No matter where you are in the process of creating your TV Show, you should be working on your Logline.
First, what is a Logline?
Wikipedia says “A log line is a brief summary of a television program or movie, often providing both a synopsis of the program’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest.” That sounds about right to me.
Every time you describe your show to someone, you are effectively telling them what will end up as your logline.
At the start it will take a paragraph or two to describe your show, but be attentive to what grabs people’s attention. The sentence that we think is “the hook” isn’t always as good as we think. Sometimes it ends up being a throw away line at the end of a conversation that grabs people. So be sure to listen and watch for reactions as you’re describing your show.
The logline is the single most important weapon in your sales arsenal. This is where you either get the Executives attention, or lose them.
Picture your log line on the bottom of a promotional poster. That is what you are writing.
The Logline opens your Elevator Pitch, your Meeting Pitch, and your One Sheet.
You need to be able to recite this line at any time, in any situation, and do it without seeming like you are reciting it. It needs to sound fresh – like this idea just came to you.
If you have a short title put it in. “Cast Away is a movie in which a FedEx executive…blah blah blah”
You need to create a picture. “…survives a crash landing on a deserted island…”
You can’t use too many adjectives or you’ll end up with a run-on sentence and that defeats the purpose. “….on a sandy island with coconut trees, subject to windstorms and spiders….” uh no…too long.
You need a hook. Something that makes them want to see or hear more. “…everyone is presumed dead but there was a survivor…”
Now the hook is different from a cliffhanger. I’ve heard people end their pitches with “and if you want to know how it turns out you need to buy the show”. No no no! This will not work. It’s been tried and it’s bad. Don’t do it.
Your logline must tell the story of the show. What are people going to see?
You do not need to talk about story arcs. You do not need to talk about character development, but you should let us know a bit about who the characters are.
If you need to talk about backstory you need to do it quickly. That’s a tough one because you only have one sentence. That’s why you have Loglines that start with “In a world far away…” or “In another time…”
And always speak in present tense. “The year is 1945 and Tommy has a problem…”
If you can find a way to bring in a sense of irony do it. Putting irony in titles works great so if it works for your logline do it.
So. Include the title. Paint a picture. Have some irony. Have a hook. Keep it in the present tense.
And then practice it on people and pay attention to their responses. There reactions will let you know what is working and what is not.