The Logline: A Starting Point

As it’s used in the film industry, a Logline is a one or two sentence description of the story idea for a movie. I’ve submitted screenplays to many film companies; some ask for the logline, a one or two page synopsis and the screenplay, others just ask for the logline and the screenplay, but they always ask for the logline.

A fun exercise to get your creative juices flowing, is to make up loglines for your favourite movies. A logline for Titanic (1997) could be: A young woman engaged to marry a rich businessman falls in love with a struggling artist, as the Titanic crosses the Atlantic Ocean on its doomed voyage. You’ve probably already created numerous loglines and didn’t even realize it at the time. Think of how many times you’ve watched a movie, then turned to a friend and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if….”

If you have a great story idea, but it isn’t clearly defined yet, a logline it a good starting point. It doesn’t matter whether it’s going to be a screenplay, a novel, a short story, or a play for live theatre; it allows you to take something that is abstract and give it a tangible form that you can work with. I recently heard a bestselling science fiction author, who has experience in the film and television industry, say that if you can’t describe a novel in two sentences, it can’t be made into a movie. Considering how much can be earned by selling the film rights, that’s a good incentive to learn how to create loglines.

Note: I ended 2021 with some encouraging news about my scifi eBook, Hunting Teddy Bears. It received a 4 out of 5 rating on both Goodreads and Overdrive. Another copy was purchased by a library as well. I enjoy the small wins, while I’m still working towards the big wins.