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
KING OF HEISTS
“Based on the book King of Heists: The Sensational Bank Robbery of 1878 That Shocked America, written by J. North Conway. An unassuming man in the elite New York society assembles a crew that pulls off the largest bank heist in American history in 1878.”
Cameron: The purpose of a logline is to entice the reader and interest them enough so they’ll read the script. What we have here is a back story and premise to the idea.
So completely ignoring the first sentence, the logline is half way there; we have a Protagonist with a clear goal – to rob a bank. But why? Who exactly is the Protagonist, “an unassuming man” is vague and what’s his motivation for robbing the bank? The reasoning may be obvious if people know about the true event, but if they don’t, the audience has no reason to empathize with the Protagonist who simply appears to be a rich guy robbing a bank.
THE PAPER MAN
The true story of Matthias Sindelar, the Austrian footballer voted as the Sportsman of the Century and killed by Hitler’s Nazi party.
Cameron: Again, the theme of the week is ‘premise’ vs ‘logline’. The Paper Man is a premise line. If a reader has no knowledge or context for the story, an Australian Sportsman of the Century being killed by Hitler’s Nazi party makes absolutely no sense.
The key to this logline is what connects the Protagonist to the Nazi party. Is Matthias involved in World War 2 as an enlisted soldier? This would clear up contextual confusion.