The group I called “Screenwriters of the Round Table” in an early blog post here, continues to hold monthly meetings. Last time, I suggested to the participants that we come up with five loglines for movies to pitch each other by the next meeting (given the trend, at least three of us will probably show up; if so, there won’t be any press for time).
One member asked for a little help understanding the concept a little better. As is my wont, I researched a bunch of links on loglines and concepts, so I thought I’d mention a couple of the better articles I just viewed in that process, as well as a fine digital sourcebook on the topic of generating movie concepts.
First, there are a couple of posts from Allen Palmer on his Cracking Yarns blog I’d like to point out. The guy really gets what loglines are about and I agree strongly with his assertion that a screenwriter needs to write a logline at the front end of developing a script. This is because the logline can then help focus your mind on the script story you’re putting together in the proper way, as well as serving as a marketing tool for you at the “end” of the writing process. (“End” in quotation marks because writing is rewriting, particularly in screenwriting.) He also does a good job of explaining what elements a good logline will hint at, and why. His formula for length is stricter than that defined by some others who have written good material on this topic, but I think he’s on to something. The more brevity, as long as the fundamental elements are in play, the more engaging the logline will be to the imagination. Here’s Allen Palmer’s post on writing a good logline.
Once you’ve read it, be sure to also check out his follow-up, “The Six Most Common Logline Weaknesses.”
I’ve recently finished reading a couple of William Martell’s Kindle books, his expanded version of The Secrets of Action Screenwriting, which I first purchased and read in paperback in the 1990s, and Your Idea Machine, which is chock-full of, well, ideas on where to get your ideas and, just as importantly, how to shape them into movie ideas. Back in the 1990s, William Martell and I were both participants in a “miscellaneous” category message board about screenwriting. Overall, I, personally, rate his advice on the craft to be second to none, so I’m linking to a page of all his Kindle books because if you care about becoming a screenwriter, all together they’ll constitute a smorgasbord of good advice.