Just to be clear. I’m not talking about a writer whose name is what gets a script read. So, for example, if Terry Rossio & Ted Elliott have a script, their logline could suck ass, and everyone would be climbing over themselves to read their script anyway. Maybe they don’t even have to write loglines anymore (why should they?!) but I’m talking about Ms. No-Name-Writer here, with “please-read-my-script” tattooed on her forehead. The thing that will get my script read is a good logline.
Is that fair? Damn straight it is. Because the flip side to this is, I often only see a movie if the tagline grabs me via advertising. And that’s a whole completed movie that potentially took years, and tons of people, and lots of money, and I bet their fair share of tears, to make. And I can judge all that work by one line in two seconds and sum it up with “Nah sounds boring.” And I move onto the next movie in the list. I do this. I sometimes even judge a whole body of work on just the title alone! I do. I bet you do too.
Before I started marketing my scripts, I knew I had to write one; I saved it for the end (procrastinated), categorized it under “cursed marketing” and didn’t really give it much weight. WRONG. I couldn’t have been more misguided.
It will show me if my main character is worth writing a story about. It will tell me if the conflict is big enough and if the stakes are high enough. But most importantly… it will tell me if my story has heart. It will show me if it’s a movie I would want to see or if I would pass over it in a listing of 15 other movies with “Nah sounds boring”. It would make it perfectly clear to me, what is it about this story that I simply have to tell it? It will sell me on my story.