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Script Analysis Worksheet To Create A Great Film Logline AND 1st Act

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October 7, 2010 6 comments
script logline

Writing a logline based on the actions of your protagonist in Act 1 is one of the best ways to make it tight and compelling. Use this script analysis worksheet to find out how.

As you know, it’s important to form a great logline before setting out on writing a screenplay. If you have a vague and / or uninspiring logline, your script will likely be vague and uninspiring too.

This script analysis worksheet, however, will ensure that all the right plot points are in all the right places for the logline, and hence the first Act.

Firstly, What Makes A Great Logline?

The film logline should encompass what your story’s about, the main conflict, preferably with irony, what’s at stake, the setting / world, protagonist and antagonist.

A logline can be divided into two halves and how these two halves make up sequence A and B of your Act 1. (Click here to read more about sequences in screenplay structure.)

They are:

Part 1 – Sequence A: A protagonist + crisis.

Part 2 – Sequence B: The decision they make about this crisis.

For the first part, ask yourself, who is my hero? Whether it’s Travis Bickle or Erin Brockovich every story needs a protagonist who drives the story. Add them to the a page entitle “script analysis worksheet.”

Next, ask  yourself “What’s interesting about the world of my story? And what’s the major crisis (force of antagonism) that spins my protagonist’s life out of control?”

This point refers to the screenplay’s Call to Action around 12 minutes in, and is the strike by the antagonist that gives a logline (and Act 1) it’s surprising “oh no!” factor. Add this to the page too.

For the second part, you need to ask yourself, “What decision does my protagonist make regarding this crisis? This is your script’s Act 1 turning point and signals the goal they hope to achieve by the climax.

It’s only once you know the answers to these questions and added them to the script analysis worksheet that you can begin to write a compelling film logline.

Let’s Do Some Script Analysis Of Popular Loglines

Here are some logline examples:

An IRS auditor realizes he’s a character in a novel that’s still being written. Then, he has to stop the author from killing him off.” — Stranger Than Fiction.

The realization that he’s a character in a novel is the script’s Call to Action and, sure enough, occurs ten minutes into the film. The second part indicates the decision he makes regarding the crisis — the Act 1 turning point that propels him (and us) into Act 2.

Also notice how big stakes are attached through putting his life at stake if he doesn’t stop the author (antagonist) from killing him off in the novel.

When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it”. — Jaws.

And…

A 40 year old man is exposed as a virgin, and takes up the challenge set by his work buddies to sleep with a woman.” — The 40 Year Old Virgin.

Again, in both of these examples we have a crisis facing a protagonist(s) and a decision—the Call to Action and Act One turning points in the film.

Make sure whenever you’re writing a logline you first apply this screenplay analysis to the idea. Make up a script analysis worksheet, take your Call to Action and Act 1 turning point and use them to create a rocking logline.

6 Comments
  1. Dionne Fields says:

    I love this site, how it helps screen writer to create a better logline.
    most of all I like, the examples that they have as well. This is such a great site for all script and screen writers all across the globe.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Dionne!

  2. Petra Fyed Forrest says:

    This is soooo helpful. Thanks for putting this together, I feel like my concept will be so much easier to write now.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome 🙂

  3. amani hamisi says:

    thank you very much i have learnt alot

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Amani. Glad it helped.

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