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Are Loglines Important?

by Cameron Cubbison on January 11, 2013

It's Friday night. Your friends may all be gallivanting around the town, but all you want to do is have a quiet night at home with some takeout, your HDTV, and your fuzzy pajama pants. It has been a long week, and all you want is to be entertained, to be transported and experience someone else's life and problems.

You're flipping channels or scanning Netflix or Hulu Plus. So many options, so many genres, it's almost paralyzing. You discover A.L.F. The Animated Series. You love A.L.F! You didn't know there was an animated series too!

You click to find more info about the pilot: "An unlikely ally helps Gordon defend Melmac when the evil Larson Petty returns to invade the planet."

You're sold!

But wait, what's this...Shadowboxer...starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren. Never heard of it. What's it about?

"When Rose, a female assassin, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she decides to carry out one final killing, assisted by her stepson Mikey...who is also her lover." Wait a minute, stop the press...Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. are assassins...who are also stepmother and stepson...who are also lovers? I have to watch this!

Actually, you don't. But as you can see, this is why loglines are so important. They're a preview of your script, a coming attractions in word form. It's an ultra-powerful sentence, and if crafted right, you can hook a reader and force them to read your script.

Loglines have always been ahead of the curve. Before something called Twitter ever existed, they were the proto-Tweets, and in today's byte-sized, scatterbrained collective attention span, they're more important than ever.

Every word counts. You have to express character, premise and genre all in one sentence. You have to tell your reader what kind of ride the script promises. A well-crafted logline is a work of art in itself.

Take the time to get yours right.

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