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.loglineit.com. Learn from the feedback and perfect your own loglining skills.
by The Judges
The Glass Blower
“Twenty-year-old Nicole is a cleaner at a prestigious art college but dreams of becoming a glass blower. When a new teacher, Kiera, discovers her talent Nicole accepts her help and they form an unconventional relationship leading Nicole to a buried secret that has been kept from her since she was a child.”
The judges’ verdict:
Steven: “Bit of a copy of “Good Will Hunting”, here … only with girls. Nicole should at least want to be a sculptor or artist, rather than a “glass-blower”. Glass-blowing sounds lame as a dream or goal. A teacher helping out a diamond-in-the-rough student and forming an “unconventional relationship” with her sounds, itself, very conventional and very much done before as a story (“Educating Rita”, “Dead Poets’ Society”, even “Pretty Woman”). There is some meat and potential with the “buried secret’ idea, however.”
There is some meat and potential with the “buried secret’ idea.
Nina: “Nicole appears to be a passive protagonist. Nicole accepts Kiera’s help leading her to a buried secret are not active enough. Passive protagonists often make for a slow and uneventful story. The promise of drama seems to arrive in Act two when a buried secret is introduced which is far too late”
Passive protagonists often make for a slow and uneventful story.
Geno “Too wordy, but also not enough of the “right” words that provide the important information. You can start by deleting name, age and occupation as they are essentially irrelevant to a logline (in most cases, unless, of course, the name, age and occupation IS the story). You may want to define what the “unconventional relationship” is in greater detail, as this seems to be the entire hook of the story”
“A haunting tale of a family in extremis, based on her own novel.”
The judges’ verdict:
Karel: “What this logline suggests to me is a film that fits under no umbrella other than ‘drama’. I can see a poster with the family members looking away from us, none making eye contact. We feel alienated before we even enter the cinema. To me, this logline is symptomatic for the poor understanding of screen story and marketing among some government gatekeepers in this country.
this logline is symptomatic for the poor understanding of screen story
and marketing among some government gatekeepers in this country.
Dave: “There really is nothing about the story here. The word haunting tries to evoke some tone, I think, but I have no clue what haunting means without more context. The family – is that the central character? I don’t know what the story even could be and, just because it was a novel, doesn’t mean that I would want to watch it.”
There really is nothing about the story here.
Steven: “And the actual story is … ??? Forget about the novel. Most producers won’t have read it. And with a logline this weak, they won’t be inspired to either. Assume the reader reads only comic books [quite true in LA) and get to telling him or her the story. Stop plugging the novel and tell us what the film is actually ABOUT.”
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.