You spent the last year writing your 100-page script to perfection. You slaved over each scene and every line of dialogue. You are finally ready to introduce your newborn baby to the market. And the first person you talk to says:
“What’s the logline? Tell it to me in 2 sentences.”
Doesn’t that make you want to throw a couple of hardback books at them? Tell 100 pages in two lines? Are you kidding me!
But that’s how it goes. You have about 2 to 3 sentences to tell someone the essence of your 100-plus page script to get them interested. If you CAN get them interested with the 2 lines, then you’ll get a chance to tell them more.
Those first 2 sentences have to grip them or your pitch is over.
A strong logline conveys the central idea of your story, the genre, the setting if it’s unusual, the lead character(s), and the main conflict. Also, make sure the theme emerges in the way you say it. Yes, all in 2 to 3 sentences. Kind of like Ginger Rogers doing what Fred Astaire did in high heels going backwards–she had to do a ton of stuff that people watching didn’t even think about. You too can tell a 100-page story in two lines.
The more you can speak in pictures, the better. You want your audience or reader to SEE in their mind what you are describing, but you have to paint the picture smoothly without them noticing your paintbrush.
One good exercise is to practice telling the loglines of your favorite movies or any movie you see. Create a logline for it.
As you practice condensing stories to simple 2 or 3 line ideas, it will help you build your skill in that area.
One last hot tip: If you haven’t written your script yet, work on the logline first. If you get it down first, it could save you lots of time wandering around in the plot while you’re writing.
If you’re not sure, you may want to get help with your logline or your script to make sure they are ready to go. If you are confident that those are in place and that your script really is marketable, then it’s time to start marketing your screenplay.
Remember, when you market your script, you are asking a producer to pay you $100K or $500K or $1 million dollars for your script. But when an exec says yes to buying your script, they’re not just saying yes to your $100K or $500K or $1 million dollars, they’re thinking about whether they want to say yes to the $20 to $50 to $100 Million that it’s going to take to make the movie. Are your two lines worth THAT?!