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
Works of Fiction
[box] “A reclusive writer discovers the murders in her novels are becoming reality before they hit the shelves and must work with a suspicious FBI agent to find the killer and clear her name.”[/box]
The judges’ verdict:
Patrockable: “Stranger than fiction meets murder mystery! It’s an intriguing premise with all the right elements, including character flaw, goal and stakes. But how do we keep it under 25 words? Here’s my take: ‘When the murders in her novels become a reality, a reclusive writer must prove her innocence by finding the killer.’ ”
It’s an intriguing premise with all the right elements
Steven: “The fundamentals here are right. Clear stakes. Flawed protagonist. An interesting supporting character who has good reason to be supsicious of her. An interesting enigma: Copy-cating murders happening before any regular novel reader could know about them. The only thing I would suggest is to add to the protagonist’s apparent meekness. Making her elderly or disabled, for example, to enhance the apparent preposterousness of her being the killer herself”
An interesting supporting character who has good reason to be supsicious of her
Before Tomorrow Comes
[box] “After returning to the present from a horrifying future he is responsible for, a disillusioned software developer must bring down the corporate giant he works for.”[/box]
The judges’ verdict:
James: “I’ll start off by saying that this is a clear logline. It has all those elements that make up a great logline, main character with a flaw, a goal, a clear inciting incident and a clear second act. However sometimes this just isn’t enough. When writing a logline for a high concept idea such as this one a little ‘flavour,’ needs to be added to help create the world and demonstrate what makes this so different. For example state what type of corporate giant it is he works for. This will help clarify the genre of the film. Also describe what is so terrifying about this future. Is his wife dead or is the world now controlled by giant lizards? Two very different scenarios that both fit into this vague logline.”
A little ‘flavour,’ needs to be added to help create the world
Patrockable: “Intriguing. Two suggestions: What is the horrifying future? Describing this would really help flesh out the stakes. And can the goal be reworked to make the genre clearer? “Bringing down the corporate giant he works for” could mean action, sci-fi or political drama.”
Describing this would really help flesh out the stakes
Steven: “A tauter and more effective rendition would be: “An alcoholic and disgraced software developer is abruptly shown [or taken to] the horrific future his greatest work will be instrumental in creating. Shocked by this revelation, his last candle flame of idealism must overcome both his self-doubt and the giant multi-national that now owns all his work.”
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.
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)