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
Alex and Eve[box]
“A Greek Orthodox boy falls in love with a Lebanese Muslim girl creating a mismatch made in heaven. Based on the hugely crowd-pleasing play of the same name”[/box]
The judges’ verdict:
Geno: “A modern day Romeo and Juliet story. Sets up some real conflict between the families and the cultures. I think the genre is clear, as well, considering the seriousness of the topic (certainly NOT a rom/com). The issue is in mentioning the play. Congratulations to you, if you are the original playwright, but it is not fitting to put this in a logline. It reads more like an ad or tagline.
With that gone, you can take that prime real estate and add some more information that will add to the interest and make it much more effective, like additional conflict, or a second obstacle beyond just their cultural. If they each come from powerful families-one high-placed politician’s family, the other perhaps more a violent, anti-gov’t family.
The issue is in mentioning the play…it is not fitting to put this in a logline. It reads more like an ad or tagline.
Paul: “The Romeo and Juliet like love story is clear, but what makes this story different? What separates it from the countless other stories of its kind. Without that, there’s simply not enough to catch my interest enough to read the script, or watch the movie.”
What separates it from the countless other stories of its kind?
Jack: “It might be better to write, “When a Greek Orthodox boy and a Lebanese Muslim girl fall in love…”, then describe the mismatch in an intriguing way. This gives more life to the logline. At the moment it’s a bit flat.”
“Senior clinical psychologist Peter Bower’s life is in turmoil when he reluctantly accepts that all his patients are ghosts. Upon further investigation he discovered that they all died on the same day. In a spine-tingling supernatural thriller, Peter travels back to his past to confront a secret he has kept for 20 years”[/box]
The judges’ verdict:
I think it’s a wonderful concept, and a brilliant title. The glaring issue is that it reads like a comedy, until we learn that it is a thriller. I think the original premise is farcical and quite a nice “high concept”- anger management for ghosts! You can still make it comedic, with him trying to find out who killed them all and their connection, and make it an interesting ride.
The glaring issue I had when first reading it is that it reads like a comedy, until we learn that it is a thriller
Paul: “At 52 words your stretching the boundaries of a logline. I’d leave out the genre and the psychologist name. Plus you could reword it to convey the same information more concisely.The story is clear, I would be interested in watching. But it’s still lacking a personal touch to really pull an audience in. Maybe a detail regarding the psychologist, or what’s at stake if he fails, are the ghosts on his side or against him?”
The story is clear…But it’s still lacking a personal touch to really pull an audience in.
James: “I would leave out the name of the protagonist, the genre as well as the second sentence. We don’t need to know that they all died the same way, that reads like the end of Act 1 and you can save that for the film. Instead you will want to write ‘he travels back in time to confront a secret he has kept for 20 years (in hopes of discovering/in order to).’ In doing this it gives him a goal, something to achieve. This is something that this Logline is lacking ”
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.