The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Logline

BY DARIN BRADLEY, Premiumbeat

A well-written logline is an effective tool for selling your film project. A bad one, however, can stop it in its tracks. Here’s what you need to know.

A logline is a simple descriptive sentence that identifies the inciting incident (motivation and/or risks), the protagonist, the primary action, and the antagonist. This straightforward sentence reduces all the complexity and nuance of your script into a digestible takeaway that makes it simpler for the various brokers who bring movies to life to move big, beautiful, ungainly scripts around.

How to Write a 'Noisy' Logline for your Screenplay (Free Template)

They are a tried-and-true tool that most box office successes don’t try to reinvent. Let’s look at an example from The Silence of the Lambs:

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Here’s how the formula breaks down:

  • Protagonist: “young F.B.I. cadet”
  • Action: “must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer”
  • Antagonist: “another serial killer”
  • Inciting incident: “serial killer who skins his victims.”
The Silence of the Lambs

Read more here on Premiumbeat about the Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Logline.

What is a Logline? [with FREE Logline Formula Template]

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