The 6 most common logline weaknesses

by on January 11, 2011

in Film analysis, Screenwriting tips

40 year old virgin movie poster Steve Carell

In an earlier post I gave tips on how to write a logline but even people who’ve read that article have been sending me loglines that aren’t as strong as they should be. So here is a companion piece to help sharpen your understanding of one of the screenwriter’s most powerful tools.

I love the logline. Specifically, I love the logline that’s just a single sentence of no more than 27 words. I love it because it helps you identify the dramatic conflict at the core of your story and it helps you test whether your concept is sufficiently simple and compelling to attract a cinematic audience. But there are good loglines and there are ordinary loglines. Here are the 6 most common mistakes I see – and how to avoid them.

Most common logline weakness #6: Too complex

Take a look at this logline I pulled from this week’s TV guide for the Keira Knightley flop, Domino:

While being profiled by a reality TV crew, a teenage-model-turned-bounty hunter and her companions get in over their heads tracking down those responsible for an armoured car robbery.

That’s a single sentence and remarkably it’s only 28 words. But is it simple? Reality TV crew? Model turned bounty hunter? Armoured car robbery? Of course, if you’d questioned the writer, they would have said, “But this really happened!”, because it did. But if I’d been pitched this, I would have responded with the immortal words of Sydney Pollack in Tootsie, “Who gives a shit?”. It’s too complex and, what’s more, none of the elements complement one another.

By contrast, take a look at Inception. The plot of this Christopher Nolan blockbuster is, depending on your point of view, either breathtakingly or mind-numbingly complex, but the concept is simple. Here’s my take on the logline for Inception:

To regain his estranged children, a guilt-ridden dream thief risks his life to overcome heavily armed cerebral defences and plant an idea in a business mogul’s mind.

Plant an idea in someone’s mind? If you haven’t seen the film, you’ll have no idea how he might do that but it’s an intriguing quest, yes?

Your plots can be complex but your logline must clearly and simply express the big idea that’s central to your story.

Most common logline weakness #5: No external quest

A lot of loglines I see describe the character’s inner journey but contain no external quest. Here’s an example I’ve made up to illustrate the point:

A political crisis forces a cynical, womanising US President to choose between career and family.

There’s a transformation here. He’s going to move from being focussed on his ambition to caring about his wife and children. Great. But what’s the quest? A political crisis? Not specific enough. What does the guy have to DO that’s going to trigger this epiphany? This logline is all inner journey and not enough outer conflict.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the inner journey. I love it because it’s the inner journey, the transformation of the protagonist, that ultimately moves us – not the getting of the McGuffin.

But audiences generally don’t decide to go see a film because of the inner journey.

“Hey, Joe. We gotta go see The Hangover.”
“Why? What’s it about?”
“It’s about a bunch of guys whose lives are changed by a weekend in Vegas. Totally freakin’ transformed. You with me?”
“… No, I think I’m gonna go shoot me an elk. With my man friends.”

Yes, The Hangover does transform its characters and it’s a very important part of why the movie works but that’s not why people went to see it. Why did they go see it?

After a wild Vegas Buck’s Party, a dysfunctional bunch of guys wakes with no memory of last night, a tiger in the bathroom – and no groom.

Audiences flocked to see a bunch of hung-over guys try to find Doug – and maybe to find out who was the rightful owner of that feline. They didn’t go for the inner journey. They went for the external journey.

In the logline, the inner journey is generally much less important. I like to see the hint of it. Which is why I suggest that you include the hero’s flaw. But if your logline doesn’t indicate a strong and enticing external quest for the hero, and you’re relying largely on the internal journey, you’re probably in trouble. Why? Because in many ways the inner journey is always the same.

The inner journey typically moves the hero from striving for achievement to seeking fulfilment. From thinking about the self to thinking about others. More generally, I would say that the inner journey is about transforming the hero from a child into an adult – which is why in many ways every good film is a coming-of-age story.

That’s why my illustrative logline is so unconvincing. No-one is going to go to the movies to see a politician choosing family over career. They can see that on the evening news. I expect your screenplay to contain an inner journey, but unless you can tell me something about that crisis that makes me sit up and take notice, I too might go and shoot me an elk rather than go to this particular movie.

Most common logline weakness #4: Not enough conflict

Let’s take that last logline and get more specific about the crisis:

As he strives for a second term, a cynical womanising US president must choose between his career and his family.

OK, so the quest is now more specific. He’s trying to be re-elected. Great. But why is that going to be difficult? True, his womanising is a potential obstacle in a Presidential race – just ask John Edwards – but as the incumbent, he’s got a huge advantage over any challenger. Why is this going to be so hard?

This is a very typical weakness in loglines. There’s an external journey but it’s not clear to me why it’s going to be difficult for the hero to achieve their goal. And, that’s not going to work. Because drama is conflict.

Life is tough – we know that from our own struggles. So we’re not going to shell out our hard-earned to go see someone do something that is less challenging than what we do on a daily basis.

Look at the quest described in your logline? Does it sound difficult enough? Does the goal seem impossible to attain? Are the forces of antagonism sufficiently intimidating? If not, beef up that conflict either by diminishing the capacities of the protagonist or increasing the power of the antagonist.

Most common logline weakness #3: Not original enough

Let’s take that last logline and beef up the conflict:

When aliens invade Earth, a cynical womanising US president must choose between his career and his family.

OK, so the quest is now more difficult because those aliens, typically, are tough little varmints. But why won’t we flock to see it? Because there’s no novelty factor.

Since, as I’ve pointed out, there’s not a lot of variation in the inner journey, what audiences are looking for is a fresh skin on that hero’s transformation. They want to see someone do something they haven’t seen done before.

The inner journey of Dead Poets Society is exactly the same as The King’s Speech. It’s about a character finding the courage they need to give voice to their essence. Both Todd (Ethan Hawke) and King George VI (Colin Firth) are metaphorically mute at the beginning but overcome their fears to gain self-respect and inspire others. But we go to see The King’s Speech because it has a fresh take on this timeless transformation.

As he prepares to tell Britain it’s at war with Germany, King George VI engages an impertinent Australian speech therapist to try to overcome a crippling stammer.

The inner journey is implicit. The stammer is just the most obvious manifestation of his lack of self-belief. So the logline can focus on the specifics of its totally original external quest. It’s made all the more intriguing because it’s true. This is a GREAT concept.

Take a look at your logline. Is it like anything else that’s already been made? You might say that your feature animation concept about a bunch of gentrified zoo animals that gets stranded on the Maldives is TOTALLY different to the film about the gentrified zoo animals that get stranded on Madagascar. But will Hollywood’s script readers read past the logline to discern the nuanced distinctions?

If it’s not original, try to tweak your idea so that it is or ditch it.

Most common logline weakness #2: Stakes not high enough

To illustrate this point, I’m going to look at two different loglines for the film, Easy A.

Firstly, here is the official logline pulled from IMDb:

A clean-cut high school student relies on the school’s rumour mill to advance her social and financial standing.

OK, now I would say there were stakes here. At high school, what could be more important than your social standing. They are massive stakes and it’s what drives Tina Fey’s film, Mean Girls. However, that’s not an accurate description of the Easy A you’ll see on the screen.

Here is my logline for the Easy A I saw:

After she pretends to sleep with a gay friend to enhance his social standing, a confident, attractive, sharp-witted teenage girl is overwhelmed by nerds seeking to lift their daggy profiles.

Her gay friend wants to raise his social standing. He’s got stakes. The nerds want to raise their social standing. They’ve got stakes. But what’s in it for Olive? Emma Stone is fabulous in this role but the film dies in Act 2 because Olive has no compelling reason to do any of this. There are no stakes. And if there are no stakes, why should we care?

Why must your protagonist undertake their quest? What is their motivation? We don’t have to agree with their motivation – they could be doing it for wholly selfish reasons. But we need to sense the stakes or we’ll question whether the film will have sufficient narrative drive to maintain our interest.

Most common logline weakness #1: No anticipation

Sometimes your logline can tick all the boxes:

  • Engaging protagonist
  • Clear external quest
  • Strong forces of antagonism
  • Flaw hinting at hero’s transformation
  • Original idea

But it still might not mean you’re sitting on a massive cinematic property. Why? Because your logline might not get our juices flowing.

A great logline, in just 27 magical words, conjures the film in our heads. We can see it. We imagine the dramatic or comedic possibilities and we go, oh, yeah, I’ve never seen that before. I’ve GOT to go see that.

Think about 40 Year Old Virgin. Hell, they’ve got me with the title. Already I have two questions I want answered:
1. Why is he still a virgin?
2. How is finally going to get laid?

The logline might have read something like this:

After his wham-bam workmates learn he’s never had sex, a shy nerd has to suffer their crude tutelage as the girl of his dreams sails away.

We’re going to see his buddies try to teach him how to get on with “the ladies”– that’s where the comedy’s going to be. The “Fun and Games”, as Blake Snyder puts it. That’s what we’re anticipating. But we also know that ultimately he’s going to have to find the courage to ignore their “advice” and win his one true love. High concept married to inner journey. Winner.

But you don’t have to be at the blockbuster end of the concept spectrum to create a sense of anticipation. Here’s the logline for Brokeback Mountain.

When a taciturn cowboy falls for a fellow married cowboy in 60s Midwest America, he’ll have to come out or risk losing the love of his life.

Brokeback wouldn’t be considered a high concept film. But when you read that logline you can see the film. Gay cowboy? In the 60s? In the American west? You can feel the dramatic tension. You can sense the silences heavy with unexpressed emotion. And, with a title like Brokeback Mountain, you can picture the spectacular backdrop. It’s a great idea because it makes you ache with anticipation.

Of course, sometimes a concept creates a sense of anticipation that the film doesn’t fully deliver on – I’d put Yes Man in this category – but that’s not the fault of the idea. That’s down to execution.

Does your logline create a sense of anticipation? When you tell people your idea, do they get a smile on their face even before you’ve finished pitching it? That’s always a good sign. If they go, “That’s … interesting”, chances are it isn’t.

Of course, it’s true, you don’t need to have a big idea to create a successful film. Pulp Fiction wouldn’t have read well in a logline – multi-strand narratives rarely do – but it was huge. Star Wars, at a concept level, was unremarkable, but it did reasonably well too I believe. And take a look at this logline:

After being dumped by his girlfriend, an abrasive nerd creates a massive website that triggers 2 lawsuits – including one by his one true friend in the world.

Would you have gone to see The Social Network based on the logline? No, probably not.

So concept isn’t everything and the logline isn’t an infallible indicator of a movie’s merit. But you’re competing with hundreds of thousands of other screenwriters who are trying to get their films into production. And that’s before you get to fight the real battle of putting bums on cinema seats. I can assure you that if you’re able to not only communicate your concept but create a genuine sense of anticipation in a single sentence of just 27 words, you are WAY ahead of the pack.

If your logline either isn’t sufficiently dramatic or it doesn’t have that wow factor, you’re left with a difficult call. Do you persist, confident that you can still write a great screenplay despite an uninspiring logline, or do you set the idea aside and try to find a concept that is unarguably compelling?

That’s a call only you can make. But I hope this post has helped ensure that you write a logline that realises the full potential of your idea and gives your screenplay the best possible chance of going into production.

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Related articles:
How to write a logline
How to write better loglines
Why the Social Network shouldn’t work (and why it does)
Why Inception didn’t do it for me
Easy A gets A+ for character but C- for story

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeremy Dylan January 11, 2011 at 10:21 am

How about –

‘After his girlfriend dumps him, an abrasive nerd ignites an internet phenomenon that brings him immense power and status, but threatens to destroy his only true friendship.’

Allen Palmer January 11, 2011 at 10:31 am

Yeah, Jeremy, it’s probably a better logline but if that came across my desk I wouldn’t jump up and say, “I’ve got it!!! I’ve got an Oscar-winning concept”. It’s an ordinary concept written by an extraordinary writer. I wonder whether anyone other than Aaron Sorkin could have made that fly. I doubt it.

Jeremy Dylan January 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

One of my favourite things about THE SOCIAL NETWORK is a poster I saw on a bus shelter a few months ago for, featuring:
David Fincher


Aaron Sorkin

Those credits were equal size of typeface and sitting next to each other. I don’t remember when I last saw a writer credited on a poster – by name, not just as a reference to a previous film – who wasn’t also directing. He’s that rarest of all Hollywood creatures – a writer with name value.


Jeremy Dylan January 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

There’s little chance I would’ve seen this film without Sorkin’s involvement. I guess that speaks to the weakness of the logline. It’s also got tagged with being ‘the Facebook movie’, which is a little unfair to it (and probably more suited to CATFISH).

It’s a bit like 127 HOURS. ‘Jackass falls into a canyon, talks to himself for 5 days, then cuts his arm off’. Sounds excruciating. Made by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, I’ll give it a chance.

Allen Palmer January 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Yeah, that’s great, Jeremy. And the best part about it is that Sorkin would be a much bigger drawcard than Fincher I imagine.

Paul Green January 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

So talking about stakes for a sec. . . one person’s high stakes is another person’s underwhelming situation. The stakes in “All the President’s Men” are big. In any disaster movie, they are immense. Objectively high stakes don’t mean a good film. The stakes that seem to work best are the ones that are important to the protagonist. Finding ones’ voice. Finding and writing about the truth.
The stakes for our loglines must be important to the protagonist, and must also be seen by the viewer to be important to the protagonist. Sometimes the easiest way to do that is just threaten to blow up the world. 20 years ago, a film where the stakes where the safety of your young family wouldn’t have grabbed me. Now however . . .

The stakes are higher if we can relate to them.

Rebecca January 12, 2011 at 4:23 am

Thank you for the reminder about writing a powerful logline. I was apart of a screenwriter’s group in Arizona, and our organizer stressed over and over again that a logline must be powerful.

BTW: I liked your logline for Easy A.

Mark January 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I think of a logline as a tool for the script reader. It dosn’t need to be inspiring or get someone to go see it, its to basic for that.
It just has to show if the script has the basic elements all scripts must have.
Namely: protagonist, antagonist, goal, conflict.

If a logline dosn’t have these basic elements then it can serve as a warning to the reader not to waste his time with it.

I also think a logline can help the writer to clarify and maintain focus on the core of their story. It can keep you on track and avoid going off on a tangent.

Allen Palmer January 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

It mightn’t have to be inspiring, Mark, but anyone who has ever tried to get a film made will tell you that having a logline that gets the juices flowing makes life a whole lot easier.

Mango January 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Snakes on a Plane. Says it all. Keep it simple. And refer to the journey (see 510+ stage hero’s journey at )

aspergers syndromes symptoms January 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thought to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

Mark January 14, 2011 at 11:28 am

Yes, I agree Allen. I think being able to craft a logline that can get the jucies flowing is a craft and skill all of its own.

Its a bit like writing a Haiku 🙂

I think I need to practice it more often.
Thanks for your blog about it.

Karen Pearlman January 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Nice post, Allen, very useful. Mike Jones, Matt Campora and I have been talking a lot about loglines lately as we prepare our Webisodes grad cert. We’re discussing the differences between a logline for a feature film and a multi-protagonist and/or episodic series.

Since we’re not just dealing with narrative drama but we’re working with ideas for webisodes that are documentaries or reality shows or gallery type curated collections of art or humour or profile pieces or star vehicles for internet personalities we have to think creatively about the content of loglines for these forms. Since these webisodes will be online, it occurred to me that we should consider how people find things online . Often people go hunting for an answer to a question (which is why a blog post will often work well when it appears to contain the answer to a question in its title).

So my idea is that we need to draw on known internet behaviour and develop our craft to take advantage of it. From there, one of the thoughts I came up with last week which is very simliar to your tip on Anticipation is ‘what is the question that will drive your audience to find you online’ or ‘can your logline raise a question in the viewer’s mind’.

We are devising an exercise that starts with getting students to articulate the kinds of questions that lead them to find something online, for example you might be attracted to ‘Living with the Infidels’ if you wanted to know what’s funny about being a terrorist. Or to ‘The Secret Life of Scientists’ if you wanted to know what do scientists for creative inspiration. Or to Green Porno if you wanted to know either what the hell the title meant or what Isabella Rosselini was doing dressing up as insects and simulating insect sex! From there we thought we would try to get the students to work on log lines that generate questions in the potential viewer’s mind – questions with enough energy to get them to click through! The theory is that once you know the question you want to provoke, you craft your logline to provoke that question, or maybe the logline even contains the question…

Allen Palmer January 17, 2011 at 5:44 am

That all sounds great, Karen. It’s getting your students into the minds of the audience … not something we’ve always been good at in this country.

study abroad scholarship January 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm

this post is very usefull thx!

Ian January 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Fantastic article. Not to be pedantic, but because of the westward expansion of the United States, the region where “Brokeback Mountain” takes place is what we Americans consider the “West.” Roughly speaking, the “Midwest” is the group of states near the Great Lakes but above the Mason-Dixon Line – Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, etc. Illogical but true.

Allen Palmer January 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Thanks, Ian. I’ve made that change.

Allen Palmer January 27, 2011 at 7:15 am

I agree with you, Paul, about the stakes needing to be relevant to the protagonist. I think that when you’re starting out you tend to want to have “obviously” high stakes – life and death, the planet, etc. But I think as you develop you can create much more authentic work when you invest some less obvious object with that value. Take a look at the watch that Bruce Willis’s character sets out to retrieve. For him, that watch has enormous value. It’s not intrinsic value. It’s value that the writers created.

Chris Webster March 2, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Three Aussie mates jeopardise their futures by embarking on an urban odyssey to score a bag of green, in a city which is dry.

Allen Palmer March 3, 2011 at 6:18 am

OK, Chris, they have a goal. But is it a believable goal? Dope is easily grown and readily available. For this to work, something would have to go very wrong very quickly otherwise it’s in danger of being episodic. Or it’s about the tensions that develop between them. If so, then that needs to be in the logline. And is there a transformative dimension? What is the genre? Comedy or thriller? A great logline creates a sense of anticipation about the dramatic or comedic possibilities. This needs work if it’s going to do that.

Chris Webster March 4, 2011 at 12:46 am

Thanks for your helpful feedback and your informative web site. I agree with you, in that an idea shared is an idea further developed. I have been telling anyone, who will listen, about my screenplay almost since its inception. My favourite American stoner comedies are “Dude, where’s my car?” and “Grandma’s Boy”. I have no answer, as does everyone I have asked, to the question: What is your favourite Aussie stoner comedy? I decided to write an answer.

STEPHEN ULYSSES ASH – “Why is it so hard to find a reliable drug dealer?”

Cheers, Chris.

Al September 6, 2011 at 12:43 am

My Compliments to the Author. That was very helpful.

Joe Farrell December 22, 2011 at 5:03 am

Great insights… not sure how I founjd your blog but thank you.
You made me stop… think… and go forward with what I’m working on. Tweaking a high concept and logline make all of the differnce.

Mimi N May 3, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Hello Mr. Allen. I wanna ask you, does this apply to comics as well. I’m making a quite long series and making the logline is so hard because automatically it can be changed by some subplots. If it isn’t so, I don’t think the logline has enough impact to be anticipated.

Allen Palmer May 3, 2012 at 10:05 pm

The 27 word single sentence is particularly relevant to feature screenplays because the medium demands that you tell a story in a compressed time frame and the audience must consume that story in one sitting. A comic doesn’t have the same constraints. But if your comic had a compelling logline, it wouldn’t hurt.

Warfield May 12, 2012 at 4:38 am

Hello Mr. allen. your article was so much interesting, and makes me and my friends debates on how to make a good and ‘selling’ logline.
changing some words just makes the logline change ‘almost whole’ the story. (and now I keep thinking how to make that ‘selling’ logline but still in simple sentences.. and it makes me deeply think about that and somehow stopping me makes the story continuation before I find the ‘selling’ logline)
Ah by the way, this my logline (a result after talk and confront in making loglines with my friend).

Logline >> Knowing world-destroying demon might be killed by the lost sword, the two rivals journey around the world before their beloved princess sacrifice herself to stop the demon.

the element for logline is complete such as:
Flawed Hero: the two rivals
The Quest : journey around the world to find magic sword
The Conflict: princess was about to sacrifice herself
The Stakes: the world destroyed, demon wins, hero dies, also the princess too

but my friend said, it was too cliche and not selling at all.

so may I ask you Mr. Allen, how I should fix this logline into interesting one?

Audrey Johnson May 23, 2013 at 7:51 am

One question I’ve been trying to get answered is this: are the requirements for a logline meant for television, the same as the ones outlined for a feature film?

I’m trying to develop a logline for a show, and can’t seem to find too many examples of the loglines used for selling. What I have found are those used for marketing, like the ones on IMDB and NetFlix and in various articles. For example:

“A likeable husband’s tolerance and marriage is tested by the constant intrusion of his overbearing parents and dim-witted brother.” – Everybody Loves Raymond

Those loglines are often rather broad in scope and are more of a setup with loosely defined or implied stakes (like possibly Ray’s marriage) than a definite “if the hero doesn’t ‘A’ then ‘B’ will happen” sort of deal. I think is is because, like you said above in regard to comics, there’s not a compressed time frame. Still, I’m confused as to what I should include.

Allen Palmer May 23, 2013 at 8:29 am

In a TV logline you’re looking to establish a dramatic engine that suggests your show has legs. By dramatic engine, I mean a combination of characters and situation that looks like it will generate ongoing conflict and, if it’s a sitcom, comedy. I don’t think that’s a good logline for Everybody Loves Raymond. There’s no mention of the wife, and that is the central tension in the show – the triangle between favourite son, doting mother and modern wife. I would say that’s is more like, “When a 30-something man-child sports nut moves his family in across the street from his doting Italian mother, the patience of his less traditionally maternal wife, his less favoured cop brother, and old-school father are sorely tested”. Something like Breaking Bad has clear high stakes, but in sitcom I wouldn’t even say it’s the marriage that’s at stake because you know it’s going to still be there at the end of the ep. You “just” need great characters who are going to naturally abrade in the unique situation in which you’ve placed them.

Audrey Johnson May 23, 2013 at 8:46 am

Thank you for the reply! That actually does a lot to clear up my confusion. I have a rough logline right now and was wondering if you wouldn’t mind giving it a once over to see what it’s most major flaw is (since I’m sure it has a few besides its awkward wording):

As the government struggles to contain a new human species, the Homo nothos (“false man”), an arrogant federal agent plays a game of lies and lust with a male half-nothos psychopath, while also fighting his nothos partner’s attempts to obtain her freedom.

Joao W. August 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Hi Mr. Palmer, I really enjoy your writings and a plain-spoken approach to demystifying this stuff. The idea of starting with a logline that is finely-tuned to be as compelling as possible appeals to me a lot more than the “just write and let it come to you” school of thought.

The part I still wonder about is the creative process for coming up with good loglines…whether to write down lots of them that are gonna be mostly bad, then pick a few keepers and tune them up, sort of like how a comedian writes jokes; or whether to start with a character or archetype and try all evening to coax a decent logline out of her or him…I’m sure lots of people have different approaches that work for them, but would love to know the evolutionary process behind some great logline that originally started as a lukewarm idea.

Allen Palmer August 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I wouldn’t say start the creative process with trying to write a logline. I would be surprised if anything original came out of that. I recommend writing a logline AFTER you have had an idea. The logline is simply a way of clarifying and testing the story – not an idea generating process. It’s not for me at least. The idea can come from character or premise or just seeing something and speculating what if. The idea is the bit that can’t really forced into existence. It is the art element. Logline is part of the craft element. Screenwriting requires both. Imagination and story craft.

Hari September 8, 2013 at 12:54 am

Hi Allen!

I came across your blog recently and found it very informative.

Below is the logline of a short film I am planning to write. Would be very happy to hear your thoughts on it.

“A debt ridden mechanic, quickly bleeding to death, must convey the remote location of the child he kidnapped using a cell phone with limited reception and battery life”

Though I conceived the idea for the short some time back, I framed the logline only yesterday after watching ‘Buried’ and also reading your post about the film. Sorry for lifting the last line straight out of that film!

Allen Palmer September 8, 2013 at 8:49 am

Sorry, Hari, but I don’t give individual feedback on loglines. All the best.

Chris Turley September 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Great to see you back on deck, Allen.

The logline is one of the most difficult concepts to wrap my head around. I can conjure the characters that drive the plot, but coming up with a succinct sentence that drives to the heart of the whole story is tough. Your insights have helped me over these last couple of years and I regularly come back here to test my loglines against your weaknesses (and many times I come up short!) Thanks again.

alok rao January 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

very informative blog among the one available …I am not yet clear with the idea of protagonist vs antagonist.. what if the character has internal conflict

Allen Palmer January 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm

If the character has an internal conflict then it is generally advisable to find a character – an antagonist (though they may have the protagonist’s interests at heart) – who can externalise that internal conflict. To make aware to the audience what that internal conflict is.

Iván January 23, 2018 at 12:56 pm

“Instead of finding a new job and recently fired high school teacher leaves home every morning to meet with a group of youngsters half his age to get high, all while reminiscing of his long lost dreams”.

hmmm… how does it sound?

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