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
The Lost Kelly Gold
“When a search for Ned Kelly’s lost gold becomes a life or death battle, it is up to an introverted young Goth to stand up to the murderous local cop hunting them.”
The judges’ verdict:
Steven: “It seems highly unlikely that a Goth would leave the comfort of the city to go out bush hunting for some merely rumoured treasure. What compelling motive would he have to leave his apartment? How could such an incurable urbanite be naive enough to go chasing fabled pots of gold? The antagonist, at least, is effective. And the protagonist is nicely under-matched against him. A more credible protagonist would be some simple, young, honest farmhand who wants the gold to settle down with his town sweetheart. A corrupt cop certainly is a stark contrast against him.”
The antagonist, at least, is effective.
James: “Because the protagonist is so random in this scenario it feels almost like s/he was thrown in just to mix things up. The simple way around this problem is to change the way you have written the logline. Start out with what the Goth is doing out (presumably) in the bush. ‘When an introverted Goth is forced on a bush walk s/he discovers…’ then you can lead into her discovery of the gold and how s/he is the only one able to stop the murderous cop It’s always better to start with the inciting incident rather than the first major plot point in a logline. ”
It’s always better to start with the inciting incident
And Death Rode With Her
“When a grieving medic with deadly powers resists induction into the horsemen of the apocalypse, she must battle the remaining three in order to save the world”
The judges’ verdict:
Steven: “The logline is almost camp as it is. Assuming that this is not meant to be a spoof, more clarity is needed here. A “grieving medic” is an interesting character to start with. Saying she has “deadly powers” is too vague. Some readers will lose interest just there. Then going on about the “horsemen of the apocalypse” brings the whole thing down to apparent silliness. As there is no clear connection between someone who is suffering the very personal experience that is grieving and a sweeping mystical battle that will shake the world.”
A “grieving medic” is an interesting character to start with
James: “This logline suffers from giving too much away, which is remarkable as its only 27 words. With most good movies there’s going to be two goals for the protagonist. The first one takes up the first half of the film and the second one comes in at the mid-point; this one is an extension of the first. This logline gives away what that second goal is for the protagonist, to save the world. I think it would read much better if rather than having to battle the other 3 to save the world…’she must discover why she has been chosen to join this sacred order at the risk of creating world chaos’ or something like that. By putting this in the logline rather than jumping right to her final goal it implies that there will be more to the film than simply a 2 hour fight sequence.
This logline suffers from giving too much away
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.