IMDB listings