The Logline — Filmmaking advice

A logline is one or two sentences that distills the premise of your film.

For example:

“A young man struggles to learn the ways of the force to defeat the man who killed his father and stop an evil empire.”

or

“A group of outcasts fight to stay alive and become a team so they can defend the galaxy.”

A logline needs to be specific. The more concrete you can make your logline, the easier it will be for you to remember, and the bigger the impact it will have on your audience. After I wrote the feature film script for, As Fatal As Death, I went thru a number of iterations for my logline until I came up with:

“A lonely serial killer meets a masochistic cutter, has he found his true love or his next victim?”

The logline give you a sense of the genre. “Serial killer” could mean horror or thriller genre. Adding the adjective “lonely” suggests that it’s not entirely in the horror or thriller genre. In the second phrase there is mention of “true love” which suggests some kind of romance or romantic comedy, but I feel that with these two ideas together you get a sense that there is comedy involved. As Fatal As Death is a horror comedy about a serial killer who experiences hallucinations until he kills.

Two books that have been helpful to me in creating loglines are Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, and Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

After you’ve crafted your logline, it’s time to start practicing it. The logline is a great way to tell people about your film. You will also want to write down why the story is important to you.

I told a lot of people about As Fatal As Death. Each month, I would go to filmmaker meet-ups and tell everyone I met about the script. I would pitch them the logline and then I would tell them about the festivals where I set it. That script made it to the finals at three different competitions and made it to the semi or quarter finals in a couple of high profile competitions. The logline piqued their interest and the competition placements impressed them.

When you start telling people about your film, you want to have your pitch honed. You will be talking to people who’s help you will need, potential crew, and actors. Having a solid logline and a good pitch will help you communicate why the project is interesting, important, and worth their time.


Call to Action

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This article is part of a longer chapter on Pre-Production and Marketing in the Bridgeport Film Club Guidebook

Check out the previous section: Talk about it — Filmmaking Advice

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