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
“A promising young surgeon is appointed by the Queen’s Secret Court to eliminate an alien threat from the slums of London before it destroys the Aristocracy.”
The judges’ verdict:
Karel: “I LOVE IT! Only two things I wonder: Is there a character journey? “Promising young surgeon” sounds like a flawless character. Following from this: the logline as it is may or may not suggest a dilemma. Is ‘destroying the aristocracy’ a bad thing? This could be a story about the class of the classes and the surgeon may have reasons to allow the aliens to achieve their goal.”
Is there a character journey?
Geno: “I’m just slightly thrown by the mash-up of subject matter- the Queen, a doctor and aliens. They don’t seem to jive for me. if you have to explain it, it doesn’t work. You seem to have the right elements, but I don’t see the tie-in between them”
I’m just slightly thrown by the mash-up of subject matter
Steven: “Where this story has the most potential, I think, is an alternate-Earth setting (such as Steam Punk). Where the British Empire has continued on into a modern technology setting. Yet this same Empire anachronistically and stubbornly perpetuates old English traditions (such as colonialism, feudalism, racism, etc). In such a milieu, the reader could see that attacking the aristocracy would make a real difference to that society. This same milieu would be ripe with possibilities for political and social commentary as well (a potential bonus selling point).
Blood and Fire
“A brash missionary and a local gang must set aside their feud and defend their village against a violent drug cartel.”
The judges’ verdict:
James: “First of all I would try and emphasize the protagonist and little more. By simply saying “A brash missionary must team up with…” you’ve automatically made him the centre of the story (then throw him a nice flaw). Next there needs to be a clearer goal. With this the goal for the protagonist is clear, stop the cartel. With this kind of story though I think that you need to give the cartel a better goal, that is a reason for why they are destroying this town and in this the answer for why the town needs saving in the first place may appear.”
I would try and emphasize the protagonist and little more
Steven: “Fundamentally, I see this as having legs. That two bickering rivals have to unite to face a greater threat has a classic story quality to it. The main thing that the logline lacks is a bit of atmosphere. A little more to imply either the tone of the film or to tell us a bit more about the protagonist. Mind you, “brash missionary” is an interesting and unexpected character description. Top marks for that!”
That two bickering rivals have to unite to face a greater threat has a classic story quality to it
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.