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A Previous E-Mail of The Week 

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This week's question: 

I get all confused about loglines.  Could you please tell me what a good logline should look like?  

Thanks for your help.
Karen from Nebraska


This week's Answer: 

Thanks for your excellent question, Karen.  A well-written log line is a simple sentence (sometimes two, but one is usually best), which says who your main character is and what main conflict he or she is up against. It's best to not give away the ending of your story (especially if you want somebody to read it all the way through!). A good example of log lines can be found in TV Guide or just turn to your cable station that scrolls the programming schedule. The writers of that information only have a little space for each show, so they are forced to cover the story concept (the log line) in only a few words. That's what you want to do. You want to intrigue producers and agents with a log line that comes across almost like a news bulletin, catching their attention, prompting them to "stay tuned."

Here are a few examples of log lines of movies I'm sure you're well acquainted with:
(Notice how subplots and secondary characters are not included in the log lines.)

A Kansas girl who runs away from home is transported by a tornado to a magical land where she must make her way to a wizard while avoiding a wicked witch in order to return home.

After a young woman on the run for stealing money is murdered at an isolated hotel by the proprietor, her sister and boyfriend search for her.

A sheriff teams up with an oceanographer and a shark hunter to destroy a monstrous shark that is attacking people off the coast of his beach town.

Hope that helps. Feel free to contact me again if you need a further explanation about this or any screenplay question. Oh, just in case:
Wizard of Oz, Psycho, and Jaws. I'm sure you already knew. 

Keep writing. 
DcH


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