Tagline vs Logline: Paint-brushes for pitching the story

Mar 17, 2023

Whether you’re a seasoned screenwriter or a budding filmmaker, understanding the difference between a tagline vs logline is crucial to noticing your movie or TV show. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of pitching your story and explore how these two essential elements of your script can either propel or hinder that journey.

First up, let’s talk about loglines. A logline is a brief summary of your plot that should grab the reader’s attention and give them a clear idea of what your movie or TV show is about. Think of it as the elevator pitch for your script – you have just a few seconds to hook your audience and make them want more. A good logline should be concise, engaging, and memorable.

Ketut Subiyanto

Tagline vs Logline | PHOTO BY KETUT SUBIYANTO

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  1. Atlantics (2019), directed by Mati Diop: “After a group of young construction workers vanish at sea, a young woman’s mystical connection to one of them leads her on a journey to uncover the truth.”
  2. Da 5 Bloods (2020), directed by Spike Lee: “Four African American veterans return to Vietnam decades after the war to find the remains of their fallen squad leader and a stash of buried treasure.”
  3. Jurassic Park (1993), directed by Steven Spielberg, “A wealthy entrepreneur invites a team of scientists to his jungle theme park, only to discover that the genetically engineered dinosaurs he’s created have a mind of their own.”
  4. Black Girl (1966), directed by Ousmane Sembene: “A young Senegalese woman moves from Dakar to France to work as a domestic servant for a wealthy white family, only to face racism and exploitation.”

Notice how each logline gives a clear idea of the main plot while also teasing the audience with a hint of intrigue or mystery. It’s a one-sentence summary that captures the essence of the story and sets up the stakes for the audience.
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Now, let’s move on to taglines. Unlike loglines, taglines are used primarily for marketing purposes. They should be catchy, memorable, and evoke an emotional response from the audience. A good tagline can make or break the success of your movie or TV show, as it’s often the first thing people see or hear about your project.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  1. “The past never stays in focus.” (Atlantics)
  2. “The legend you know. The story you don’t.” (Black Panther)
  3. “A story of the extraordinary lengths ordinary people will go to make ends meet.” (Clemency)
  4. “The future is a dangerous place.” – (Pumzi

Notice how these taglines are memorable phrases that don’t necessarily give away the plot but instead focus on the themes or emotions of the story. They’re designed to pique the audience’s interest and make them want to learn more.

 

Tagline vs Logline: How do you write a killer logline or tagline? 

Start by identifying the core of your story. What’s the central conflict? Who are the main characters? What’s at stake? Once you’ve got a handle on that, distil it into one or two sentences that capture the essence of your story.

For a compelling logline:

  • Ensure to include the protagonist and what they want or need to achieve in the story.
  • Highlight the central conflict in your story, such as the primary obstacle or challenge.
  • Emphasise what sets your story apart from others in the same genre.
  • Keep it to one sentence and avoid spoilers or unnecessary details.
  • Use strong action verbs and avoid passive voice to create a sense of urgency and momentum.

To write an attention-grabbing tagline:

  • Focus on the tone, theme, or emotion of your story.
  • Use vivid language that creates mental images in the audience’s mind.
  • Keep it short, sweet, and memorable.
  • Emphasise what makes your story unique.
  • If appropriate for the tone of your story, use wordplay or puns.

In conclusion, while taglines and loglines may sound similar, they serve different purposes in hooking your audience. Use a tagline to create buzz and intrigue and a logline to summarise your plot and entice potential buyers. With the right combination of both, you’ll have a winning pitch that will leave your audience wanting more.

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