3 Tips to Writing a Better Logline

A juicy logline compels potential buyers and audiences to want to know more, read your synopsis and ask to read your screenplay. Vivid loglines are one of the most powerful tools to market and sell your writing. Whether you do it before you complete your script or after, crafting a provocative logline is the key to unlocking your reader’s interest. 

Help us “see” your heroine and or hero with a vocational, emotional, situational, or physical trait so that readers can identify with them, or picture them as a specific movie star.

Get the genre into the logline, if it’s a comedy, the reader should be able to see/feel what’s funny.

Give us some conflict and a villain, readers crave the drama and if inspired by the logline, will want to read the screenplay. Fulfill an audience’s desire peek into what makes your movie interesting. 

 

Here’s the synopsis of 99 Homes that played at the Toronto Film Festival. Let’s analyze it using our 3 tips: After his family is evicted, proud and desperate construction worker Dennis Nash tries to win his home back by striking a deal with the devil and working for Rick Carver, the corrupt real estate broker who evicted him.

  • SEE the hero. The construction worker – our middle class everyperson – is desperate because he’s unemployed and is losing his home. Not only can we see him, we empathize with the situation – and there’s a clear GOAL or intention.
  • Get the GENRE into the logline. Although not stated outright, the drama is in the desperation and the dirty business, our hero is forced into bad behavior because of an unwinnable situation.
  • Give conflict and a villain. This synopsis is effective on this level as we get both, the evocative notion of an unscrupulous realtor and taking advantage of disenfranchised owners losing their homes. Don’t you hate the realtor already? This villain is a great OBSTACLE – often the juice of a great story.

The Cobbler – A lonely NYC shoe repairman discovers a magical heirloom that allows him to “walk in another man’s shoes,” in this charming fantasy.

  • See the hero. Awww, who’s a cobbler anymore? That word enough is evocative and old-fashioned. Of course he’s lonely in the biggest, busiest city in America.
  • Get the genre into the logline. We know it’s a fantasy because he has a magical item – the heirloom – and it gives him special powers. “Walking in another man’s shoes” opens our imagination to the cobbler finding love, adventure, and dispelling his loneliness.
  • Give conflict and a villain. The magical heirloom could turn out to be a villain if it has some evil quality, but certainly the conflict is clear as the reader can be certain the cobbler will be thrown into unfamiliar situations and lots of conflict by walking into a stranger’s life.
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