The Logline is the single most important tool in your sales arsenal.
When you first begin describing your show to people it will probably take a paragraph or two to describe it. You may realize ‘the brilliant hook’ isn’t as good as you thought. Or you may find the heart of your Logline in a throwaway line at the end of a conversation. So when practicing on people, be attentive to what grabs their attention and the nuggets that resonate with them.
So what does a good Logline need to include?
The show title. Remember in elementary school when we all used to ask our teachers if we had to answer the test questions using full sentences? She always said yes. Do the same thing here by starting your Logline with the show title.
Character. Does your hero character have a characteristic or fatal flaw imperative to their behavior on the show? Put it in.
Hook. Is there a special hook that differentiates your show from others? Put it in. But take note, a hook is different from a cliffhanger. I’ve heard people end their pitch with “and if you want to know how it turns out you need to buy the show”. Don’t do this!! Making this mistake is even worse than pitching an Executive in the restroom.
Be present. Is your show about a guy living in 1945? Then say it. “It’s 1945 and Tommy has a problem…” (assuming Tommy has a problem).
Backstory. This is probably one of the toughest aspects of building a concise and compelling Logline. If you absolutely must include backstory it may need its own sentence, but this sentence needs to be thorough enough that the Logline makes sense, yet short enough that the Executive hasn’t tuned out by the time you pitch the heart of the show. Remember, your pitch materials aren’t about the backstory, they’re about the show.
Practice. Practice your Logline on people and pay attention to how they respond. Their responses will tell you what is working and what is not. The Logline for your show will morph and mature with time as you practice to find out what works.
And how will you know when it’s working just right? It’s like what my Mom told my sister about love. “When you find it and it’s right, you’ll just know.”