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How to Write a Logline for a Short Film

No matter what stage you’re at in the production of your film, the logline is an important element that can literally make or break the success of your project. Learning how to write a logline for a short film is something that many aspiring cinematographers must accomplish early in their careers.

These tips will help you learn how to write loglines that will sell your idea.

What is a Logline?

Loglines are short, blurbs about your film that are used to sell your idea. Think of it as your elevator pitch, but maybe even shorter. The logline for a short film is literally something that you should be able to write in less than a minute.

However, you’ll probably want to put more thought into it than that! 

Essentially, your logline puts all the pages of your short story script into a single sentence that powerfully summarizes the story, creates interest, and compels your audience to stick around to learn more.

When it comes to selling your script, the logline is the first sentence a Producer or Director will read. If they love it, they’ll read more. If they hate it, they’ll probably not think another second about it.

What to Include in a Logline

The logline typically summarizes the show and hooks the reader by describing the unique conflict of the story. Knowing how to write a logline for a short film is important for any filmmaker to focus some time on and learn.

Several key elements can be included in a logline, but keep in mind that every word of your logline should be carefully thought about to ensure it’s exactly what it should be – no frills, no fluff, just connections with your intended reader!

Your logline should include

  • The main inciting incident that occurs in the script.
  • The protagonist of the script.
  • The action of the script.
  • The antagonist of the script.

What Not to Include in a Logline

It’s important to think about more than just what you should include in your logline. In fact, much of knowing how to write a logline for a short film is about what you should NOT include.

Avoid using character names in your logline. Your characters don’t exist yet for the reader, so to use names will not help them connect.

Use descriptive words instead, for example if you’re writing a logline that includes a character named John that’s a farmer who lost his wife, you’re not going to mention “John” in your logline, but you might mention “a widowed farmer.” The audience can connect better this way.

Avoid using passive events as your inciting incident. It’s always better to use an active voice when writing a logline for a short film. Write your logline as a goal for the character, but don’t tell the audience whether the goal is achieved or not — they’ll have to watch the show to figure it out!

Keep it interesting. Learning how to write a logline for a short film is all about setting out to write a short, engaging summary that piques the reader’s interest and encourages them to watch the actual show or to fully read the script.

If you’re stuck, or struggling to come up with ideas, consider trying out a logline generator or brainstorming ideas. That’s the fun or figuring out how to write a logline for a short film!