When it comes to online communities and public forums, I’m more of an observer than active participant. Maybe I’ll post a comment when I think it’s appropriate, but for the most part, I sign in, look around a little, then leave.
One of the most interesting sections is always the one for loglines. Writers submit a logline and ask “What do you think?” I’ve done it myself, with mixed results.
(Side note – ask other writers whose opinion you value and trust, rather than a crowd of the anonymous and online. You’ll feel better about yourself.)
While comments and feedback can range from “brilliant” to “are we reading the same thing?”, my criteria is pretty simple and straightforward: Does it make me want to read this?
Unfortunately, a lot of the time the answer is “No,” but don’t take it personally.
If your logline doesn’t grab me, why would I want to read your script?
And this isn’t just me, a lowly nobody, asking. Those with the power to make things happen are going to ask the same thing. Don’t forget – they’re always looking for a reason to say “no”.
Just as your script has to be totally bulletproof, so does your logline.
Does it effectively encapsulate what the story’s about? I’ve read a lot that don’t.
Sometimes it focuses too much on one part of the story, rather than giving a more widespread view. Counter to that, it might offer up too much information, which just makes things confusing.
Is this a story we haven’t seen before, or at least a new twist on an old one? What’s unique about it?
A lot of the time, someone in the forums will ask about the intent, meaning or significance of a word or phrase in the logline, and the writer will then explain (sometimes with a little too much detail).
My argument is that the logline should be written in such a way that you don’t have to ask; everything should be laid out right there in front of you.
Do your homework and study the loglines of other films and scripts. How are they put together? What is it about them that’s different than yours?
And this isn’t going to be easy. You may have to struggle through several dozen versions until you come up with the one that really works.
But, like everything else we work on, it takes time and is worth the effort when we get it right.