Throughout this series on writing loglines, I’ve danced around the idea that a good logline contains conflict and irony. I’ve even given you plenty of examples that contain one or both. But I haven’t talked specifically about how each works. It’s time now to concentrate on bringing those two elements to your logline party. We’ll cover conflict in this post, and next time we’ll look at how to use irony.
Conflict is the fundamental element of story. But it’s also an element that is often misunderstood or outright ignored, especially by beginning storytellers. So let’s go back to the basics for a minute. Read More
It’s time once again to explore the craft of writing a great logline. This week, we’re going to look at what a good adjective does to a logline.
Let’s take some rather bland Hollywood movie loglines and see what we can do with adjectives to improve them. We’ll do a two films from previous articles, and we’ll also do a new one so you can see the process a little better.
Jurassic Park: A scientist must protect two children when a dinosaur park goes haywire and the monsters go on rampage.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl: When the governor’s daughter is kidnapped by a band of pirates, her lover must join forces with a pirate captain to save her before she is sacrificed to lift a curse.
How to Train Your Dragon: Against the traditions of his Viking tribe, a boy befriends a dragon and discovers secrets about the creatures that will change his tribe’s way of life forever.
Now that we’ve spent four posts getting our loglines hashed out, I want to share a tip that I think can punch up a good logline and make it great.
It’s the simple use of the word must or forced. How’s that work? Let’s look at some loglines.
In my previous post, I gave a few loglines for existing movies that I had written as examples. The one I wrote for Facing the Giants could use some extra oomph, so we’ll take a closer look at it a bit later. First, I want to come back to the best example from last time, which was the logline for Jurassic Park. Let’s write that logline two ways. Read More
Last time in our adventure in the land of loglines, we looked at A-story and B-story and how to separate one from the other to simplify our loglines. But we ended by wondering what to do with a more complicated story, one that doesn’t break down quite as neatly.
Let’s jump right in and write a logline for a movie with lots of story threads. And let’s make it harder by picking one with multiple main characters. Read More
It’s time for part three in the series on writing a great logline! This week, I want to focus on another of the common mistakes of beginning logline writers.
Oftentimes when you meet a beginning filmmaker and ask him what he’s writing, he’ll give you a logline that goes something like this:
My Great Movie: While the main character is working hard at his job, something big happens, causing him to go on a journey to defeat his inner darkness so he can confront the evil in the city around him, all while he tries to reconcile with his estranged parents and get the perfect girl to fall for him.
The problem here is that the writer has lost his focus on the main story thread. Let’s take a look at a Hollywood film and see how this plays out.