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logline Logline Critique, please and thank you

For a steaming sci fi series. I've crunched it about as far as I can by myself and wanting other eyes. Cheers.

Under the specter of interplanetary war, a wealthy inventor leads a team of top scientists and intrepid adventurers against greedy corporations and corrupt governments to perfect the first faster-than-light drive and take humanity to the safety of the stars.
 
I'd loose a few of the adjectives.

Under the specter of interplanetary war, a wealthy inventor leads a team of scientists in an effort to produce the first faster than light drive.

More compact is better for these, so here's my reasoning, from an external viewpoint. I'm not sure the specific types of antagonists are actually a selling point, until people are already invested in the fiction. Bear in mind that you also have a single thumbnail, and probably a page header image, and you can convey a lot of information in those as well.

Honestly, there's nothing wrong with your logline, it could just be shorter.
 
I truly despise loglines. Below is the butchered, bloodless carcass that describes next to nothing:

An independent inventor develops the first faster-than-light drive to take humanity to the stars, usurping a solar system of greedy corporations and vengeful governments.
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
The most interesting part to me wa the interplanetary war - why did that get dropped ?

tell me more about this spectre of interplanetary war -- as far as i understand humans are still only on earth and this new engine was only just invented. What are the planets involved, who are the factions?
 
The most interesting part to me wa the interplanetary war - why did that get dropped ?

tell me more about this spectre of interplanetary war -- as far as i understand humans are still only on earth and this new engine was only just invented. What are the planets involved, who are the factions?
Because on another forum some people complained that the first logline was too confusing and needed to be stripped of all flesh before it would be acceptable to be shown in public.
 
Loglines are hard for creators, because we are attached to our stories, and the aspects that make those stories interesting, tv guides are not. You may be having difficulty because you think you need to sell your story in the logline. That's really not what it's for. You sell your show with advertisements, trailers, banners, etc.

My current film is over 5 hours long now, and many things happen within, but the logline is just

"A cat is trapped in a surrealistic maze, and must find a way to escape."

In the film, the cat faces dangers, it solves a mystery or two, it travels across worlds, it makes friends, it descends into hell, it floats weightlessly through a space station. It's a horror movie, a sci fi movie, and I could go on to say a thousand other things about it, but as you can see, I didn't include any of that in the logline. It's just the essential core of the story, as minimal as I could make it.

Some people do make them much longer, but I think this comes from the aforementioned fallacy that people are buying or watching the film based on the logline. It's important that it's good, but unless you can display some wit within the logline, it should be pretty minimalistic. I have seen ,for example, a comedy movie that managed to fit a decent joke into the logline, thus demonstrating the film's humor, a selling point for that genre.

Here's a good resource,

 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Because on another forum some people complained that the first logline was too confusing and needed to be stripped of all flesh before it would be acceptable to be shown in public.
Okay but who was posting on that forum?
Were they even human? Maybe you were talking to a pack of dogs.

Games Crypto GIF by GameStation


Or maybe you stripped the bones instead of the flesh
 

"This January, It's time to Michael down your Vincents"

I feel that this clip embodies the quality and spirit of Hollywood think tank writing. Design by committee at it's preternatural apex.
 
The real issue is that there is too much conflicting information to be found on the internets. There are no rules. While that sounds O.K. on paper, in reality that just means that no one agrees. It's not anarchy, it's chaos.
I'm imagining a Hollywood under some form of governmental regulation like Wall Street used to be, with mandated script formatting and a fill-in-the-blanks logline form sheet. That could be fun actually. Producers yelling in the press about how government interference is strangling Hollywood's creativity and stars having to put in a mandated number of hours in indie productions akin to public service cable channels. Studio's arguing their 12th super hero movie is actually a romcom while being sued by the feds for releasing films exceeding their categorical genre limit.
Anyway I'm going to ground this thing down into dust and then get to work on other things.
 
It's because there's no shared frame of reference.

If we were all trying to comment on a tagline for a movie we'd seen, that could be productive, but with your story, none of us are familliar with the fiction itself, so we're firing blind.

Maybe I'd say to drop the word "interplanetary" because I'm imagining that it's just something someone says in the pilot, but in reality, it's a huge part of your fiction, like every other scene takes place on a different planet. Without understanding your story, and what parts are significant, random internet people will struggle to construct a logline that you'll be happy with.

My very general, but actionable advice is not to take your logline too seriously. Keep it pretty basic, learn from examples that worked, and save your energy for the considerably more formidable task of writing a compelling series.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Elon Musk rockets humans to Mars? Is that better? 😂
 
I think it's dusted.

To save a doomed colony ship, an independent inventor develops the first faster-than-light starship, destabilizing a politically tense solar system with the threat of war.

I went extremely specific (the first episode) with the colony ship line and then went wide with the solar system line, so at the least, it has a rhythm.
 
I think it's dusted.

To save a doomed colony ship, an independent inventor develops the first faster-than-light starship, destabilizing a politically tense solar system with the threat of war.

I went extremely specific (the first episode) with the colony ship line and then went wide with the solar system line, so at the least, it has a rhythm.
Actually, this one is better
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
A wealthy genius
I think it's dusted.

To save a doomed colony ship, an independent inventor develops the first faster-than-light starship, destabilizing a politically tense solar system with the threat of war.

I went extremely specific (the first episode) with the colony ship line and then went wide with the solar system line, so at the least, it has a rhythm.
Yeah thats better IMO - i get you want to move on but i am gonna throw my 2 cents in anyway lol.

there's better options than "independent inventor" its kinda redundant bc you follow up saying he invented something, so its like youre saying he's an inventor twice in the same sentence.

for example lets say your protagonist was tony stark.. you could say "a genius playboy develops a lightspeed engine"
 
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there's better options than "independent inventor" its kinda redundant bc you follow up saying he invented something, so its like youre saying he's an inventor twice in the same sentence.
"An independent fry cook develops"... Kidding. Yeah, it is a bit "The Plumber plumbed", but it works and flows well. I think of it as "The Astronomer saw" or "The Politician argued".
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
It's actually really hard to rework a logline FROM a LOGLINE! Meaning, give us more info on the story so WE can condense it. This is like trying to make condensed soup from condensed soup. If we know more ingredients, we can condense it better for you.
 
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