Q&A: What Do You Think of this Logline?

Q&A: What Do You Think of this Logline?

Verbally pitching your logline to someone on the fly can be a daunting prospect in and of itself, and I always appreciate the writer who gives it a whirl. However, very rarely do I hear a logline that doesn’t immediately invoke one or more of the following reactions: “heard it before” or “too vague” or “can we change those boring adjectives, please?”

You thought writing a screenplay was hard? A logline must introduce the character, the world, the stakes and hook the reader all in one damn sentence.

How the hell do you do that?! Good question.

First, I want to refer you to a master for the deeper dive. Lane Shefter Bishop aka “The Book Whisperer” wrote a little guide on logline craft called Sell Your Story in A Single Sentence: Advice from the Front Lines of Hollywood. Pure gold. In fact, if you want to benefit even more from the wisdom oozing from this producer’s pores, you can check out our free Symposium Town Hall “One-on-One with Lane Shefter Bishop.” Just pour a glass of wine and set your mode to osmosis. It is well-worth your time.

Outside of these resources, my quick and dirty guide that will begin your training in logline design is the simple RULE OF THE THREE Cs.

Those three Cs are:


Always introduce your character in a colorful or memorable way. Please steer away from overused or boring adjectives in your description. If you’ve read it in the IMDb descriptions, don’t use it. Specificity is your friend, in this case. Also, you typically should not use the characters names because a “John” or “Sarah” takes up valuable real-estate and doesn’t tell us anything interesting. Stick with descriptors.


Immediately highlight the unique pickle your character has been thrown into and must try and survive/fix/navigate. These are the story stakes and makes people think, “Oh, what a cool concept!” Don’t skimp on this part because it represents the strength and originality of your concept. I cannot emphasize enough that concept is Queen of the Dragons.


Give your reader a reason to open your script by throwing your character off a cliff and leaving their fate suspended mid-air.

Please never use questions like “Will he/she make it?” or “Will he/she get there in time?” to achieve that cliff’s edge. That is just lazy writing and provokes an eyeroll every time. Besides, a great cliff has already performed inception on the reader and has them scrambling to find out the answers to those questions without you being lame.

To conclude, crafting a great logline takes a LOT of practice, practice, practice. There are no shortcuts or cheats when it comes to building a skill. You just have to keep at it. But you’re a writer, right? You already knew that.

For more logline help, join our "Logline Workshop" quarterly Symposium with Merridith Allen. It's one of our most popular sessions, workshopping loglines in real time.

"Logline Workshop"
Pipeline Artists' "Logline Workshop" Symposium ... save your seat!

*Feature photo by Skylar Kang (Pexels)

Ruth Sabin has a secret identity: children’s book author by day and by night... a screenwriter who loves a gritty adventure. Makes for an eclectic portfolio and a fun career of creative consulting.
More posts by Ruth Sabin.
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