How to distill a plot into a logline?

Asked by: Jay Kushmaul

A logline must be:

  1. one to at most three sentences long.
  2. an optimum lies around 25 words.
  3. written in the present tense.
  4. written from the perspective of the protagonist.
  5. identify the genre and setting.
  6. if possible give a timeframe (“[protagonist] has 48 hours to [goal] before [stakes]”) to instill a sense of urgency.

What are the 4 elements of a logline?

A logline is a one-sentence summary or description of a movie. Loglines distill the important elements of your screenplay—main character, setup, central conflict, antagonist—into a clear, concise teaser.

How do you construct a logline?

The Simple Guide to Writing a Logline

  1. Share the Core Concept, Not the Story.
  2. Start with a General Logline Structure.
  3. Stay Within 25-50 Words.
  4. Avoid Character Names.
  5. Search for Irony in Your Concepts.
  6. Write Multiple Options with Different Phrasing.
  7. Write the Logline Before the Script.
  8. Read Loglines on IMDb.

How is a logline different from a plot summary?

In other words, a logline is designed for your audience; the plotline is designed for you, the writer. Plot, not Story. The goal of the plotline is to articulate your plot in a clear and concise manner so that you, the writer, can determine whether or not the structure of your script is consistent and compelling.

How do you write a killer logline?

A killer logline is a must have.
First, write down:

  1. SETTING: When and where your story takes place.
  2. PROTAGONIST: Who your main character (hero or heroine) is.
  3. PROBLEM: The issue or event that causes your Protagonist to take action.
  4. ANTAGONIST: Who or what tries to stop your Protagonist.

Can a logline be a question?

It comes down to this: if you’re asking a question in the logline that’s supposedly answered by the plot in the accompanying screenplay, then why bother with the question in the logline; why not just describe what happens in the screenplay? That’s the good stuff.

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What does int mean in a script?

Interior or Exterior

In screenplay formatting this is: INT. HOUSE – DAY. The abbreviation INT. or EXT. is used specifying Interior or Exterior, followed by the SET, in this example: House, and then the Time of Day, usually specified with DAY or NIGHT.

What is an example of a logline?

Examples of Effective Loglines

“The Godfather”: “The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.” “Reservoir Dogs”: “After a simple jewelry heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.”

How do you convert a story into a script?

How to Turn Your Book Into a Screenplay

  1. Read screenwriting books. …
  2. Invest in industry software. …
  3. Read books that have been adapted into screenplays. …
  4. Watch film adaptations. …
  5. Study movie structure. …
  6. Outline existing films. …
  7. Analyze which of your original stories would make a good film.

How long should a movie logline?

one to two sentence

A logline, or log line, is a brief (one to two sentence) summary of a movie, tv show, etc. that hooks the reader in and describes the central conflict of the story. If someone asks you what your screenplay is about, respond with a logline.

What is a logline for a novel?

A logline is a one-sentence summary of your script that consists of three major elements: the character, the character’s goal and the antagonistic force.

How do you write a romance novel logline?

7 Tips to Creating a Logline

  1. Know your story. …
  2. Your logline will be one or two sentences about the protagonist, the goal, and the conflict.
  3. The protagonist. …
  4. The goal. …
  5. The conflict/antagonist. …
  6. The above is the minimum. …
  7. Start writing a succinct summary of every movie you watch.
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What is it called when a character speaks in a movie screenplay?

‘When a character states exactly what he wants it’s called on-the-nose dialogue. The character is speaking the subtext; there is no hidden meaning behind the words, no secret want, because everything is spelled out.

What does Sotto mean in a script?

softly spoken

Phrases like “beat” (a short pause), “re:” (“regarding”) and “sotto” (softly spoken) are particular culprits. But all actor directions should be used sparingly in film dialogue format.

What does take Vo mean?

means “voice over” — a voice originates from outside the scene location. Here are common situations where you would use this notation: — A voice originates from outside the scene location through a phone or walkie-talkie or radio or some other device.

What does OC mean in a script?

O.C. (Off Camera)

O.C., or off camera, is used in exactly the same way that O.S. is used in the first method I outlined above. The character speaking is physically at the location, but we (the audience) don’t see them in the particular shot used at the time.

What does POV mean in a script?

In creative writing, point of view is the eye through which you tell a story. There are three main types of POV, but there’s no one best POV that every single bestseller uses. Take a look at the strengths of each POV and decide which one will work best for your own story.

What is SFX in a script?

VFX (visual effects) and SFX (sound effects) should be written in your script in all caps. And that means any special sound (FOOTSTEPS, BANG, FLASH, etc.). These should be written in the Action text.

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What is O.S. and Vo?

V.O. (voice over) and O.S. (off-screen) are similar terms, but they have slightly different applications. Both are used to indicate that dialogue is spoken by someone not currently seen on the screen; the difference isn’t where the speaker is not, but where the speaker is.

What does ext stand for on your storyboard?

“EXT” stands for “Exterior.” To create a Scene Heading in Slugline, just begin a new line with one of the common Scene Heading prefixes: INT. EXT. INT./EXT. “INT/EXT” is often used for scenes in vehicles.

How do you say off camera in a screenplay?

extension for the person you cannot see. (O.S.) is to be used for writing a film screenplay, which is different than (O.C.) When writing a movie, never use (O.C.) (O.C.) O.C. stands for “Off Camera,” which is different than Off Screen.

What does i e mean in a script?

I/E is simply a shorthand way of writing “INT./EXT.” in a scene heading, when the action will be taking place both inside and outside of a given location, like a parked car or a garden shed.

What does IG stand for?


IG stands for the social media platform Instagram. It also sometimes short for I guess.

What are slug lines?


A slug line is a line within a screenplay written in all uppercase letters to draw attention to specific script information. Sluglines are their own line in a script and often break up the length of a scene while also establishing the scenes pacing.