What Is a Logline in Screen Writing?

What Is a Logline?

A logline is a brief, one or two-sentence summary of a screenplay, movie, TV show, or novel that captures the essence of the story. It should convey the basic premise, main characters, and conflict in a way that piques the reader’s interest and gives them a sense of what the story is about. A logline is often used as a marketing tool to pitch a story idea to producers, agents, or publishers. It can also be a useful tool for writers to clarify and distil their story ideas into a concise and compelling pitch.

Why Is a Logline Important?

A logline is important because it serves as a brief and powerful pitch that can quickly grab the attention of potential producers, agents, or publishers. It provides a concise summary of the story that gives a sense of its main characters, conflict, and unique selling points. A well-crafted logline can generate interest and excitement for the project and increase the chances of it getting read or considered for production. It can also help writers focus their storytelling and ensure that their story has a clear and compelling concept. In short, a logline is an essential tool for any writer looking to promote their work and get it noticed in a crowded marketplace.

How To Write a Good Logline Using the “Save the Cat!” Template?

  • Focus on the main character: The logline should introduce the protagonist and make it clear what they are trying to achieve.
  • Use active language: The logline should use active verbs and avoid passive language to make the story feel dynamic and engaging.
  • Highlight the conflict: The logline should make it clear what the protagonist is up against, whether it’s a villain, an obstacle, or an internal struggle.
  • Show the stakes: The logline should convey what’s at stake for the protagonist and why the audience should care about their journey.
  • Keep it concise: The logline should be brief and to the point, ideally no longer than two sentences.
  • Use the “Save the Cat!” template: The logline should follow the “Save the Cat!” template, which includes introducing the protagonist, establishing their world, and describing the inciting incident that sets the story in motion.

What Is the “Save the Cat!” Logline Template?

On the verge of a Stasis = Death moment, a flawed protagonist has a Catalyst and Breaks Into Two with the B Story; but when the Midpoint happens, he/she must learn the Theme Stated, before All Is Lost, to defeat (or stop) the flawed antagonist (from getting away with his/her plan).

The logline for the movie The Matrix, based on the above template, would be as follows:

On the verge of a computer hacker’s arrest, Neo, a disaffected programmer, receives a cryptic message that leads him into a thrilling new world of freedom fighters and digital warriors, forcing him to break free from his mundane existence and discover the truth about his reality, before all is lost to the malevolent forces of a powerful and corrupt A.I.

Jaws: On the verge of a summer tourism disaster, a small town police chief has a chance to catch a killer shark with the help of a marine biologist and a colourful fisherman; but when the shark strikes back, he must face his fear of water to save his community from a deadly predator.

Die Hard: On the verge of losing his wife and his life, a wise-cracking cop has a chance to stop a gang of terrorists with only his wits and his bare feet; but when the terrorists hold his wife hostage, he must learn to outsmart them and become a true hero to save his loved ones.

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash


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