5 Rules for Crafting Loglines That Sell

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Writing the perfect logline is a meticulous pursuit. Equal parts creative inspiration and fastidious editing, the logline, along with the title, poster and trailer, is one of the four key marketing elements of your film. Your logline is both sizzle and steak, so you better make sure it whets the appetite of your intended audience.

The best loglines clearly define the conflict, introduce the main character, and make the audience want to know more (i.e. watch your film). Follow these three rules and you’ll give your film the best chance at success in the marketplace, especially if you don’t have a recognizable star to namecheck or a multi-million dollar franchise upon which to rely.

You have one chance to grab your audience’s attention. In a marketplace crowded with studio tentpoles and pedigreed “indies,” the following rules will help make sure you have a fighting chance.

1. Know Your Audience

In order to appeal to a specific viewer, you need to have a good idea of who that viewer is. Once you can envision them, you can begin to craft a logline that you think might appeal to them. Create a persona that represents your ideal viewer, then write your logline for this person. If you made a horror film, make sure your logline appeals to horror fans. Your logline is not where you want to establish a subtle sense of place. It’s where you want to sell your film. And if you don’t know who your audience is, you can’t sell your film to them.

2. Be the Ball

Once you know your audience, put yourself in their shoes. It’s the best way to create marketing collateral for one big reason: you are not your audience. What appeals to you about your film might not be the same thing that will draw an audience to it. Imagine yourself as someone browsing Amazon. What’s going to catch your eye? What’s going to convince you to give this small indie film a shot? Once you inhabit the mind of your ideal audience member, you’ll have a fresh perspective that will help you present your film in the best possible way.

3. Keep it Short

If your film’s logline needs an ellipsis because it doesn’t fit into the space allocated for it on the first screen of your listing, it’s too long. For Amazon Video’s interface, the…

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J. Brad Wilke
Smarthouse Indie Film Marketing & Publicity

@teamsmarthouse co-founder // @portlandfilm artistic director // Wonderstream founder // screenwriter & producer