- Together with the Character, this is the most important part of the logline. Screen stories are about what we SEE on the screen, which is mostly Action. Also, through a character’s actions do we truly understand what they are really about. So when you describe the psychology as part of the Character, it will relate to how they will behave throughout the story. It can also be very difficult to do this in only a few words. In the logline, we try to capture the essence of the character’s main goal and their actions to achieve it. Don’t write any internal goals here, only what is visible. In Breaking Bad, Walter White wants to feel alive, but that’s not the action we see on the screen. He needs to collect $740,000, and he does this by cooking meth. That’s the Action/Goal.
- Although it may sound a little quirky, there is an old tradition in the industry to express the action/goal in a logline preceded by the word ‘must’. Why? Because it indicates a compulsion that can be either internal, external, or both. Either the character is forced by the circumstances, or they feel this is the most important thing they will ever do or achieve within the story.
- For the logline to work, you will write the action goal preceded by the word ‘to’. E.g.: “to save her daughter from the hands of the terrorists.” But you would only include this as the Action/Goal if this is actually what we see the Main Character DO in the screen story. In other words, try to separate the desire (e.g. in Inception: “to see his kids again”) from the action goal (“to plant an idea in a subject’s dream.”).
Whatever you write now doesn’t have to be perfect.
You can play around with it later, and edit the logline generator’s outcome.
These notes complement the Logline Generator, developed in partnership with Story Architect.
Our thanks also go to Peter Boot, who coded the very first Logline Generator.