There’s an awful lot of conflicting information about Loglines on the Internet. There are some who would demand that a logline has a certain number of words in it; that the length is prescriptively controlled, that under no circumstances should you exceed X number of characters. This to me is frankly misleading and actually wrong.
You do need to edit your Logline; by definition this demands that it is a succinct summary of your story, but tying yourself in knots to make it no more than 2 lines long is not worth the contortion. You do need to be able to memorise this all important nugget of drama information, so that you can, when asked, recall the vital elements of the story in a second and this fact alone will ensure you keep your Logline short and to the point.
Rule of thumb for me, is no more than one paragraph of between 4 – 6 lines – that way you give yourself some wiggle room, but you don’t indulge in waffle and you don’t allow yourself to stray from the key elements that need to be in this paragraph.
The Logline; if written well, is going to break the ice around the conversation you want to begin and to also continue, with a prospective Producer/Development Exec. This little paragraph holds an important role in the development process and has a vital job to do in order that your idea not only gets a proper airing with those that can possibly make it happen, but also be the spark that starts the whole creative journey off for you and your project.
I was a Drama Series Producer before I set up my Script Development and Training Company Script Advice and I know from my time working on the coal face of long running drama production, that although we Producers were always looking for the next new idea, we certainly didn’t have time to squander looking for it.
That is why I wrote my book Writing for Television Series Serials and Soaps so writers can easily access the mind of TV Producers like me, and deliver the goods we are looking for via the development process.
I know from personal experience that Producers understand there’s a lot of pressure on the writer/creator to get this Logline – this paragraph of a few lines singing; so they can sit back and enjoy the story unfold as the conversation flows from the initial question; ‘what are you working on at the moment’ to ‘tell me more – do you have a Treatment?’.
Even the more seasoned writers of Television Drama that I work with via my Consultancy, struggle with Loglines. So if you are one of those writers who pale at the thought of having to summarise the world you have created for the benefit of a time-poor Producer, take heart. You are not alone.
Think of the Logline as your drama series in microcosm. The Logline defines the essence and main characteristics of your drama; it describes a much bigger world in this small space of a few lines.
In a rather lovely example of symmetry, the Logline when broken down, mirrors and echoes the key elements I look for in a strong Pilot script of a TV Drama Series.
TEXT. Set up the main thrust of the plot/text. Identify the jump off point of the story, highlight the midpoint and where this story arc lands/ends.
SUBTEXT. Identify what drives your main character/s. What is their motivation and what do they seek and why?
CHARACTERISATION. Succinctly describe the pertinent make up of your character/s. The things that make them who they are.
NARRATIVE FLOW. Keep the energy up via your use of descriptive language and allow one line to lead on to the other in a purposeful way.
MESSAGE. If the text is married successfully within the writing of your Logline paragraph, then the message of your story will be apparent.
Example of a Logline;
A young woman, tormented by her sexually charged, inappropriately aligned brain, flings herself aboard a train out of suburbia to the heaving Metropolis of London, to begin a journey of self discovery. Meeting like minded disparates along the way and amid confusion and loneliness she learns to make connections, celebrate our differences and ultimately fall properly in Love, both with herself and this life. PURE. Channel Four.
Here is a blog I wrote which deals with the five most important documents a Television Drama writer needs to embrace when developing their series idea for Television. If you follow this line of development, you won’t go far wrong. The key thing is to think of these documents as essentially breaking open and displaying your idea to its strengths in order to show its true dramatic and creative value to a Producer or Development Exec.
I can bring your television writing up several notches if you work with me via my Development Packages. I aim to develop your creative ability as well as focusing you and your work towards the market and can help you get your work out to the Industry Makers and Agents too, if you are not currently repped and are ready to be so.
Here are some things writers currently working me are saying about the experience:
I also wanted to thank you for all your hard work with me in 2018. You have helped me immeasurably and I am so grateful for your insight and expertise, all with a dash of sparkling humour! Julie Ferry Writer
My writing has improved immeasurably since working with Yvonne, she is creative, insightful and experienced. Her personality also shines which makes working with her a real pleasure”. Lyndon Hayes Writer
I am a feature film writer and director and to transition into TV. Yvonne, over the course of 8 months helped me bring out the TV writer that was always brimming just under the surface. She is a dedicated mentor, full of ideas and anecdotes that help me truly understand how to create and structure serialized TV. I am currently working with her on my 2nd TV project with her. I am so lucky to have found this amazing teacher. Antonia Bogdanovitch
Get in touch and happy writing!