top of page
  • Writer's pictureYoung Screenwriters

How to Craft a Great Logline

A logline is the brief, one-line overview of a story used to explain the overarching narrative in as few words as possible. These are used in the industry by producers and executives trying to find their next project, but also in the normal world, to give audiences a sense of what a film is about when they’re looking to hit the theater or stream.

Crafting your logline is helpful not just for when it comes time to sell your screenplay, but also during the writing process to narrow in on the main story and fine-tune what you’re trying to write. At Young Screenwriters, we suggest crafting a draft logline at the inception of your writing process to help determine what the narrative arc of the story is even before you write it.

What do loglines look like? Here are some examples from some of the films on NYU Professor John Warren’s Classic Film List:

  1. UP – 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his house equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.

  2. THE APARTMENT A Manhattan insurance clerk tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.

  3. SUNSET BLVD. – A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return.

Let’s take a look at some more modern films from Young Screenwriters’ weekly Coffee Class:

  1. PARASITE – Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

  2. GET OUT – A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

  3. ARRIVAL – A linguist works with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world.

What do these loglines have in common? Each one communicates the story’s protagonist, their objective, and the implied stakes should they fail.

An easy way to get started on your logline is the use a logline formula. Young Screenwriters uses these formulas as a starting point:


JAWS – A local sheriff, marine biologist, and a revenge hungry sailor form an unlikely team to stop a great white shark from taking more lives and ruining an entire beach town.


SPIRITED AWAY – When Chihiro’s parents are transformed into pigs by a witch called Yubaba, Chihiro makes a deal to work for Yubaba in her bathhouse for spirits so she can rescue her parents before she loses her ability to recognize their faces and her own name.

Try plugging your story into one of these formulas and then edit to make it as compelling as possible. If you notice something isn’t right, that might be a signal that something is missing from your story. For example, if you’re not able to showcase what the stakes are if the protagonist doesn’t hit their objective, it could be an opportunity to increase the conflict and make the stakes heavier. Make sure you’re getting feedback on your logline to make it the best it can be!

Hungry for more screenwriting education? Young Screenwriters has a range of courses for every writer on each step of their journey! Get started with our FREE Writing the Short and Writing the Scene courses to learn the basics.

When you’re ready to take the next step, sign up for Writing the Feature and learn NYU Professor John Warren’s complete writing process, including generating powerful film ideas, forming dynamic character arcs, creating beat sheets and outlines, and finishing that screenplay with proper formatting and a plan for what’s next. Writing the Feature is the perfect way to work on that screenplay from start to finish, and our Discord community will lift you up every step of the way!



bottom of page