We had a busy time last week. Paul Foley kicked off our “Reverse Engineering Success” series of one-off events; this time focusing on the function and importance of loglines. Veteran agent Marc Pariser stopped by for an open forum succinctly titled “How to Get Representation When You Haven’t Had a Credit in Ten Years.” Though each event touched on different facets of the business of screenwriting, each provided helpful insights into effectively navigating and engaging with today’s market.
Here are some of the main takeaways for those of you who were not able to attend.
“Reverse Engineering Success: Loglines”
Just as in all aspects of writing, writing loglines is a muscle you must develop and workout constantly. Loglines are the calling card for the industry today. Agents and reps have a limited amount of time, so you need to be able to communicate your idea in the, usually, very small amount of time you’re allotted. Loglines must be simple and concise.
A good logline functions as the calling card for your story. . Writing a good one is all about rewriting and refining and it’s the place to work out the issues and stumbling blocks with your idea. Just as your script won’t be perfect on the first try, neither will your logline. Strip away anything unnecessary to get to the heart and truth of your story.
In addition, to be competitive in today’s market, you need an arsenal of loglines and ideas. Get in the habit of generating 1 to 3 loglines per day. You need to constantly generate ideas. Try writing a logline for movies and TV shows that you love. Try summarizing them in one word, then three, then 10 and so on. In order to maximum the chances of success, do your research, study what others have done, and practice, practice, practice.
“How to Get Representation When You Haven’t Had a Credit in Ten Years”
Establishing and fostering relationships is the most important step you can take in this business, so it’s important to realize that people need to like you. Resentment will get you nowhere. Respect and courtesy go a long way. Engage those you admire by engaging their egos. If you are obvious about trying to sell them something, it’s obvious you are trying to use them. Instead, ask them questions, learn about them, and participate in a conversation. The relationship will lead to the sale, so don’t skip the “dating” process.
When engaging with the industry today, you must do what the agents are doing. Stop thinking like a writer and start thinking like an entrepreneur. Look at yourself like a product. Getting a chair when the music stops is all about being nimble and creative. It’s your job to understand where the opportunities are and are not. Learn to put yourself out there.