Logline Examples

loglineYesterday I answered a question about loglines. So today I wanted to give you some examples of loglines. Why, you ask.

Well, reading loglines is an interesting exercise because — if you don’t know how the movie unfolds — you are forced to imagine where the story might go.

Also, more importantly, observe how these long three-act feature movies  can be summarized in two sentences or less. As a writer, you will have to do the same for your story. A logline is an important “elevator pitch” if you are pressed for time.

Logline Examples from Produced Screenplays

logline-examples2THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

RUSHMORE – A precocious private high school student whose life revolves around his school competes with its most famous and successful alumnus for the affection of a first grade teacher

THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS – A press agent, hungry to get ahead, is pushed by a ruthless columnist to do cruel and evil things, and is eventually caught in the web of lies that he has created.

BIG NIGHT  – Two very different brothers promote their struggling 1950s New Jersey Italian restaurant by inviting Louis Prima and his band to take part in a sumptuous dinner there.

logline-examplesPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL – Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate “Captain” Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor’s daughter, from Jack’s former pirate allies, who are now undead.

THE HANGOVER – A Las Vegas-set comedy centered around three groomsmen who lose their about-to-be-wed buddy during their drunken misadventures, then must retrace their steps in order to find him.

BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY – An Iowa housewife, stuck in her routine, must choose between true romance and the needs of her family.


Loglines Examples from Unproduced Screenplays*

*These scripts have not been made into movies yet.

THE BABYSITTER – A lonely twelve year old boy in love with his babysitter discovers some hard truths about life, love, and murder

THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE – A nerdy high schooler, who fancies himself an amateur photographer, attempts to create a “Swimsuit Issue” featuring his high school classmates in hopes of raising enough money to go to summer camp.

ROTHCHILD – A young, well-educated loner kills the members of his mother’s estranged family one-by-one in hopes that he will inherit the family’s vast fortune.

THE CASCADE – Based on the documentary style film “The Day Britain Stopped” directed by Gabriel Range, an oil tanker collides with an Iranian patrol boat in the Strait of Hormuz, triggering a chain of tragic disastrous events.

You can see other logline examples from unproduced screenplays here: http://5e22c74089f3ead9fb3a-826e8a392aaf48b70eb85d8703df9872.r30.cf2.rackcdn.com/2014_black_list_rev6.pdf

What is an Elevator Pitch?

Imagine you are in a hotel. You are going to your room on the 15th floor and you call the lift. When you go into the elevator, you find yourself in the presence of Francis Ford Coppola. This is it! Your big chance! You have one minute (maybe less)(definitely less!) to convince Francis that you are the next greatest Hollywood writer. How do you do it? Well, you tell him the most mind-blowing, unimaginable (yet totally believable) logline. Here’s the catch: you only have the duration of the elevator ride to accomplish such feat.

To be sure, the expression “elevator pitch” is overused in Hollywood, and how often does it really happen? The point is, the “sales pitch” for your script has to be short. Sometimes you run into Hollywood honchos at the DMV or at your favorite corner bakery. Now is not time to figure out how to explain your story, so have the pitch ready! The goal is not to sign a contract on the spot, but if you can at least get their business card or keep the conversation going, that would be pretty neat.


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