Creating a logline for a TV show project.



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  • Creating a logline for a TV show project.


    I have been trying to create a drama TV series and I would like to learn your methods and suggestions to make the best loglines as much as possible.

    Where do you start first? Protagonist, environment or the goal? I am personaly fan of shows (like Lost, La Casa De Papel or Squid Game) that takes places mostly in unique environments. Is it fine to consider the environment first?

    What about the time scope of loglines? I mean is it true that the logline should at least (hypothetically) cover the first season and if it conver only less than the first season then it is unacceptable?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Otuken View Post

    I have been trying to create a drama TV series ...Where do you start first? Protagonist, environment or the goal?
    Start with the Character Web.

    In the old days, tv shows were created around a "star." The Andy Griffith Show, The Danny Thomas Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Perry Como Hour, Leave It To Beaver. Today, you can't say the word "beaver" on tv without at least two characters smirking. But I digress.

    Today a show has seven main characters.

    The character web is the diagram of relationships. Each pairing of two characters has a set dynamic that creates humor, tension, pushes the story forward, etc.

    Every joke on "Friends" grew out of the character web drawn on a white board in the Head Writer's office. When Joey decided to date Rachel, they added a second white board next to the first one just for that relationship. (No!)

    Give me a show you admire to use as my example.

    The new "FBI" by Dick Wolf? Jubal runs the Situation Room at FBI HQ in New York. He spent years drinking heavily after his wife died and he now has a romantic relationship with a female FBI agent who outranks him.

    Alana de Garza came from a previous Law & Order, she also outranks Jubal but defers to his judgment. There are four agents (Maggie, her partner the West Point graduate OA, a former Wall Street broker, and his new partner a former NYPD homicide detective.) (And a big room full of agents who read their lines off of computer screens.)

    Map out the relationship of each character to each of the other characters. Each relationship drives the plot forward in some manner.

    Plotwide, there is a cliffhanger before each commercial break. Plot is skewed to show violent action involving the agents. The head of a cartel is arrested and bargains for his release by locking a bomb collar around an analyst's neck. A graphic threat to a character in each episode, so they can spend a few minutes reflecting on how violent their job has become in today's New York. Dick Wolf has a large Rolodex full of NY character actors from many seasons of Law & Order.

    MASH was a great example of the character web. When Henry Blake died, each of the others reacted in an appropriate way to the loss.

    John Truby: In many of the best serials, writers explore the moral element in life, both within and among characters. Starting with the central moral problem of the hero, they make all other characters some variation of that problem.

    A show with a unique character web — in which each character is set in proper structural opposition to the others — is the only way writers can create great stories for several years. Technically, an anti-hero is simply the opposite of the classic hero in some way. He, or she, may be a bumbler, a holy fool or a rebel. He may be a killer like Tony Soprano, a liar and philanderer like Don Draper (Mad Men), a meth dealer and a killer like Walter White (Breaking Bad) or a Machiavellian schemer and killer like Frank Underwood (House of Cards).

    These characters are not just bad — that’s simplistic and could not produce great stories for long. They are complex, which means they have moral contradictions. Many have a highly compartmentalized moral code that constantly tests them to the depths of their being.

    One of the main ways the top TV dramas structure their episodes and seasons is to sequence the difficult moral challenges the heroes face. In this era when the serial drama is king, what a show runner is looking for in hiring a staff writer is: can this person not only break the story of an individual episode, but also help sequence the stories of all the episodes to build... (end of LINK)

    Each show needs a Desire Line ... and a Gimmick. Except for Breaking Bad... (tab for next page. Deposit $2 in the appropriate slot.)
    Last edited by VoltarReturns; 01-03-2022, 06:59 AM.


    • #3
      There are many other websites, but I just googled: "Logline for TV Series Examples" and found this -- you want Compelling Characters and Intriguing Worlds:

      How to Craft the Perfect TV Series Logline - ScreenCraft

      Start with a General Logline Structure

      To get a feel for how a logline should read, start with a basic structure.
      • Must [OBJECTIVE]…
      • Before [STAKES].

      A financial adviser drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder $500 million in five years to appease a drug boss.


      A family man struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood.

      The Morning Show

      An inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by the men and women who carry out this daily televised ritual.

      The Mandalorian

      The travels of a mysterious lone bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy as he risks his life to protect a powerful child wanted by the remnants of the Galactic Empire.


      New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life that affect his mental state, leading him to seek professional psychiatric counseling.

      Game of Thrones

      Nine noble families fight for control over the lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for millennia.

      Orange Is the New Black

      Convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting drug money to an ex-girlfriend, normally law-abiding woman is sentenced to a year and a half behind bars to face the reality of how life-changing prison can really be.

      Mad Men

      A mysterious but extremely talented ad executive at New York’s most prestigious ad agency during the beginning of the 1960s battles his demons and struggles to stay at the top of the ultra-competitive advertising industry.


      A look at the personal and professional lives of a group of women who perform for a wrestling organization in Los Angeles during the 1980s.

      Breaking Bad

      A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family’s future.