How to Write A Killer Logline That Sells

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Your logline is so important to the success of your film. Yesterday I talked about the first ten pages being the foundation of your script, but your logline is like the land you plant your flag on.

Without a solid logline, your entire concept could be flawed… and what’s better, with a well-crafted logline, writing your script is going to be so much easier!

Take the logline from Minority Report (This may not be the exact one, this is my interpretation):

After being wrongly accused of murder, a drug-addicted detective must uncover a conspiracy surrounding the technology before he is arrested for a crime he would never commit.

Here’s another, from one of my produced films, Nuns with Guns:

After being recruited by an agency within the church, three nuns who are about to give up on God must masquerade as prostitutes to bring down a sex trafficking organization before a kidnapped teenager is killed.

Here’s the trick, and I know you don’t like formulas… we’re artists, not mechanics, but this formula is a great starting point to improve your logline.

After [inciting incident], a [flawed hero] must [objective] before [stakes]

Inciting Incident (otherwise known as the catalyst): The protagonist is wrongly accused of murder.

Flawed Hero: A drug-addicted detective

Objective: Uncover a conspiracy surrounding the technology

Stakes: He is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.

If you’re setting is a major plot point, you can include it at the beginning like this:

In a future where criminals are arrested before they commit a crime, a drug-addicted detective must uncover a conspiracy surrounding the technology before he is arrested for a murder he would never commit.

Did you catch what I did there? I broke the formula, but only after I used it to get to my starting point.

So, how strong is your logline? Could it be improved with this method?