How to Write a Logline

The logline is also called 'elevator pitch' for the reason that you must be able to explain within 10 seconds what your film is about.
How to Write a Logline

Imagine, you have a film producer standing in front of you, and he says ok, pitch me the film.

Essence of a Film Logline

A logline tells the essence of your story, stimulating excitement without giving the full story away. A good logline consists of three major elements: the character, the character’s goal and the obstacle to overcome. You need a logline to develop and market your story.

Why you need a Logline

  • for you to test your concept
  • to market the script to producers
  • for the producer to market the project to financiers
  • when the sales agent sells your film to distributors
  • when the exhibitor advertises the film to the audience
  • when the distributor packages the DVD
  • for advertising in print, online etc

The Structure of a LogLine

The logline should include the The Who, What, When, Why and How.

Here is an example of the documentary logline structure of Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune:

The protagonist: Cult film director ..
The goal of the protagonist: Cult film directors’s ambitious film adaption ...
The antagonist or obstacle: Cult film directors’s ambitious film adaption of a seminal science fiction novel

See more Logline Formula examples

Where to find examples of Loglines

  1. The one-sentence program summary in your TV Guide
  2. Check IMDB listings
  3. See Top Documentary Loglines
  4. See Top Box Office Logline Examples

Logline vs Tagline?

  • The logline is the pitch of the movie to sell the idea to producers, distributors and audiences.
  • The tagline is the one-liner on the poster, not more than 5 words that will resonate instantly.

Lists of [character traits] and [dynamic actions]

Let’s give depth to your loglines by using [character trait] and [dynamic actions] to get the reader to quickly grasp the character and story.

Remember the formula:

When a [major event], the [character trait] hero, must [dynamic action] to overcome [obstacle] The following lists will make it easier for you to find descriptive words for your logline.

Download the Essential Lists of Dynamic Actions and Character Traits

  • List of 752 [character traits] = meek, spirited, aging, etc
  • List of 79 [dynamic actions]= defy, revive, reveal, etc