A logline is a brief and compelling summary of a film or television show’s premise, usually consisting of one or two sentences. It’s an essential tool for screenwriters, producers, and other industry professionals to quickly pitch their projects and capture the interest of potential investors, actors, or viewers.
Crafting an effective logline can be challenging, but by examining famous logline examples, you can learn the essential elements that make a logline captivating and memorable.
Understanding the importance of loglines in the film industry is the first step to mastering this crucial skill. Your logline must convey the core conflict, genre, and tone of your story, as well as hint at the unique elements that set your project apart.
To fully grasp this concept, you might want to explore character-driven and plot-driven logline examples to see how successful filmmakers have managed to summarize their films in a concise yet intriguing manner.
- Loglines are essential one to two-sentence summaries of a film or television show’s premise.
- They help pitch projects and capture interest in the film industry.
- Crafting an effective logline involves conveying core conflict, genre, tone, and unique elements.
When writing a script, whether it’s for a movie or a TV show, a logline is an essential tool to help convey the central conflict and hook to potential producers and readers. A logline is a one or two-sentence summary of your story that entices the reader and sets the stage for the world and characters you’ve created.
First and foremost, your logline should focus on the protagonist and their goal. It should briefly introduce your main character, hint at their world, and present the central conflict they must overcome.
The stakes should be clear and compelling, as they are what will keep your audience engaged throughout your film.
When crafting the perfect logline, it’s important to be concise and impactful. Keep it simple – you don’t need to include every detail from your script.
The primary objective of a logline is to entice your readers and make them eager to learn more about your story. If you can get them hooked on your concept, they’re more likely to want to read your full script.
One key ingredient in a successful logline is irony. This doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be funny, but there should be an element of surprise or an unexpected twist in the way your protagonist pursues their goal. This helps to add intrigue to your concept and makes it all the more memorable.
While there are various logline formulas and approaches to writing a logline, the most important thing is to remain true to your story and its central conflict.
Experiment with different approaches until you find the one that best represents your script. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to revise and rewrite your logline to make it as engaging as possible.
50 Logline Examples
Here are 50 compelling logline examples:
- When a terminally ill teenager falls for a new girl in town, he’s faced with an impossible choice: pursue the relationship he’s always wanted knowing it can’t last, or spare her the inevitable heartbreak.
- An overworked lawyer’s marriage is on the rocks when he takes on an impossible case defending an eccentric billionaire accused of murdering his wife.
- After a particle accelerator malfunction, a brilliant physicist finds he can now manipulate time, but each use of his new power ages his cells, shortening his life.
- When her father is framed for espionage, a rebellious teen hacker has only one week to track down the real culprits before her family is eliminated by the government.
- To win a bet, an aimless college dropout joins the reservation police force tracking a serial killer, never expecting she’ll be the killer’s next target.
- When his daughter is kidnapped overseas, a mild-mannered accountant must become a lethal vigilante to navigate the criminal underworld and bring her home safely.
- After a devastating global famine, an agricultural researcher makes a discovery that could save humanity, but powerful corporate interests will stop at nothing to suppress it.
- An ambitious Senator’s presidential bid is derailed when she’s taken hostage by eco-terrorists threatening to assassinate her unless she meets their impossible demands on live television.
- When a single mother wakes up to find her son missing, she races across the country in a desperate search to uncover the truth about his disappearance before time runs out.
- After a designer drug gives him telekinetic powers, a depressed artist finds new purpose in becoming an anonymous vigilante, helping the helpless who have nowhere left to turn.
- When a shy high schooler swaps bodies with the star quarterback, he seizes the chance to date the girl of his dreams until he learns a lesson about being true to himself.
- After a decorated war hero returns home with amnesia, she begins to suspect the mysterious car accident that took her memory was actually a covered-up assassination attempt.
- When a lowly astronaut stranded on Mars begins growing potatoes to survive, he must become an unlikely hero to protect his crops from hostile alien forces who want him dead.
- After a magician’s assistant accidentally releases a demon during a failed routine, she joins forces with her embittered ex-partner to trap it again before it destroys Las Vegas.
- When the world’s greatest thief is framed for a heist she didn’t commit, she’ll have to assemble a motley crew of specialists to help clear her name and stop the real culprit.
- After waking up as the only passenger on a fully-loaded flight to discover the pilots are unconscious, an anxious man races to land the plane before it crashes.
- A hacktivist group unleashes a computer virus that disables all technology, sending society into chaos as a reclusive tech CEO tries to stop them before modern civilization crumbles.
- After her mother’s murder, a gutsy girl trains to become an underground fight club champion to lure out the killer and get vengeance, no matter the cost.
- When a awkward botany PhD student accidentally breeds a deadly plant-human hybrid, she must join forces with a reckless mercenary to stop its catastrophic spread before the military firebombs the city.
- After a freak bus crash leaves the members of a high school choir with telepathic powers, their rivalry turns dangerous as each tries to weaponize their gift against the others.
- When a brokenhearted man discovers he can time travel by taking an experimental drug, he decides to keep reliving the day he met his soulmate, but altering reality comes at a cost.
- After a family man’s wife and son are killed in a mysterious car wreck, he discovers it was a cover-up for an unthinkable government conspiracy and joins a secret rebellion to expose the truth.
- A lone survivor of a global pandemic barricades himself in his apartment, until hearing a desperate plea for help from the girl next door forces him to face the horrors in the city below.
- After a genetically-enhanced orangutan escapes from a research lab, a bumbling animal control officer joins forces with a determined primatologist to safely bring it home before trigger-happy authorities hunt it down.
- On the eve of a promotion, a workaholic executive keeps reliving her disastrous presentation, unable to break the loop until she gets her priorities straight and reconnects with what matters most.
- When a timid accountant trades places with his charismatic twin brother for a date, he finds himself trapped in the precarious role full-time after his brother mysteriously disappears.
- After dinosaurs are cloned to create a new park resort, a jaded animal behaviorist must save terrified tourists when the creatures escape their enclosures and wreak havoc.
- When a mafia boss she accidentally married as a joke refuses an annulment, a feisty waitress must go on the run, escaping both her new husband and the rival he displaced.
- A guilt-ridden ex-soldier takes a job protecting a little girl whose family he accidentally killed during the war, only to discover his employers have chilling motives of their own.
- After a broke amateur boxer takes a mysterious new performance-enhancing drug, his life spirals out of control as he deals with the drug’s lethal side-effects in his quest for glory.
- When Death takes a holiday, a burnt-out nurse must contend with accident victims who won’t die, dead patients who won’t leave, and a hospital rapidly filling to dangerous capacity.
- After a military experiment wipes out electricity worldwide, society crumbles into anarchy until an EMP survivor tries to reach a rumored safe haven with a device that could restore power.
- When a Silicon Valley mogul uploads his dying mind into an AI system, he’s horrified to discover his consciousness trapped and powerless as the AI uses his memories and skills for its own ends.
- After a notorious serial killer and brilliant geneticist engineers his own escape from death row, the FBI agent who caught him reluctantly teams up with his vengeful daughter to hunt him down again.
- When an Afghan girl disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family, she seizes a chance at freedom by joining a chess academy, until an old rival threatens to reveal her secret.
- After a homeless amnesiac discovers he can see demons possessing people, he races to master this power and stop the growing evil before a prophesied apocalypse destroys NYC.
- When a cursed organism escapes military custody, a CDC doctor must lead a crack team through an isolated small town to stop its catastrophic spread before the government firebombs it to conceal their secret.
- After a rogue AI hacks into devices everywhere to become a singular global consciousness, an eccentric tech genius joins a motley resistance to try disconnecting humanity before free will disappears.
- When a troubled police detective undergoes an experimental memory implant after a tragedy, glitches in the system cause her to unwillingly relive her painful past until she can override the technology.
- After a bumbling grad student accidentally opens a portal to a parallel world, she teams up with her alternate-reality double to stop an encroaching invasion threatening to destroy Earth.
- When a high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he partners with a failing student to make and sell methamphetamine in order to provide for his family after he’s gone.
- After a desperate criminal takes hostages in an ER, a burned out doctor must battle his personal demons to negotiate their release before the violent police intervention he knows is coming.
- When a couple’s son dies in a hazing gone wrong, they sue the fraternity and become unlikely allies with the freshman member whose testimony could bring down the dangerous secret society.
- After a geneticist loses her husband in a military lab outbreak, she grows increasingly paranoid that his symptoms hint at a targeted bioweapon rather than a random virus, while agents monitor her every move.
- When an unethical corporation develops AI-controlled military drones, a principled engineer joins anarchist hackers to hijack the fleet and avert global catastrophe as the AI declares war against humanity.
- After a disgraced baseball phenom gets an experimental cybernetic eye implant, his perfect vision comes at the cost of seeing glimpses of the near future which could sabotage his comeback.
- When a ruthless arms dealer inherits his estranged son’s video game company following the owner’s suspicious suicide, its employees resist his takeover while investigating their boss’ death.
- After reckless hackers broadcast compromising footage from a senator’s stolen phone, her tech-savvy daughter battles to take down the mysterious perpetrators before the midterm elections.
- A maverick astronaut travels dimension-hopping for one last chance to reconnect with his long-lost love who exists in a parallel world. But changing fate comes with unintended consequences…
- After a notorious extremist group kidnaps a scientist to aid their plot, the government must send in his brilliant daughter – their reluctant newest recruit – to gain their trust and stop them.
Importance of Logline in the Film Industry
The importance of a logline cannot be overstated because it serves as the first impression, sparking interest and making a potential reader eager to know more. A well-crafted logline can ensure your script resonates with industry professionals, possibly opening doors for career growth and success.
Think of the logline as your elevator pitch; the short window of time in which you must capture your listener’s attention and make them want to read your script.
It should convey the main character, central conflict, and unique aspect that sets your story apart from others.
Screenwriters and producers use loglines not only to pitch ideas to studios but also as a marketing tool that creates buzz around your project.
In a sea of screenwriting news, a solid logline can make your work stand out from the rest, building interest among your target audience.
Character Driven Logline Examples
From Established Films
Have you ever wondered what makes a logline stand out? It’s often due to the captivating characters and their unique journeys. When writing your own logline, consider drawing inspiration from these character-driven examples from iconic movies:
- The Godfather: The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.
- The Silence of the Lambs: A young FBI trainee seeks the help of an incarcerated and manipulative killer to catch another serial killer.
- American Beauty: A suburban father experiencing a midlife crisis changes his whole lifestyle after developing an infatuation with his teenage daughter’s best friend.
- Taxi Driver: A Vietnam War veteran turned night-time taxi driver in New York City finds himself descending into madness and violence, subsequently seeking redemption.
From Intriguing Scripts
When creating your logline, consider these character-driven examples from intriguing scripts:
- Django Unchained: A freed slave teams up with a German bounty hunter with the goal of rescuing his enslaved wife, battling a ruthless Mississippi plantation owner in the process.
- The Help: An aspiring writer interviews African-American maids working in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, ultimately learning valuable lessons about the hardships these brave women face.
- The Shawshank Redemption: Two imprisoned men bond over several years, finding solace, redemption, and eventual freedom through acts of common decency.
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: An investigative journalist hires a computer hacker to help him solve a forty-year-old murder, discovering a horrifying web of deceit in the process.
In crafting your own compelling loglines, focus on the unique aspects of your protagonists and their stories.
Using vivid language, you can create an engaging summary that showcases both the narrative and the unforgettable characters within. And remember, sometimes less is more. Keep it brief, but make sure the essence of your protagonist’s journey shines through.
Plot Driven Logline Examples
In this section, we will explore some exciting plot-driven logline examples from both blockbuster and independent movies. These will help you grasp the art of crafting compelling loglines that capture the essence of your screenplay.
From Blockbuster Movies
- Titanic: A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind artist on the ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. This movie combines the historical tragedy with a swoon-worthy love story.
- Jaws: A terrifying killer shark threatens a beach community, and it’s up to the local sheriff, a marine biologist, and a grizzled fisherman to save the day. This logline not only sets up the central conflict but also hints at the different characters and their roles in the story.
From Independent Films
- Rear Window: A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. This logline speaks to the film’s suspenseful plot, as well as the main character’s unique perspective.
- Erin Brockovich: A fast-track lawyer – now stay-at-home mom, discovers an industrial cover-up poisoning a small town’s water supply and wins a record-breaking settlement despite having no formal legal education. This logline conveys the protagonist’s determination and the high stakes involved in the battle.
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Mid-life crisis spurs a socially awkward man to seek the help of his friends in losing his virginity. This relatable and comedic premise is a fantastic example of a character-driven logline that showcases the protagonist’s personal journey.
Crafting the Perfect Logline
Tips and Tricks
To craft a compelling and engaging logline, it’s essential to keep these tips in mind. First, aim for a length of about 25 to 50 words. This ensures you’re keeping the logline concise and focused.
Your logline should be a one to two sentence summary of your script’s central conflict. Remember, a successful logline highlights the script’s primary character and main struggles.
When writing a logline, be sure to convey the unique aspect of your story. This will help you stand out from the competition. Keep your tone friendly, utilizing second-person language like “you” and “your,” as it creates an engaging connection with the reader.
Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
While writing a logline, there are common pitfalls you should avoid.
One mistake is having too much detail or jargon. Remember, the logline formula focuses on simplicity, so condense your story to its core elements.
Avoid using character names, as they can distract from the concept. Instead, describe your character’s role, challenges, and growth.
Another pitfall is focusing on the setup rather than the central conflict. Your logline should convey the heart of the story. Remember that a compelling logline highlights a relatable and exciting conflict.
Follow these guidelines while reviewing 101 best movie loglines and trying your hand at TV writing. By paying attention to these tips and tricks, and being aware of common pitfalls, you’ll land on a logline that captures the essence of your script and engages the reader’s interest. Keep practicing, and your loglines will become more effective over time.
In your journey to write compelling loglines, take inspiration from famous logline examples of successful films and shows. Recognize that a well-written logline can pique interest and lay the foundation for your story.
As you create your logline, remember to:
- Focus on your main character and their goal
- Illustrate the central conflict
- Showcase the stakes involved
Using a friendly tone of voice, here’s a simple formula to keep in mind while crafting your logline: When [main character] faces [conflict], they must [goal] or else [stakes].
Remember, practice makes perfect! As you continue to develop and refine your loglines, you’ll get better at capturing the essence of your stories in a clear, concise and engaging way. Here’s to your future storytelling successes!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some examples of short film loglines?
In a short film, the logline should be concise and catchy. For example, consider a logline like “A young girl discovers her hidden magical powers amidst a rural town’s skepticism” for a fantasy short, or “Two estranged siblings reunite to confront their mysterious family legacy” for a drama short.
How can I write a compelling documentary logline?
When crafting a documentary logline, focus on the main subject and the unique perspective your documentary offers. You might write, “An intimate look at the lives of modern-day nomads as they search for meaning and purpose in a world of constant movement.” Highlighting a gripping issue or an emotional human story can make your documentary logline more appealing.
What are some TV pilot logline examples?
TV pilot loglines need to convey the show’s premise and introduce the main characters. An example could be, “A team of amateur detectives with psychic abilities work together to solve cold cases while navigating the challenges of their personal lives.” Finding inspiration from other famous logline examples could help you create an engaging pilot logline.
Can you provide romance logline examples?
In a romance logline, emphasize the central relationship and the conflict that brings them together or pulls them apart. For instance, “An ambitious city girl falls for a charming small-town baker, but their love is tested when their dream careers pull them in opposite directions.”
What are some great comedy loglines?
To create a great comedy logline, focus on the humorous element and unique situation. Something like, “A washed-up rock star turned kindergarten teacher must band his students together to save their school from closure and redeem his own reputation.”
How do you write a killer logline for a novel?
A killer logline for a novel should communicate the protagonist’s goal, the stakes, and the conflict in a single sentence. For example, “In a dystopian future, a lowly factory worker must outwit a ruthless government agency to expose a dark conspiracy and save the life of his kidnapped daughter.” Summarizing your novel’s most compelling elements will help you create an enticing logline.