Scenario: You’re at a social function, engaged in idle chit-chat. The topic of you being a screenwriter comes up.
“What’s your story about?” they will undoubtedly ask.
The chance you’ve been waiting for! What do you say?
You want to pique their curiosity, and not bore them.
In the simplest of terms: provide a quick summary of the main characters(s) and what happens in the main storyline.
Avoid too much information, non-essential characters, intricate subplots, how it’s a metaphor for this totally different other thing, or generic phrases like “and learns about themselves” or “stumbles into a world she wasn’t prepared for” or the ever-dreaded “wackiness ensues.”
What are the components of an effective logline? Just the following:
1. A protagonist with a flaw.
2. An antagonist with a goal.
3. The situation that pits them against each other
4. What’s at stake.
That’s pretty much it. Keep it simple. Nothing too specific or generic.
Make sure you emphasize the genre. If it’s a comedy, play up the comedic angle. A thriller, go for the suspense. That sort of thing.
And most importantly, make it sound interesting. This is your best chance to grab their attention, so make the most of it (and make sure the script is just as good).