MaryBadhamGregoryPeckA logline is a single-sentence summary of a film or television pilot that provides a synopsis of the program and an emotional hook to stimulate interest. The idea is to sell your story in one sentence. Bob likes to say, “If I could tell it one sentence, why do I need 120 pages?” But, that’s what the elusive executive in the elevator wants to hear!

Here at The Ultimate Logline Contest, we like to think of loglines as mini-pitches. To be honest, the wonderful Pilar Alessandra says it better than we ever could. Read her blog post on the subject at the Great American PitchFest website.

There’s also a good interview with Sheri Brummond, Director of Development at Rosemont Productions International Ltd, here.

In a winning logline, what we want to read is a character with a flaw, involved in a situation, with a big problem, and at least a hint about where the story may go after that. And we’re looking for all of that, in one sentence.

Definitely fewer than three sentences. Which bears repeating: a logline is fewer than three sentences.

Here are some examples that we’ve written ourselves, about films you’ve already seen. Feel free to play guess the film! Also, we’d love to include any example loglines that you have written yourself. The comments section is open, feel free to post and we can chat and attempt to pin down an answer to the elusive question “What constitutes a great logline?”

And, whilst we’re at it, feel free to give us feedback on the loglines we’ve posted. We’re not precious and welcome open discussion.

 

Logline Examples

A teenager and an absent-minded scientist battle to save the future after the teen accidentally travels back in time and prevents his parents from meeting. (Back to the Future)

A swashbuckling archaeologist travels the globe battling Nazis in pursuit of the Lost Ark of the Covenant. (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

When a Soviet captain steals Russia’s top secret weapon, it falls to a lone CIA analyst to convince the world that he intends to defect, before they blow him out of the water. (The Hunt for Red October)

The bite of a radioactive spider transforms a milquetoast into a powerful hero, but he must learn the hard way that with great power comes great responsibility. (The Amazing Spider-Man)

A giant ape is kidnapped from his home and exploited to entertain the masses, controlled through his love for a human woman. But the promoters soon learn the hard way: Only beauty can tame the beast. (King Kong)