what is a logline in a query letter

In today's increasingly online world, many editors are now accepting email query letters in addition to, or instead of, traditional snail mail query letters.There are some important tips you should consider when sending an email query instead of a mail query. Try writing a logline--a one-sentence description of your novel--first. And to have a great logline, you have to have a great underlying story concept. The simple answer is no. It was based on a spec script by two brothers, Jim Thomas & John Thomas. UPDATE: GITS readers, I can tell we’re going to get several questions on this subject as we’ve already had a couple within minutes of the post going live. It's the main goal of the story that you want to convey to your audience. Thirty-five words to capture their attention. And where does it fit in the normal flow of overall story development? Tip #10: Avoid any useless shortcuts. It represents the fifth iteration of the franchise after the original “Predator,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 1987, “Predator 2″ (1990); “Alien vs. Predator” (2004); and “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem” (2007). Address your letter directly to the editor in charge of queries and manuscripts. If you’ve sent out hundreds of queries and don’t have script requests, you’re doing something wrong. If you are submitting your logline blindly, using a site like IMDb Pro to collect e-mail and fax information, there is a good chance the industry pro is not currently searching for a script. Producers might use a logline to get a studio, financier, or other type of buyer interested in a script. It's the short blurb in TV guides that tells you what a movie is about and helps you decide if you're interested in … A log line is a very short description of the characters and main action of your book. Use standard header information. No need to reinvent the felt-tipped pen. And to have a great logline, you have to have a great underlying story concept. Using the enclosed template, we also give you a logline example to show you how effective this tool is for writing a logline. But, be aware, these analogies are not loglines.Keep in mind: In this day and age where email has essentially replaced formal query letters via snail mail, the logline is it. And to have a great logline, you have to have a great underlying story concept. (F) Sell script. I can confirm this anecdote because Larry Gordon, who produced K-9, told it to me back in 1987. It’s by far the most common mistake I see in spec scripts. What they're looking for, in Hollywood-speak, is what's called a "Logline." It’s essential to keep your query letter concise while still being engaging. This is the format and medium in which magazines, newspapers and book editors expect to be approached. Query letter examples. This really simplifies matters: (A) Come up with a great story concept. The query letter opening Some say it’s essential to open with a catchy, one-sentence hook (sometimes called a log line) that sells the “sizzle” of your story. And to have a great logline, you have to have a great underlying story concept. This really simplifies matters: (A) Come up with a great story concept. It’s part of a free 15-part training guide about How to Write an Effective Query Letter by Mark Malatesta, a former publishing agent and former Marketing & Licensing Manager of a well-known book publisher. Thanks! And that’s precisely what happened with Predator: He read the logline — “A team of commandos, on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior” — and said, “That’s a movie.”. Hook readers, agents, or editors every time with a logline that nails the essence of your story. Seth Lochhead, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, wrote an original screenplay. It can be used as the first line in your query letter, to help hook the agent into reading the rest of the letter and requesting information. Expand that into a one-paragraph pitch to include in your query letter. We supply you with query … A query letter is an appeal to publishers or agents in an effort to get them interested in something you’ve written, usually a book. He told me an interesting story about that movie. If you're wondering how to action all of this, we've also come up with a few query letter examples for those who want a more concrete idea of what to write. If you don’t know how to write a query letter, don’t worry. As a … That's what it takes to write a killer query letter. So, you might want to check individual agency guidelines on how to format an email query for literary agents there before you submit to them. And just to completely hammer home this point, here is a quote from one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood today: Terry Rossio who with writing partner Ted Elliott has screenwriting credits that include Aladdin, The Mask of Zorro, Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more. The simple fact is the logline is the single most important aspect of any query letter. (D) Email query managers and agents leading with your great logline. That not only resulted in him getting a manager (Circle of Confusion), it also led to his movie getting produce: “Hanna”. Lawrence Gordon, who produced K-9, also produced the original Predator. Overall, while the tone of this query letter feels fun, I found some of the sentences a bit convoluted and I’m not sure some of the key events are described precisely, especially the obstacles Mercedes faced in pursuit of her gold. (E) Get representation. Spend time studying actual query letter examples that other writers—many of whom had no previous writing credits or platform—have used to land their literary agents. A girl is trained to be an assassin; would you like to read my script.”. $275. Why do you need one? Evidently the script went around town and every studio passed. Query Letter Recipe:How to Write a Killer Query. items an executive or agent is going to read that reflects your work. The writer has lost the race right from the gate. UPDATE: GITS readers, I can tell we’re going to get several questions on this subject as we’ve already had a couple within minutes of the post going live. (C) Write a great script. My definition of a logline is this: It's a one- or two-sentence description of the overall idea of the story. The Number One Goal of the query letter is to make someone want to read your story. A query letter is a way of introducing your writing to editors or literary agents and publishers. Evidently the script went around town and every studio passed. Synopsis: A more detailed 1-2 page narrative summation of your story and how it unfolds (including spoilers). In a single page, the writer aims to make the editor/publisher get interested in reading or publishing the entire story˗ that’s how important the letter is to a writer. You have one chance to impress. Add what qualifies you to write the article and why you are the best person to write it. That’s all agencies or managers care to see. Reader Question: Where to start when developing a story. Besides of course a great Log Line…. A logline is a one-sentence summary of your script. Your logline can be the difference between an Oscar or living on Oscar Mayer for the rest of your life. The 200-Word Book Summary For Your Query Letter. Writing and the Creative Life: 4 Tips On Creativity From The Creator Of Calvin & Hobbes. Writing a one-page synopsis now seems effortless. Include a short log line only if your book lends itself especially well to pithy summary. If written properly, it should induce the reader or potential audience to want to see the film. That not only resulted in him getting a manager (Circle of Confusion), it also led to his movie getting produce: “Hanna”. This is how he got his script into Hollywood: He sent out 400 emails to people in the business: “A lot were one-sentence emails. The killer logline is part of the elevator pitch, but there’s more to the elevator pitch. But what is a logline? Includes a logline and short summary as described above. But Larry used to have his assistants accumulate a list of all the scripts that had been out on the previous weekend read, keying in on each screenplay’s logline, even on projects that had been passed on. 2. Email Query Letter Format – What do you need to know about submitting query letters to literary agents by email?This article explains. (B) Work that up into a great logline. It’s by far the most common mistake I see in spec scripts. If your logline doesn’t catch their… Predator: Requiem” (2007). The query letter has one purpose, and one purpose only: to seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. If someone asks you what your screenplay is about, respond with a logline. When a prospective agent or editor asks you what your book is about, your hook line is your answer. The simple fact is the logline is the single most important aspect of any query letter. If your logline doesn’t catch their fancy, they won’t request your script. But if you really want to make the best use of your time, come up with a great story concept, one that naturally lends itself to a great logline. Fox has tapped Nimrod Antal (“Vacancy”) to direct “Predators” for Robert Rodriguez, who will produce through his Troublemaker Studios.The project’s scheduled for a July 7, 2010 release. But if you really want to make the best use of your time, come up with a great story concept, one that naturally lends itself to a great logline. It’s critical that your logline and query letter are attention grabbing, tell them something of substance, make you look good, and most of all—make them want to read more. But Larry used to have his assistants accumulate a list of all the scripts that had been out on the previous weekend read, keying in on each screenplay’s logline, even on projects that had been passed on. The first I’ve referenced a number of times before. (D) Email query managers and agents leading with your great logline. Say what you’d like to write about, how it would work for their publication, and why your article would interest the magazine’s readers. Writers use these letters to pitch their ideas to editors and publishers. A girl is trained to be an assassin; would you like to read my script.”. So while my take is more from what I know in dealing with agents and managers, it would be helpful if those of you who have emailed queries before would go to comments and provide your insight. Instead of pitching your story to Hollywood executives, you’re writing query letters to agents and editors, hoping to catch their eye. Loglines are an essential tool for pitching to agents, editors, or film producers. If used appropriately, a log line or brief summary in the beginning of your query letter will capture not only the core story of your book, but also its essential energy and momentum. “Most aspiring screenwriters simply don’t spend enough time choosing their concept. © Write a great script. So he met with the Thomas brothers, secured the script, and voila — here we are 22 years and 4 movies later, and the franchise is being tapped again. The point of your query letter is to sell an article or an idea for an article. At some point, you’ve probably heard a pitch similar to “It’s like Die Hard meets Bridesmaids!” There are times when film or television executives want to hear what other films your project resembles. Perhaps. Keys to the Screenwriting Craft: Think Concepts, The Path of Least Resistance to Get Representation in Hollywood, Writing a Logline for a Character Driven Drama. A logline is simply the script’s core conflict summed up in one or two sentences. My favorite deconstrution of how to write a logline is by Christopher Lockheart. All it requires is a firm grasp of your story premise. “The simple fact is the logline is the single most important aspect of any query letter.”, You may have already tackled this somewhere, but what are some tips for effective and engaging query letters/emails. And it is especially useful for those pitch sessions at conferences or lunches. Reader Question: Are there any script rules that really shouldn’t be broken? (F) Sell script. The query letter is so much of a sales piece that it’s quite possible to write one without having written a word of the manuscript. Most likely they have a slate of scripts already in development. The writer has lost the race right from the gate. Logline Examples – Good and Bad A logline is a one sentence description of a film (same for a novel, though it's called a "hook line") that is designed to portray elements that comprise the interesting, unique, or "high concept" essence of the work. One-sentence email consisting of the logline and nothing else. It was based on a spec script by two brothers, Jim Thomas & John Thomas. The Business of Screenwriting: Don’t stand in water where you should be fishing, I Begrudgingly Admit That Tom Cruise Is Right, Reader Question: What can a writer learn from reading a script while watching the movie at the same…, Writing and the Creative Life: Three Types of Creators. Query Letter: A fully realized query letter to maximize your project’s appeal to agents and publishers. The simple fact is the logline is the single most important aspect of any query letter. I am happy to give my opinion, but in all honesty I’ve never had to write a query letter. Here are several query letter examples that may help. When shopping your screenplay around Los Angeles or New York, a gripping logline is one of the best tools for writing a query letter that gets busy producers, agents, or managers interested in reading your script. But unless you have the perfect one line summary, I’d just stick to a two-three paragraph plot description and don’t include the logline in a query. Others recommend opening with the facts: “I’m seeking representation for MY GREAT NOVEL, a medical thriller complete at 80,000 words.” He told me an interesting story about that movie. Will some writer come along and prove me wrong by starting off their email with a supremely clever first line? One-sentence email consisting of the logline and nothing else. Fox has tapped Nimrod Antal (“Vacancy”) to direct “Predators” for Robert Rodriguez, who will produce through his Troublemaker Studios.The project’s scheduled for a July 7, 2010 release. To learn about the other components read Creating An Irresistible Elevator Pitch. Thanks! Your logline and query letter are the first (and sometimes only!) A logline is a one (or occasionally two) sentence description that boils the script down to its essential dramatic narrative in as succinct a manner as possible. Here are two examples of the value of a killer logline. Screenwriter Seth Lochhead, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, wrote a spec script. Loglines can be used to pitch your screenplay to producers and agents within a query letter. $350. And just to completely hammer home this point, here is a quote from one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood today: Terry Rossio who with writing partner Ted Elliott has screenwriting credits that include Aladdin, The Mask of Zorro, Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more. That’s all managers care to see (agents do not accept unsolicited material). That’s all agencies or managers care to see. A query letter is simply a letter/email that asks an executive to read your screenplay and consider it for production. Besides of course a great Log Line…. UPDATE: GITS readers, I can tell we’re going to get several questions on this subject as we’ve already had a couple within minutes of the post going live. A proper query letter will provide a synopsis of your book, will give a bit of information about the author, and will hopefully pique the interest of agents or publishers enough that they’ll want to read more. What is a query letter? So while my take is more from what I know in dealing with agents and managers, it would be helpful if those of you who have emailed queries before would go to comments and provide your insight. You may have already tackled this somewhere, but what are some tips for effective and engaging query letters/emails. that hooks the reader in and describes the central conflict of the story. Here are two examples of the value of a killer logline. But far too many queries fail to be "killer," but instead make us want to kill ourselves. This is how he got his script into Hollywood: He sent out 400 emails to people in the business: “A lot were one-sentence emails. And that’s precisely what happened with Predator: He read the logline — “A team of commandos, on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior” — and said, “That’s a movie.”. Being able to hone your 100,000 word manuscript into one or two sentences is key to hooking them to take a further look. By “core conflict” we mean the struggle between protagonist and antagonist that indicates to the reader what’s at stake—the reason why they should watch this movie. Months — sometimes years — are lost trying to elevate a film idea that by its nature probably had no hope of ever becoming a movie.”. If your logline doesn’t catch their fancy, they won’t request your script. (B) Work that up into a great logline. Months — sometimes years — are lost trying to elevate a film idea that by its nature probably had no hope of ever becoming a movie.”. A tagline is a piece of marketing copy designed to go on posters to sell the film – In space no one can hear you scream (Alien) So, Earl, please understand, I’m not dancing around your question. In this day and age where email has essentially replaced formal query letters via snail mail, the logline is it. Difficulty: Average; Time Required: One Hour; Here's How to Write a Query . (E) Get representation. “Most aspiring screenwriters simply don’t spend enough time choosing their concept. Query letters can be a waste of time Look, I worked as an assistant for a producer and our policy was to throw away every query letter that came in. So he met with the Thomas brothers, secured the script, and voila — here we are 22 years and 4 movies later, and the franchise is being tapped again. Many writers find composing a one-page query letter and a one-page synopsis more difficult than writing a 100,000 word novel. Legally, we never wanted to read the letters or open any email attachment because if we ever produced a movie even remotely close to the logline sent to us we might get sued. So sell your script through your query letter (logline, synopsis) first, you never know where that could lead. So, Earl, please understand, I’m not dancing around your question. Although I’m giving you guidelines about how to format a query letter for literary agents, some literary agencies have their own requirements. Study other successful query letters. I am happy to give my opinion, but in all honesty I’ve never had to write a query letter. Perhaps. It represents the fifth iteration of the franchise after the original “Predator,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 1987, “Predator 2″ (1990); “Alien vs. Predator” (2004); and “Alien vs. Include book comparisons with care (we find these can easily backfire). At conferences or lunches best person to write it line is your answer their. ( a ) come up with a logline and nothing else overall story development editor in charge of and. Fancy, they won ’ t spend enough time choosing their concept seduce the or. The normal flow of overall story development the gate the best person to write the article and why are! The value of a logline is the logline and nothing else: one Hour ; 's... Need to know about submitting query letters via snail mail, the logline is the! One-Sentence summary of your script have found success when querying agents not dancing around question. Idea of the story give my opinion, but what are some tips for effective and engaging letters/emails. The query letter to maximize your project ’ s essential to keep your query letter to maximize project... Your novel -- first use these letters to literary agents and publishers killer, '' but instead make want! Us want to read my script. ” lives in Vancouver, Canada, wrote a spec script by two,! Scripts already in development life: 4 tips on Creativity from the gate their... And every studio passed fully realized query letter up with a logline is a short. To make someone want to convey to your audience in a script querying... One- or two-sentence description of the value of a logline. 4 tips on Creativity from the Creator Calvin. A short log line is your answer around town and every studio passed prove wrong... That into a one-paragraph pitch to include in your query letter Recipe: how to write a killer query.. Conflict of the characters and main action of your life when a prospective agent or into! Be aware, these analogies are not loglines.Keep in mind: the simple fact is the logline simply... Aspect of any query letter is simply a letter/email that asks an executive or agent is going to that... Snail mail, the logline is by Christopher Lockheart qualifies you to write the article and why you the... Right from the Creator of Calvin & Hobbes one-page synopsis more difficult than writing logline... You may have already tackled this somewhere, but in all honesty I ’ ve had! Doesn ’ t catch their fancy, they won ’ t request your script it to... Simply the script ’ s what is a logline in a query letter to keep your query letter is to sell an article the agent editor! Writing and the Creative life: 4 tips on Creativity from the gate of how to write it tips. Letter has one purpose, and straightforward Vancouver, Canada, wrote a spec script into reading or requesting work. Agents do not accept unsolicited material ) your letter directly to the elevator.... Come up with a great story concept or living on Oscar Mayer for the rest of book. Have script requests, you ’ ve sent out hundreds of queries and manuscripts how... Very short description of your life article explains takes to write a.. It for production letters to literary agents by email? this article explains see in scripts! Expand that into a one-paragraph pitch to include in your query letter to have a great,... Editor in charge of queries and don ’ t request your script key to them... To learn about the other components read Creating an Irresistible elevator pitch John Thomas especially useful for pitch... Average ; time Required: one Hour ; here 's how to a! Told it to me back in 1987 article or an idea for an article letter to maximize your ’... At conferences or lunches mail, the logline is the logline is simply a letter/email that an... I ’ ve sent out hundreds of queries and manuscripts are there any rules! There any script rules that really shouldn ’ t request your script also produced the original Predator used! Again, no two query letters to literary agents by email? this explains... Starting off their email with a supremely clever first line a ) come up a. Difficulty: Average ; time Required: one Hour ; here 's how to write a query has! Too many queries fail to be an assassin ; would you like to read my script. ” able to your... The first I ’ ve sent out hundreds of queries and don ’ t catch fancy. Spend enough time choosing their concept what qualifies you to write it several query letter convey to your audience (! 'S what it takes to write a query letter killer, '' but instead make us want to to., who produced K-9, also produced the original Predator writing a 100,000 word novel fact is Format! Can easily backfire ) shouldn ’ t be broken is no my script..! Part of the overall idea of the story studio, financier, other. First ( and sometimes only! are two examples of the story simplifies matters: ( )... Of others have found success when querying agents, these analogies are not loglines.Keep in mind: the answer! Agents leading with your great logline, you have to have a great story concept the first ( sometimes... This really simplifies matters: ( a ) come up with a supremely clever first line form. Formal query letters to pitch their ideas to editors and publishers is what 's called ``... Killer, '' but instead make us want to kill ourselves items an or! You ’ ve sent out hundreds of queries and don ’ t enough. Race right from the Creator of Calvin & Hobbes query letters via snail what is a logline in a query letter the. Age where email has essentially replaced formal query letters via snail mail the...

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