Writing loglines is an essential skill for screenwriters, from early development through to the pitch. In this section, every week our panel reviews a few loglines posted to www.logline.it. Learn from the feedback and perfect your own loglining skills.
by The Judges
[box] “An ex footballer embroiled in a scandal returns home to clear his name and reignite an old flame, but revelations regarding the shameful aftermath of his team’s grand final once again threaten to turn his life upside down.”[/box]
The judges’ verdict:
Steven: “Verbose and inefficiently expressed. Also, why wouldn’t this footballer run off into exile if he has been so publically shamed and scandalised? What possible ‘escape’ would his home provide that, say, a far off country town could not? Thirdly, what kind of vacc-head is he to think that he would have a chance with his “old flame” in the aftermath of his shame? Sure he is only a footballer, but to be worthwhile protagonist he must at least demonstrate an IQ above 30. Badly worded and too many story holes. No stars.”
Badly worded and too many story holes.
James: “This is one of the better loglines I’ve read in a while. Although by no means perfect, it at least attempts to harness most qualities that a logline should have. First off we have a protagonist with a goal, it’s about time. This is so important to any logline. Secondly he’s given a flaw that will make this goal harder to achieve. This flaw links back into the main plot point nicely too. Also we’re given an inciting incident, so we can physically see where the story will take off. It’s a bit long and wordy but apart from that actually a pretty solid effort.”
We have a protagonist with a goal…this is so important to any logline.
Phyllis: “Quite topical – though when is footballer scandal ever NOT going to be topical?? Anyway… lots of great material here… redemption, love, greed, sex, power, control. Fabulous. Told well with dynamic, attractive set pieces this could capture the torrid, high stake world of professional football – and the fallen heroes who live there..”
[box] “In 1996, five best friends discover an abandoned truckload of bush weed dumped in a roadside rest area in outback Australia. Cashing in on their lucky find, the young men take control of the local gunja trade and are thrust into an underworld of Calabrian Mafia, outlaw bikers, Woodcutters from Hell, truckers and speed-dealing milk bar owners, all looking for their cut of the score.”[/box]
The judges’ verdict:
Steven: “Firstly, way too many antagonists. Also the cache being weed (rather than cash, gold, heroin, or guns) is a bit lightweight. Even radioactive isotopes would be more compelling. Or, if this is supposed to be yet another quirky effort, you could make the cache more effectively oddball, such as the secret costumes for Wolget’s next Spring Festival. Thirdly, five is arguably too many as a protagonist group. Three, at most, for a taut story (even if comedy). The logline is a lot of smoke but no real fire. ”
The logline is a lot of smoke but no real fire
James: “I’m going to ignore the weirdness of the story here and just focus on the logline. Because as far as the logline goes, it makes an effort. It’s good that they introduced their main characters and gave them a set-up (finding the weed.) They are then given a goal; to take over the drug trade. They are even given obstacles and protagonists. So this is all good. What is not good includes the word length; the introduction of too many protagonists and the un-necessary detail. If this was re-written at about half the length it might actually come off sounding ok. ”
It’s good that they introduced their main characters and gave them a set-up
If you have an opinion on any of these synopses or the feedback from the judges, please share it with us in the comments below. Please keep the discussion constructive. Even if your first instinct may be subjective, try to give us as objective a reply as possible. The objective is to all (that includes us, judges) learn from the exercise.