Writing a logline for a character-driven drama is tricky, even for the best of a writer. Distilling a 50 pages drama into one sentence with the hope of creating a substantial impact on the reader is a big challenge. But to do justice to your script, a strong logline can tell your audience what your drama is about succinctly.
What Is A Logline?
A logline is a one (sometimes two) sentence summary of a drama, highlighting the crucial elements of your drama – main characters, setup, central plot, antagonist – to hook the audience instantly and get them to read or listen to the drama script further.
Just as an essay assignment’s thesis statement helps readers get the brief of a particular topic, a logline entices the listeners and urges them to read the entire script.
That being said, don’t confuse a logline with a tagline. A logline is a short description used to attract drama producers or agents, whereas a tagline is a provocative statement used to advertise to drama lovers.
Elements Of A Good Logline
While every writer adopts a unique approach to writing a logline, there are four elements a good logline must have:
- Inciting incident
- Protagonist’s goal
- Main conflict
Although it’s not mandatory to follow the exact order, make sure you follow a well-defined structure to state these four components clearly.
Don’t complicate your logline with unnecessary details. When you request an academic editor to “please rate my paper,” they give you constructive advice related to your writing style or word count to improve the overall quality.
Similarly, all screenwriting specialists advise writers to complete the logline in one line. If it’s a complicated drama, write a couple of sentences as long as they do justice to the central plot.
Tips To Write A Compelling Logline
Crafting a perfect tagline is itself an art. It requires time and practice. Nonetheless, keep these in mind while writing a logline:
- Set up the narrative:
A good logline lays out the narrative clearly and concisely without giving away the ending. Your aim is to hook your readers’ attention, so, keep the end off the table.
- Use active language and visuals:
Good logline uses strong, intriguing language and visuals to describe what they can expect from the drama. Avoid clichés or overused adjectives to tell something from the plot.
- Make use of irony:
Perfect drama loglines contain a sense of irony to draw the reader’s attention and give them something unexpected and unconventional.
Steps For Writing a Great Logline
Writing a compelling tagline to boil down your story is your ultimate goal. Hence, consider these steps while writing:
Step 1: Describe the protagonist:
Analyse all your main characters and identify the protagonist. Use strong adjectives to describe them and their characteristics. If your protagonist is a cop with a troubled past, use adjectives like “depressed cop” or “ruthless cop” to build curiosity.
Step 2: Paint a picture of the inciting incident:
An inciting incident gives a push to your story. Since your protagonist is a “depressed cop”, what exactly led him to this? Death of someone? Heartbreak? Summarise the incident with words like “when the love of his died” or “since his mother abandoned him” to grab the reader’s attention.
Step 3: Highlight the protagonist’s goal:
The actions in your drama depend on your protagonist’s goal. Outline the central point and the barriers he has to overcome to avenge his “lover’s death” or “his mother’s abandonment” in just a few words.
Step 4: Write the central conflict:
Highlight the potential obstacles in the way of the protagonist’s goal. Always pick a conflict with the most dangers relevant to the plot.
Whether you are a budding dramatist or a professional screenplay writer, writing the perfect logline can be daunting. Don’t panic if you are not a pro at the task. Stay focused and consider the tips mentioned above to create a decent tagline highlighting the best of your story.
Frank Thomas has a Master’s in film studies and works at a reputed drama school in Australia. He loves teaching and assists students with assignments and helps them overcome subject-related issues via Assignmenthelpca.com. Henry is a big-time movie buff and loves binge-watching movies and short series when not working.