Log line formulas

To keep you informed what the widely used formulas are, we’ve created this list. There are, of course, more variations and we appreciate your input! Feel free to share your favorite formula. 

 

Long formula: 

Someone ____________ does something ____________ because of ___________, but _________. 

* For practice just fill in the blanks. 

Short formula: 

„WHEN _____________ (a major event) happens, ____________ (the hero/ine) MUST ____________ (do the main action).“ 

MANDATORY 

  • the story’s first major event or ‘Inciting Incident’ 
  • the hero’s function or role in the story (e.g. a mother, a cop, a scientist) 
  • the hero’s goal or main action in the story 

  

OPTIONAL 

  • the hero’s weakness/flaw (e.g. headstrong, timid, solitary, cocky, depressed) 
  • the obstacle(s) and/or the Antagonist 
  • the stakes 

 

Or, in other words: 

 

  • Who’s the Protagonist? 
  • What’s the Protagonist’s goal? 
  • Who’s keeping the Protagonist from their goal? 

 

There is also a SIX WORD TEST: select the six main ingredients of you story, assemble them, and then see in which order they create the most tension. 

What DOESN’T belong in a longline:

 

NAMES of the characters 

the ENDING of the story 

anything that doesn’t create momentum (dates/facts) 

 

Here are some of the situations in which a logline may be used: 

  • when the writer tests (the) concept(s) 
  • when the writer markets the script to producers 
  • when the producer markets the project to financiers 
  • when the sales agent sells the movie to distributors 
  • when the exhibitor advertises the movie to the audience 
  • when the distributor packages the DVD 
  • when a broadcaster advertises the movie in print, online etc. 

  

In each of these cases, people will write a slightly modified version.