Aug 30

It’s a Must to be Forced

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 »

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Aug 23

Untangling the Threads of Your Story, Part 2

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 »

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Aug 16

Untangling the Threads of Your Story, Part 1

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.

Read More »

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Aug 09

What Exactly Is a Logline, Anyway?

Last week, I discussed how a logline has to promise something, but I didn’t really define what a logline is or how you would use one. So for those of you who were lost last week, fear not! Hopefully, we can clear some things up today.

A logline is a way to break your story down to its lowest common denominator. You’re trying to give me the elevator statement version of your story. What’s an elevator statement?

Let’s say you and I get onto an elevator together, and I ask you what you’re working on. You can do one of two things. Read More »

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Aug 02

You’ve Gotta Promise Me Something

You know what a logline is? It’s a simple tool you can use to break down a story into its essence. You use it to find the core of your story, which helps you write better, but a logline is also be used to get people interested in your story.

That’s pretty powerful. But there’s a catch: you have to promise me something.

See, a lot of people will make their loglines vague. This stems from one of several problems.

  1. The writer doesn’t have a core to his story.
  2. The writer doesn’t want to give too much away.
  3. The writer is trying to put too much of the scope of his epic story into too small a space.

All three of these tend to produce loglines like, “A hero must defeat the darkness within himself before he can conquer the darkness in the world around him.”

Let’s take a few movies and see what happens when we use that formula to write a logline, shall we? Read More »

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