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] “Drown is a hard hitting feature film about bullying andhomophobia. Three surf lifesavers on a big night out. jealousy, homophobic fears and unrequited lust culminate in a tragic booze-fueled episode of near-fatal bullying.”[/box]
The judges’ verdict:
Phyllis: “This logline doesn’t tell me there’ll be any redeeming moments, some light relief from the obvious ugliness. I’m not saying the world of bullies and homphobes is flower-strewn, but to sit in a cinema for 90 minutes and be assaulted by ugly, depressing pictures – without a positive, optimistic backbone to the narrative, well….this logline needs some HOPE”
This logline needs some HOPE.
Steven: “And the story specifics are?? Despite the politically correct throwing around of the term “homophobia”, this story comes across as being a boringly blokey tale. Yes, the writer’s moral sentiments are in the right place, but there’s nothing in the logline to suggest that this is little more than a gay-sensitive retread of a seventies surfie film. Who’s the protagonist? What’s distinctive and likeable about him? Is one of the lifesavers actually a brute, if not the antagonist? Where, exactly, is the conflict being set up?”
Who’s the protagonist?
[box] “Sam Durelle and her younger sister are home alone when a knock at the door leads Sam down the road to terror. Abducted by a serial-killer couple, Sam manages to escape and find refuge in a desolate farmhouse, only to discover it is home to a malevolent spirit. Trapped in the house, Sam is propelled into a struggle for survival, one that will push her to the limits not only physically and emotionally, but spiritually.”[/box]
The judges’ verdict:
Steven: “There are two, seperate, potential feature stories here that have been jammed together for no good reason. The kidnapping by a serial-killer couple is one story. The haunted farmhouse is another. On the face of it, the kidnapping plot only serves as an over-elaborate device to place Sam in the farmhouse. There is no apparent connection between the killer couple and the evil spirit. ”
There are two… feature stories here that have been jammed together for no good reason
James: “I’ll start off by saying that I’ve read worse loglines. This one at least try’s to follow the basic structure that a logline should have. We have our protagonist Sam, the inciting incident and even the transition from Act 1 to Act 2. The only thing that it’s really missing is a goal for Sam. Is her goal to survive? To find out what the spirit is? Or is it to rescue her sister? This logline is far too wordy and goes into too much detail, keep it at 25 words please. If it was able to give Sam the goal of rescuing her sister whilst tying this into the haunted farmhouse plot than we might actually have a half decent attempt.”
This logline is far to wordy and goes into to much detail
Phyllis: “Nothing too original here, folks. I cringe at the potential, gratuitous gore and serial-killer psychosis that will permeate this script. The only slightly intriguing sentence in this logline is ‘…a struggle for survival…that will push her to the limits not only physically and emotionally, but spiritually..’ The Exorcist meets Buffy or Clueless? Sorry, as a fan of good horror, I remain unconvinced.”
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.