1-2 sentences that say it all

Does your logline get the job done in 12 seconds or less?

“What’s your script about?”

You probably get that a lot. But how do you respond?

The logline to the rescue!

If you’re not familiar with that term, a logline is 1-2 sentences telling what your story’s about.  Sometimes called the ‘TV Guide description,’ it sums up your entire script in one easy description.

“A teenager from 1985 goes back to 1955 and must ensure his parents meet or else he’ll cease to exist.”

“A farmboy must rescue a kidnapped princess to help defeat the evil Galactic Empire.”

“A child psychologist helps a boy deal with his special problem – he sees dead people.”

You’d think putting it together would be easy. But of course it isn’t.

You want to convey what your story’s about, but you don’t want to go into too much detail.  And you don’t want to focus on one particular part of the story. And you don’t want to be too generic (f’r example: “…and learns a lesson about life.”)

This is your one chance to get somebody interested in wanting to read your script, so the logline has to be perfect.

Ashley Scott Meyers wrote a great column about it here.  Definitely worth checking out.  He also links to a just-as-good column by Christopher Lockhart.

A few weeks ago I wrote about TwitPitch from ScriptShadow, where you submitted a logline and the 100 most interesting were selected to submit pages, then scripts.  I wasn’t one of them, which motivated me to go back and rewrite my submission for my own purposes.  I like how it turned out.

There’ve already been some eliminations based on the first 10 pages of the script, which was kind of surprising since some of the loglines seemed to hold so much potential.

I suppose that’s the inevitable follow-up to having a good logline. You better have an even better script to back it up.