Writing loglines is an essential skill for screenwriters, from early development through to the pitch. In this section, we review the loglines and short synopses of the screenplays that made it into The Blood List 2013. Learn from the feedback and perfect your own loglining skills.
By The Judges
THERE ARE MONSTERS
Writer: Bryan Bertino
“A mother and daughter find themselves stranded in the middle of the night on an abandoned road. Deep in the surrounding woods a nightmarish terror stalks them, and they must find the courage to face the beast or be destroyed by it.”
Thoughts before reading the script: A mother daughter relationship story embedded in a contained horror film. The logline establishes the inciting incident and suggests a goal of escaping or directly defeating the beast in the woods. But, ‘they must find the courage to face the beast or be destroyed by it’ comes off as a little heavy handed in the theme department.
Thoughts after reading the script: The script delivered what was promised in the logline with a strong conflict between the mother and daughter which could be mentioned in the logline.
“An alcoholic, distant mother and her young daughter, find themselves stranded in the middle of the night on an abandoned road,and must fight for survival as a nightmarish terror stalks them.”
Writer: Jayson Rothwell
“A group of Marines, embedded in South Asia, embark on patrol of a remote island in search of drug runners. What they end up finding is something much more deadly and demonic than they could ever imagine.”
Thoughts before reading the script: The logline doesn’t establish a single protagonist but instead opts to focus on the “Marines”, suggesting the script will focus and develop each marine with equal weight and clarity. What we then have is a contained setting with a clear goal ‘to find drug runners.’ The second sentence is more of a hook and suggests maybe a mid-point reversal/goal shift to escape the island alive while avoiding whatever demonic entity the marines have disturbed.
Thoughts after reading the script: The script does indeed focus on the Marines as a whole but still has a lead protagonist who particularly drives the action in act 3, so the logline could still focus in on him, although the character isn’t the commanding officer in the unit. The second sentence could also focus in on the actual antagonist’s while still maintaining a sense of mystery. The antagonist force being a native ‘deformed’ tribe with above average human capabilities.
“A group of Marines embark on a patrol of a remote island in South Asia in search of drug runners, but must escape the island after a tribe of ‘deformed’ natives decide the Marines are not welcome.”