Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Logline

I hummed and hawed. Why do I want to go to a scriptwriting workshop? It’s not like I’m about to try writing a movie script. But I was curious, that’s all – especially when I checked out the workshop facilitator’s website. Danishka Esterhazy was not only an award-winning writer, but she’d worked with historical fiction. I knew then that I had to go. My curiousity was not disappointed - the three hour workshop was fantastic.

I learned so much – not about film-making (just awed) - but about story. And without story, you have no movie, no novel, no reader. Danishka dropped the names of a few big weights in the movie scriptwriting business – names of workshops she’s participated in. But I want to be brief here, so I’ll just share one gold nugget.

In her introduction she said, “Art is fire plus algebra.” I don’t remember who she attributed that quote to, but it’s a great image. Now, while I don’t have the happiest relationship with algebra, I have overcome some of my childhood aversion.

Here is the formula for a logline. What is a logline, you ask? It’s the pitch, the story condensed down to its barest form.

(Title) is a (genre) story about (your main character) who (experiences a life changing event) and then must (struggle towards a goal).

The logline should be thirty words or less and it should contain active verbs. It’s a great exercise for any writer and I’m really liking the challenge of applying some algebra to my own work.

2 comments:

Barrie said...

I like that formula!

Coleen said...

Hi Gabe, I"ll have to try out that logline. Thanks for following on my blog. Your is quite interesting, especially since I am an American living in Ukraine. My Ukraine mission blog might be of interest to you: www.franksukraine.blogspot.com. I shall follow here too. Nice to meet you.
Coleen