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
“An escaped convict is ensnared in a plot by a corrupt Sheriff to kidnap the young heiress to an oil fortune, complicating his quest for freedom.”
Cameron: Firstly, it’s going to be difficult to empathize with a convict unless he has been wrongly committed (which should be in the logline if that’s the case) and secondly ‘ensnared in a plot’ is a vague reference that could mean absolutely anything.
The second half of the logline involving the antagonist (Sheriff) and the task of kidnapping the heiress (clear goal) in order for the protagonist to gain freedom, works but could be clearer.
“Ensnared in a plot’ is a vague reference that could mean absolutely anything.”
So implementing the suggestions, the logline would look something like this:
“An escaped convict, wrongly committed (if he’s not, add a redeemable quality), must kidnap the heiress to an oil fortune, for a corrupt Sheriff in order to secure permanent freedom.”
FUCK MARRY KILL
“Three best friends return for their high school reunion intent on righting all the wrongs done to them in high school … by either fucking, marrying, or killing their tormentors.”
Cameron: Besides the unmarketable title, we don’t know anything about the three best friends, but giving them each an adjective or flaw would make the logline too long.
Is the focus of the film a multi-protagonist story with a shifting POV between the three, or do wee see the events of the film from the perspective of one of the friends? It’s always more difficult to write a screenplay with multiple protagonists because there’s less screen time to arc each character with equal effect.
“The protagonists’ seem down right psychotic which is bad news for the audiences empathy.”
Is the goal really just to fuck, marry, or kill their childhood tormentors? The first question that comes to mind in the context of just the logline in regards to motivations, is why on earth would the protagonists’ want to fuck or marry their childhood tormentors? It may indeed make perfect sense in the screenplay, but the ham fisted approach in the logline makes the protagonists’ seem down right psychotic which is bad news for the audiences empathy for them.