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
“On the day of the NFL Draft, Bills General Manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to save football in Buffalo when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred.”
Steven Fernandez: The logline is clunky but the set up seems quite different from the norm for a football movie. So I think there is potential here. The protagonist, however, is hard to sympathise with as stated – since he seems to be on the cold side. But this point can be easily fixed by emphasising his desire to resuscitate his low profile town. In addition, one positive thing about the protagonist is that he does not seem to be the straightforward former-player-macho-bonehead stereotype.
“The protagonist, as stated, is hard to sympathise with since he seems to be cold as ice.”
So here’s a logline suggestion: “To resurrect the flagging fortunes of his beloved home town, Sonny daringly drives his football club to buy up the number one pick of the NFL Draft. But the pick is hotly contested property and the cost on Sonny’s personal life will be high.”
Steveylang: The actual plot conflict is only vaguely described here. What does he have to sacrifice and why? What is being blurred and why? It’s not at all obvious why having a first round draft pick would cause all these problems, you have to tell us.
“The actual plot conflict is only vaguely described.”
It’s a very intriguing start (makes me think of Moneyball) but I have no idea what actually happens in the movie.
“When an acerbic alcoholic finds himself penniless and alone he has no choice but to crash his family’s holiday. Years of alienating them makes for a stiff challenge, but eventually he subtly helps them heal.”
Nicholasandrewhalls: I have a concern about the vagueness of the logline.
What is the event that makes him realize how broke and alone he has become? Because if he’s acerbic and has been alienating his family for years, why would he suddenly go: “You know what I need? To be around my family.” What does he go to them for? Money, or companionship?
“If he’s a very passive protagonist, you need to make clearer the antagonistic force.”
What then is he doing once he’s with the family? Just kind of hanging around? If he’s a very passive protagonist, you need to make clearer the antagonistic force he’s going to face during the film, along with a clear indication of the stakes of failure in whatever he’s actually doing.
The hook seems to be there – an alcoholic spends a holiday with his estranged family – so you’ve got that much clear.
Richiev: Interesting idea. There does seem to be a problem with the logline however.
In the first part you set up the problem, He is penniless and alone. Then at the end you present a solution, He helps his family heal.
Those two plot points are not related. There doesn’t seem to be a connection from the problem to the solution.
” The second line seems to come out of nowhere.”
If his family helped him overcome his alcoholism, then the first part and the second part would relate but instead the second line seems to come out of nowhere.
Still, this does seem to be a good idea; along the lines of home for the holidays. With a few changes the logline should be able to reflect the story better.
So what is your verdict? Would you want to see these films? Why (not)? Did the judges get it right? How would you improve the synopses/loglines and what do you feel might improve the stories behind them?
To read the full reviews and those from casual visitors, go to www.logline.it.
The Judges (click for details)