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Screenwriting : Anybody need logline help? by Marjolein Smit

Marjolein Smit

Anybody need logline help?

We all know what a BLEEP loglines can be. Well, it took me a while but I have come to actually enjoy cracking the logline puzzle. (Don't be mean to me now hahaha ) If you're stuck, feel free to ask for help. Hope y'all are doing okay. --------------------- It is now a month later. I have seen some awesome stuff! But, I have also noticed that people do not read what has been written before, which leads me to repeating things. So I am going to place some logline tips here. 1: Do not use a character's name in a logline. 2: Use one descriptive word to describe your pro. Like "orphan" or "drunk". 3: A logline is one sentence of about 25 to 30 words. 4: Do not use a question in a logline. 5: Show the protagonist's goal. 6: Start a logline with the words "after" or "when" to set of in the right direction. 7: Make clear what obstacle (or who) is in the way of the pro reaching her goal. Logline structure from the "Save the Cat" screenwriting book: "Someone (the protagonist) wants something (the story goal) and goes after it against great odds and/ or obstacles (the antagonist and the conflict)."

Phil O'Brien

Hi Marjoleinm

It would be great if you would have a look at my loglines and let me know what you think, Thanks

Phil.

Eric Christopherson

I just finished the first draft of my first murder mystery and wrote a logline today. It might be a little too long. I hope it sounds interesting and isn't confusing.

Title: Blue Hell

Logline: In a small city in the Rocky Mountains, famous as a retirement community for former cops, a young detective of mixed blood from a nearby Native American reservation must overcome the local racial politics and his own inexperience to find a serial cop killer whose modus operandi is a bow and arrow ambush.

Marjolein Smit

Hello Phil, I like your idea. Okay, let's see.

Your logline :

A couple, their five kids to fours ex’s and an assortment of pets and in-laws navigate living in the same condo complex. Life was simple for a tech billionaire until he bought the complex and opened the doors to the family.

My suggestion logline:

A new millionaire with helper syndrome finds himself broke, living with his family, ex's, kids, their pets and his new girlfriend.

I expect that the "fours" is a type-o and should be four? I have changed your billionaire into a millionaire with helper syndrome to show you how he could have gotten into that situation and made him broke to show he will have to struggle to get out of it. I hope it helps.

Greetings Marjolein

Claude Gagne

Wouldn't you need to read the screenplay in order to give the best rendition of the logline?

Prince Jude

Logline .

(LOVE TANGO)

True love dwells in the hearts of two passionate souls but their love life continues to face all kinds of threats by those who just think they are too good to be true.

Please what do you think?

Marjolein Smit

Hello Eric. I like the idea! Let's see.

Your logline: In a small city in the Rocky Mountains, famous as a retirement community for former cops, a young detective of mixed blood from a nearby Native American reservation must overcome the local racial politics and his own inexperience to find a serial cop killer whose modus operandi is a bow and arrow ambush.

My suggestion logline:

A young Native American detective, working in a retired cop haven, must fight racial politics and his inexperience to find a bow and arrow serial cop killer.

I hope it helps you, Eric. Greetings Marjolein

Marjolein Smit

Hello Claude, I did ask Phil for more information on one of his movie scripts but I don't think it is always necessary. Sometimes the loglines have all the juicy components in them already. People just struggle sometimes with the order of it or to keep it short and sweet In that case, I just cherry-pick and rearrange. This is just a way for people to see a tree through the forest. Have a great Sunday. Greetings Marjolein

Marjolein Smit

Hello Prince. Cool name man! I like the idea:)

Two lovers who are sure they are soulmates......and then?

Can you tell me more about who the people are that oppose them and what threats they have to face? Greetings Marjolein

Marjolein Smit

Hey Phil, Okay let's look at this cool one.

LOGLINE:

A specialist team work together combining their skills and diverse backgrounds to combat threats including terrorist cells, organised crime, outlaw gangs and criminals all beyond the reach of traditional methods while dealing with their own personal doubts and friction within the team.

What is the threat? If it would destroy the world as we know It, for instance, you might want to mention it. But without that, I would change it to something like this:

Suggestion logline:

Armed forces, intelligence specialists and their enemies each fight personal battles when they are required to fight threats together that go beyond the lines of the law.

P.S. keep an eye on the spelling. A specialist team works and organized is with a z.

Hope it helps you. Greetings Marjolein

Marjolein Smit

Hey Phil, Let's look at number four. (I can so see this in my head:)

A private investigator with no filter or sense of humor works for a company that focus on workplace complaints. He navigates his way through a series of unusual situations while dealing with his eccentric boss and co-workers and his office nemesis.

First, a spelling correction: A company does not focus it focusses.

Part of a suggestion logline:

When a no humor, no filter private investigator gets hired by a workplace complaints company...

For the rest of the logline, it would be helpful to know what some of the unusual situations could be, why you call the boss eccentric and why the office nemesis is his antagonist. If he is the nemesis because he's charming and the company clown then it is worth mentioning it.

I can't wait to hear more. Greetings Marjolein

Phil O'Brien

Thanks Marjolein,

This has been great feedback, i will have to remember to Americanise the spelling in parts

Marjolein Smit

I am glad you found it helpful Phil. It won't be necessary if you are aiming for the Aussie market of course. Good luck with everything. Greetings Marjolein

Prince Jude

I hope this add a little detail to my earlier logline,

LOVE TANGO.

(Synopsis)

A considerable amount of people out there believe that love has no chance of surviving without money fueling it- Well, not the kind of love that exists between Kweku and Angela( the lead characters in the series)

The story (primarily but not exclusively) follows the romantic lives of the unbreakable,highly dramatic and humorous couple with matching behavioral charcteristics which makes them perfect for each other.

Circumstances and unscrupulous individuals constantly threatens to push them apart but the gravitational pull of unconditional love and affection brings them back together. Sometimes their actions too causes some tension between them, but they still find their way back together.

Angela wants to pursue a career in modeling, so she exudes a great amount of shrewdness when kweku is not there to ruin it with his unrealistic ideologies and aspirations, and that keeps them going back and forth with limited progress.

The overall vision for the series is to address the day to day issues encountered by the youths of today's generation. Every character in the series will be designed to tackle a familiar subject that burdens our youths of today. It is going to be relatable and educative amidst a good dose of comedy.

Vasco Saraiva

Hey Marjolein, I would appreciate your opinion. Here is the logline:

London 2040 - Living in society without a biometric, augment reality device is almost impossible. An ex-hacker decides to get one installed, despite it being against her own beliefs and the advice of her insurgent brother.

Marjolein Smit

Okay Prince, Now I have a bit more info. It seems that even though they think they are perfect for each other they might be acting a bit around each other, Angela wants to pursue a career in modeling, and is shrewd while kweku has unrealistic ideologies and aspirations and that keeps them going back and forth with limited progress.

Suggestion logline:

Friends of a shrewd ( plain would be a good word here) wannabe model and her new goody two shoes boyfriend, who lives in an ideal world, are "placing bets" on which of their worlds will blow up first.

I hope it helps you Prince. Greetings Marjolein

Marjolein Smit

Hello Vasco, I like it. Why is she an ex-hacker? The answer to that question could be why she held off for so long.

Your logline:

London 2040 - Living in society without a biometric, augmented reality device is almost impossible. An ex-hacker decides to get one installed, despite it being against her own beliefs and the advice of her insurgent brother.

Suggestion logline:

London 2014- When an ex-hacker finds out that her insurgent brother was right to advise against having a biometric, augmented reality device implanted because it's an easier life, life gets really hard.

I hope it helps you somehow. Greetings Marjolein

Vasco Saraiva

Marjolein Smit Thank you very much!

Prince Jude

Thanks Marjolein, I'll look at it again

Tim Mihocik

Hi Marjolein, I would love it if you would take a look at mine. Its for an adaptation of "The Island of Dr. Moreau" that I wrote but I'm having a hard time NOT making it sound like its the same exact story.

Logline - A rescued stowaway is brought to a remote island by a charming young scientist and his mentor, an infamous former surgeon, where they conduct radical experiments that turn humans into beasts only to discover that she is about to become their most successful creation yet.

Marjolein Smit

Hideho Tim. Let's see. I have not seen the original so I am going in blind. :)

Your logline:

Logline - A rescued stowaway is brought to a remote island by a charming young scientist and his mentor, an infamous former surgeon, where they conduct radical experiments that turn humans into beasts only to discover that she is about to become their most successful creation yet.

Suggestion logline:

When a saved stowaway is charmed to a remote island by a scientist and his infamous ex-surgeon mentor she learns they conduct radical experiments and want to make her their greatest creation yet.

Hope it helps you. Have a great day. Greetings Marjolein

Tim Mihocik

I like it Marjolein! Thank you so much!

Nadir H. Shah

A rescued stowaway finds herself on a remote island with a charming young scientist and an infamous surgeon. They are conducting experiments that will turn humans into beasts. Will she become their most successful creation yet?

Nadir H. Shah

What do you guys think of the above?

Marjolein Smit

It is great Nadir! I would take the question form out of it though. With a question, you leave the reader dangling off a cliff. A logline should convey all the juicy stuff that makes a buyer (or cinemagoer) want to jump on it. Putting a question in it is kind of a missed opportunity. But I can see you got the logline bug too. You're good. Have a great day. Greetings Marjolein

Marjolein Smit

If I don't answer you today it might be because I live 9 hours into the future. So I am sleeping now but I will get on it tomorrow. The future is awesome I tell you! Great Scott! Ehm greetings Marjolein

Ingrid Goldberg

Nadir: Are you aware of the novel The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells? There were also 2 movies made from the book.

Phil O'Brien

HI Marjolein

I have added more detail to the synopsis of The Investigators, is it better to go into more detail?

Marjolein Smit

Hello Ingrid, No I did not. But I Googled it after Tim told me about his adaptation. Gosh I wonder if I will ever get through the "books to read" and "movies to watch" lists. Hahahaha. Have a great day Ingrid.

Marjolein Smit

Hey Phil. I have not had much experience yet with writing for TV. I liked reading your synopsis a lot. Al the different types of characters and their quirks really spoke to me. What I liked most about it was the bit of the story you told at the end. I really got to "see" it in my head. That is why I would definitely also write an example of one episode to really get a taste of it. Maybe you can create a new post and ask all the Stage32 peeps how to best write a TV. show synopsis? Then you'll get a lot more opinions. It is also a good idea to just look at how others have done it. Look for examples online and see if yours matches up. I for one can't wait to see these characters on the screen. Have a good one Phil. Greetings Marjolein

Phil O'Brien

Thanks Marjolein

I really appreciate your feedback and advice.

Phil.

Marjolein Smit

Hey Phil, I forgot to look at logline number five and I promised so here goes. I want to see this one on the screen:) It reads like a comedy karate kid with a tearjerker happy ending. I love it.

Your logline:

An examination of the quirky characters and situations found within a suburban karate school. The owner's problems includes bizarre students and his competition, but at times his biggest problem is what to do with overly enthusiastic assistant instructor.

She's doing it again... includes should be include and overly should have an in front of it. This one doesn't grab me because it doesn't tell the story arc of the main character.

If you give the karate school owner let's say the goal of wanting to win this year's amateur championship but all he gets is wacko students it starts to paint a picture. You can add to his problems by describing the cookie assistant or how the assistant helps him get nowhere faster. Use one or two words for the assistant that explains in what way he is overexcited like "former cheerleader". Now you can see he's going to struggle big time. Adding what he has to overcome into the logline will make the "fun and games" section of the movie (From the "Save the Cat" screenwriting book by Blake Snyder) clear in the logline. The "fun and games" section is the reason people buy the ticket.

My suggestion logline:

When a karate school owner with a former cheerleader assistant and num nut, grannies and horny housewife students wants to win the amateur championship he needs to get creative.

Good luck Phil! Greetings Marjolein

Cannon Rosenau

Please feel free to make suggestions on this one below. It was my learning script a comedy feature, but I think I may revisit it because I thought it was a fun story (if I don't like it, why would anyone else?!):

Misguided

When a straight-laced bachelor finally meets his Miss Right, his screwball best friend ruins her chance at adopting her foster son and their chance at true love.

Thanks for doing this Marjolein Smit Very kind!

Marjolein Smit

Hello Cannon, No problem okay let's see.

Your logline:

When a straight-laced bachelor finally meets his Miss Right, his screwball best friend ruins her chance at adopting her foster son and their chance at true love.

I think the questions "how" and "why" pop up. How does the screwball best friend ruin the adoption? That is where the comedy is I reckon. It is a comedy right? It reads like the two men each have something the other could use in their life. The situation might be the clue they needed to figure it out and get it together. It is a good logline but that little bit of zest or zing is missing. Now that I have read it a few times it seems that it does not have a happy ending. Okay yeah, I need to know the quirks of the screwball and how he messes it up. If he's a slob, smoking pot in his bathrobe, "I need a place to stay man", no rules kind of a guy then that is what the logline needs. Or is it a romance? hahaha. O boy. I will get back on it when I have your extra info. Greetings Marjolein. ( I see why you are getting back to it. It has great potential)

Cannon Rosenau

You pegged it...I couldn't quite get it right for all those reasons you worked through. It does have a happy ending. Always take the bet that I will write a happy ending. ;)

At one time I had in there "..after a wild night with his screwball best friend it ruins her chance..."

There is more to the story as a heaping crap pile happens to the protagonist! But I need to re-read, it's been awhile. Thanks! You gave me some good tips too.

Marjolein Smit

After the one time, a straight-laced bachelor "loosened his laces" during a night out with his screwball friend he loses Miss perfect, but Screwball's got the perfect plan! (? just trying something)

Aray Brown

Always. I hate writing loglines

Marjolein Smit

Hello Aray, I got your logline.

I reacted to the earlier one through Facebook. Your old logline was: A young girl is brainwashed into believing God chose her to save the world. In order to fulfill the prophecy she must sacrifice her stepfather, but soon meets a man who changes her destiny "

I suggested: A brainwashed girl believes she must sacrifice her stepfather to save the world until she meets a man who changes her destiny.

This is your newly adapted logline: When a young girl is brainwashed into believing God chose her to save the world, she must sacrifice her uncle or rail against the cult.

The bit that comes after the comma is where the kink is.

The question that pops up after reading both loglines is why must she sacrifice her uncle or believe she has to? If you can make that clear we can see and understand the mountain she has to climb.

So my question is why does she believe her uncle must be sacrificed?

Greetings Marjolein

Marjolein Smit

Okay, I got your extra info. Here is my suggestion.

When a brainwashed girl in a cult is expected to make her uncle a blood sacrifice to save the world, she finds herself in limbo choosing between heaven or raising hell.

Greetings Marjolein

Richard "RB" Botto

This is a great thread...Thanks for starting it Marjolein Smit! I just wanted to step in and remind everyone that they can post their own loglines either in your profile or by clicking Browse on the top menu bar and then loglines. And everyone else can rate and comment on those loglines. It's a great way for everyone to get involved and help one another out. Carry on!

Aray Brown

Marjolein Smit I like it! How much i owe you? lol

Aray Brown

Marjolein Smit Now if only I can do a logline for the episode

Marjolein Smit

Aray, Giggles. A heads up when it comes out. :)

Daniel Ray

Hello Marjolein!

I need some help on writing the perfect logline and I heard you're the best.! Here what I have so far:

Logline:

In 1961, 59 people were brutally murdered in a small town in North Carolina. One person survived. The killer was never found. No one has seen the killer, except for the person who survived the brutality at the hands of the slaughter. That person, witnessed that horrific event and has not said a word since that day. It is now 2020, and a family from Connecticut is visiting North Carolina, to soon find out that the town that they just arrived in for their family reunion, has a mystery and there is a one-legged killer on the loose. But why, after all these years, is a return imminent?

Liz Randol

yes Marjolein- I'd love help w a logline! can we take this private? all the best- Liz. lizdragon2002@gmail.com many thanks!

Marjolein Smit

Hello Liz, sure my email is marjolein.smit@hotmail.com Greetings!

Marcin Klinkosz

Hi Marjolein,

I need some help with this one - I have two options

Precog twins travel through time in order to stop the Nazi-Soviet secret organization and protect the future.

or

When one of the precog twins is used for a time travel experiment by a secret organization, the second twin has to jump into the future to fulfill the prophecy, save her family and change the future that seems inevitable.

Thanks for your help

Marjolein Smit

Hello Daniel, I like the story. :)

A logline is one sentence brief summary. Most of the time between 25 to 30 words. This is more of a description.

What you have:

In 1961, 59 people were brutally murdered in a small town in North Carolina. One person survived. The killer was never found. No one has seen the killer, except for the person who survived the brutality at the hands of the slaughter. That person, witnessed that horrific event and has not said a word since that day. It is now 2020, and a family from Connecticut is visiting North Carolina, to soon find out that the town that they just arrived in for their family reunion, has a mystery and there is a one-legged killer on the loose. But why, after all these years, is a return imminent?

Okay, pick the main character and describe him/her in one word is where you start. So I guess "the person" is your main character. The descriptive word could be the word "mute" perhaps. A good guidepost is to start a logline with the word "after" or "when".

So for instance: "After many years the sole, now mute, survivor of a village slaughter comes back to the area for a family reunion" could be something to work with.

You wrote: has a mystery and there is a one-legged killer on the loose. But why, after all these years, is a return imminent?

Did you mean she has a secret? It is 59 years later and there are 59 victims. Is that a reason? Is she the killer? You need to work on explaining the secret or using it in a way that is useful to the logline. You also need to find an obstacle that she has to overcome. Ending with a question is not a good idea. People who want to buy your movie, or go to the cinema, want to know what they are buying.

I hope it helps you. Good luck! Greetings Marjolein

Marjolein Smit

Hello Marcin, Interesting movie idea. :) Awesome.

Precog twins travel through time in order to stop the Nazi-Soviet secret organization and protect the future.

or

When one of the precog twins is used for a time travel experiment by a secret organization, the second twin has to jump into the future to fulfill the prophecy, save her family and change the future that seems inevitable.

Okay, I like the second better. Because it gives you more information, which gives you a better taste of what the movie will be like.

Because with logline one I think: What does the Nazi-Soviet secret organization want? Why protect the future? What will happen to it if they can't stop...wait, what are they stopping?

The precog twins have seen something they want to change, right? What is the prophecy? Mention what that is because that is what is at stake. That makes it exciting and the buyer and cinema go' er think. Holy moly I want to see them stop that.

So give me a bit more info and I will get back on it.

Have a great day, Greetings Marjolein

Dan Guardino

Marjolein. Here is one for a psychological-thriller production screenplay I just finished writing. "A professor obsessed with statistics ends up in a mental institution. Are his dreams reality, déjà vu or simulation or is he delusional?"

Shawn Speake

That's what's up... here's what I'm working on today: a logline for a short BIG BOSS FILMS just entered into the S32 Short Film Contest, KILL THE DUMBASS...

A pot-smoking feature-extra actor, DUMBASS, accidentally calls his boss's wife and the Mob Filmmaker shows up with goons to pitch his new movie, KILL THE DUMBASS. ...

I think it's wordy. What say you?...

Here's me and my filmmaking brother, on-set. Lyle Pookie DeRose also of S32.

Shawn Speake

Powerful stuff goin' down here:)

Debbie Croysdale

“A weed head actor accidentally calls the wife of his producer and the filmmaking mobster turns up with a bunch of hoods to pitch his new movie Kill The Dumbass.” This sounds fun Shawn, I’m just picturing scenes in my head now. Can see Dumbass in a lift with a gun in his belly, encircled by seedy hoods and the producer saying “Call this an elevator pitch.” Hah hah...getting carried away with your story.

Shawn Speake

that's what's up, Debbie Croysdale Always a pleasure

Bill Albert

I'm having a heck of a time with a log line for a TV series idea. I'm really excited about what I have for films but it's hard to come up for something for a series. It's in my log lines if you want to see what I'm talking about. Thank you.

Debbie Croysdale

@Bill I just seen this but when I’m on desktop will review this for you, i phone doesn’t take all links. Speaking in general, with a series the log-line needs to hint there is scope for future progression. Some series have one macro story beginning to end, with a closed ended micro story that concludes each show. Streaming now caters for binge viewing, from commuter bus ride duration views, up to well over the hour settee audience. You need to study which market your series is aiming for and pitch accordingly. Will send you examples next week from desktop. Stay Well!

Debbie Croysdale

@Shawn Cool photo! Now I see the funny side....Now I’m always smiling!

Phil Clarke

For those that don't know, I have put together a logline helpsheet that went out to subscribers to my occasional newsletter about a year or so ago. For anyone who would like this helpsheet, do message me.

Marjolein Smit

Hello Dan Guardino: Why do I hear a Queen song in my head now? :) "Is this the real life or is this just fantasy?"

A professor obsessed with statistics ends up in a mental institution. Are his dreams reality, déjà vu or simulation or is he delusional?"

You say he is obsessed with statistics and then you talk about dreams. I think you need to make it clear what his problem is concerning reality. Does he believe there are statistics proving conspiracies? A logline is not a place for a question. It is a good idea to start a logline with the word "after" or "when" so you have something to guide you in the right direction. Also always use one word to describe the professor.

After (or when) a (enter one-word description here) professor is put in a mental institution, he sets out to (a pro needs to have a goal) prove his delusions believing the truth will set him free.

I hope it helps. Greetings Marjolein.

Dan Guardino

Marjolein. Thanks. That does help.

Marjolein Smit

Hello Shawn, It sounds like a hoot. Here we go..

A pot-smoking feature-extra actor, DUMBASS, accidentally calls his boss's wife and the Mob Filmmaker shows up with goons to pitch his new movie, KILL THE DUMBASS. ...

Start with "when" or "after" to guide you in the right direction. It is normally not a good idea to put a name in a logline. I have left it in for this one because otherwise, the movie title doesn't make sense.

After pothead movie extra Dumbass accidentally talks to the wife of a mobster filmmaker, a new movie is about to start shooting "Kill the Dumbass".

I hope it helps you. Good luck in the contest! Greetings Marjolein

Marjolein Smit

Hello Bill, I will try to crack that nut. Which one Bill? Can you copy and paste it here? Greetings Marjolein

Bill Albert

On 11/9 a nuclear attack across the United States sent the world into chaos. Several weeks later a mysterious woman started to investigate the post-apocalyptic world and finds some very disturbing clues.

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