The Logline: 3 Things You Need To Know
Updated: Jan 11
1. What purpose do they serve?
You want to get in a room to pitch your project? The logline is the pitch before the pitch. It’s the one sentence - emphasis on “ONE” - that perfectly encapsulates what your TV series is about.
If an elevator pitch is 30-60 seconds, your logline should be the “staircase pitch”. A one-liner you can get out in 10 seconds or less that makes Producers and Executives stop and say - “Tell me more!”
A logline is your short, concise, efficient way to hook the reader. So remember - keep it to ONE sentence. It’s “logLINE”. Not loglineS. Not logPARAGRAPH. Not logBOREMETODEATH.
2. How do you write them?
Think of it as a formula:
Protagonist + Goal + Antagonistic Force = a solid logline
Here’s an example:
A hit man (Protagonist) wants to hang up his gun for good to act in the LA theater scene (Goal), but remains indebted to his manipulative mafia bosses (Antagonistic Force).
Let’s take the formula a step further:
Protagonist + Inciting Event + Action + Antagonist + Stakes = a great logline
Here’s an example:
Surviving strangers (Protagonist) of a plane crash (Inciting Event) are forced to work together (Action) on a seemingly deserted island (Antagonistic Force) in order to survive (Stakes).
Now let’s take our BARRY logline and add some flavor with a couple of adjectives:
Instead of “hit man” we can say, “A hopeless Midwestern hit man”.
These two words tell us so much more about the character. So our logline from above becomes:
When a hopeless Midwestern hit man (Protagonist w/ Adjectives) stumbles upon a Los Angeles theater class (Inciting Event) he finds hope and his true purpose in life (Goal), but remains indebted to his manipulative mafia bosses (Antagonistic Force).
For more on logline formulas, check out this video from Studio Binder.
3. Who do you send them to?
Follow the money. These are the folks who are able to get behind good ideas and make things happen by green-lighting projects. Send as many letters (YES- get old school with it) and emails as you can. What happens if you spend the time and don’t get a response or get a “no, thank you”? Great. Now you’re one step closer to getting your “Yes”. Keep working.
These are the folks who have the relationships with the green-lighters. Send them your logline and that you’re looking for rep. If they like it, they’ll write back that phrase we’re all looking to get from our logline - “tell me more”.
What do you do when that happens? Excellent question. Check out our next blog post on Pitch Decks.
Use it to “hook” your audience
Keep it to ONE sentence
Goal: get them to say “tell me more”
Use a formula
Add adjectives to bring the Protag. to life
Write & Re-write
Send to Producers/Executives/Agents/Managers
Be ready with more materials!