That BLEEPING logline!

That BLEEPING logline!


I hate loglines!

Who hasn’t said it at one point? I certainly did. I never thought I would get the hang of making a decent logline. They seemed as impossible as climbing Mount Everest in stilettos.

You start al like “I can do this” but after a day of work, letters start to dance in front of your eyes and every attempt seems worse than the last. You start to wonder who the idiot was who thought explaining a hundred and twenty-pages long movie (or more) in twenty-five words was a good idea? I mean it sounded preposterous to me. Did the dude or dudette ever try it for themselves?

After going through these first two stages I entered the last one. The one where a calm comes over you.  It sinks in that this is a part of your job so you suck it up and plow on.

Now just like there are many different theories on how to write the best movie, there are many ideas about how to write the perfect logline. During the plowing, I found some basic rules to help me get my BLEEP together.

My choice of rules:

  • Start with the words when or after help to get to an important point in the protagonist’s journey. The point where a decision has to be made, leading to a new life.
  • Don’t use the protagonist’s name in the logline but one word to show what he does or who he is like garbage man for instance.
  • Pick one word that describes the protagonist. OCD garbage man, for instance, immediately helps to paint a picture in the mind of the reader.
  • Go for opposites when you can because opposites attract. A scared superhuman, sex-addict nun or a Tourette librarian will sell better than a fearless superhuman, celibate nun or mute librarian.
  • Describe the protagonist’s goal.
  • Describe what or who stands in the way of the protagonist reaching his goal.


After six years something strange occurred to me. I had come to love making loglines. What the fluff! The excess screen time must have fried my brain or something. How was it possible that I now got excited over the challenge that loglines provided? I saw them as an intricate puzzle I just had to solve. I had gone to the dark side. Hahaha.

So when Taylor C. Baker, the director of content and branding at Stage 32, asked me last week to get involved in the site’s lounges I decided to create a logline post for the stuck in more ways than one (thanks to “go away, Rona!”), screenwriter. I offered help to anyone who was in a logline pickle.

Well, the reactions did not disappoint. Within every logline I received I could spot the makings of a great movie. They were all so talented. It made me realize once more why breaking through into the movie business is such a tough task.

Anywhoo, my fellow screenwriters kept me busy for a few days with all kinds of fun logline puzzles. But I did not care. I loved every minute of figuring them out. I felt honored to get the change to see all of their awesome work and thankful for the opportunity to help them.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Phil O’Brien’s logline puzzle results:

Phil O'Brien

    • When a karate school owner with a former cheerleader assistant, num nut, grannies and horny housewives as students wants to win the amateur championship he needs to get creative.
    • A new millionaire with helper syndrome finds himself broke, living with his family, ex’s, kids, their pets and… his new girlfriend.

Cannon Rosenau’s logline puzzle result:

Cannon Rosenau

    • After the one time, a straight-laced bachelor “loosened his laces” during a night out with his screwball friend he loses Miss perfect, but screwball’s got the perfect plan!

I was very flattered to receive a like by Stephen Foster (through Linkedin) who is an executive assistant at Warner Bros Entertainment and chuffed to bits that the awesome actor and screenwriter Bruno Amato took the time to give me a private compliment. What a set of sweethearts.

If you want to read the post just click on the link below:

If you need help with a logline please feel free to get in touch with me through Instagram, Linkedin, Stage 32, Twitter or by email. If you just want to virtually hang with me because “Go away, Rona!”  is starting to get to you, you know where to find me too.

I’ll leave you with some “Dory” wisdom.
“Just keep swimming”
Have a great day, Marjolein.


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