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Captain's log

Loglines matter. A bad logline will get you nowhere. A good logline can help. A top logline can set you apart.

I've had to write hundreds of loglines for film screenplays that I've covered so that the person or people - usually film financiers - can get a handle on the story of the script they've hired me to assess.

Here's a logline for a TV pilot spec that I came across called INKUBUS by Grai Cash (thank me for the shout out later, Grai). Here's Grai's logline:

'Forced to carry out contract killings for an ancient Mayan cult, a narcoleptic tattoo artist picks up grizzly clues, slowly fleshing out the explanation of his daughter’s disappearance.'

Here's my reiteration of it.

'A narcoleptic tattoo artist finds his daughter at last when forced to kill for an ancient Mayan cult.'

Firstly, you'll note how my version strips away excess verbiage to present the core idea more efficiently. I also imply a journey through problems with 'finds his daughter at last'. I think my version may be punchier and more effective because it cuts to the chase and doesn't waste the reader's time. What do you think?

NB: a logline is separate to a concept line. I also provide pitches. Here are examples of all three for the same project - in this case a recent screenplay commission:


War tears a young couple apart and finally throws them back together, utterly transformed.


Love is war’s worst enemy.


Death can’t stop young Peter and Minnie finding each other again after all that World War 2, betrayal, murder and revenge can throw at them. Neither can love.

Notice the subtle difference between a screenplay premise, pitch, and logline. The premise is much more general than the logline, which lifts out more specifics of the story. The pitch is more like an advertising slogan.

Experiment with writing a premise line, and pitch line and a logline for your screenplay. It can be a useful way of exploring your story and its potential.

Hire me to assess and rewrite your screenplay or TV script loglines, concept lines, synopses, outlines, treatments, or the full scripts themselves.

I'll make them all work better. This will help you get noticed as a screenwriter. It can also help you to move the projects towards packaging and production.

Happy screenwriting.

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