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 Blacklist 2012. Learn from the feedback and perfect your own loglining skills.
By The Judges
COME AND FIND ME
“When his girlfriend goes missing, David must track down her whereabouts after he realizes she’s not who she was pretending to be.”
Cameron: A succinct logline that introduces a protagonist with a clear goal and a sense of mystery. What it lacks though, is an antagonistic force or major obstacle for David to overcome.
“We don’t know the stakes, why ‘must’ he track down his girlfriend. What are the consequences if he doesn’t.”
Speaking of David, throwing a character flaw in the logline will give the reader at least a sense of who he is instead of just a name on a page. David may become ‘obsessed’ with finding and discovering who she really is. The simple mention of the word ‘obsessed’ allows the reader into David’s head space and we can start to imagine moral barriers he’s willing to cross in order to find his girlfriend.
Also, we don’t know the stakes, why ‘must’ he track down his girlfriend. What are the consequences if he doesn’t.
Richiev: First; I would start with the word “After” instead of “when.” Not a big thing but it will help the logline.
Second; If you tell us a character “Must” do something, then you have to give us an “or else” otherwise the logline will seem incomplete.
Finally; if you tell us “he realizes she’s not who she was pretending to be.” It suggests other (more dangerous) people are searching for her well.
“If you tell us a character “Must” do something, then you have to give us an “or else” otherwise the logline will seem incomplete.”
That would give you an “Antagonist.” for your logline, Someone dangerous who’s standing in the way of your protagonist achieving his goal.
DON’T MAKE ME GO
“When a single father to a teenage daughter learns that he has a fatal brain tumor, he takes her on a road trip to find the mother who abandoned her years before and to try to teach her everything she might need over the rest of her life.”
Cameron: The logline succeeds at creating a sense of urgency with the Protagonist’s fatal brain tumour and a clear goal of finding a long lost mother, but the second half stumbles into vague territory so much so that the reader can’t get a sense of what the film would look like.
“The second half of the logline stumbles into vague territory… the reader can’t get a sense of what the film would look like.”
“Teaching her everything she might need over the rest of her life.” This is an extremely broad statement that could encompass any number of things. The logline also suffers from genre confusion because of the vagueness. Is this a straight up father daughter drama or a lighter ‘dramedy’?