A Brand Logline

Viki King her book How to Write a Movie in 21 Days: The Inner Movie Method explains the need, by page three of a script, to give the audinece a clear understanding of what motivates the characters and what they are trying to accomplish. This means that near the third minute of a movie the objective has been clearly established. If you pay attention this is often clearly stated by a key character.  

In the classic neo-noir film Chinatown the main character Jake Gittes, played by the incomparable Jack Nicholson says, “You have to be rich to get away with murder.” This statement encapsulates the entire movie. It’s the thread that ties it all together.

I would say, it is just as critical, maybe even more so, to have a clear declaration of what your marketing is trying to accomplish. 

This clarity can only be accomplished with a crystal clear understanding of the main character’s objective. The discipline of writing what the film industry calls a logline helps facilitate that kind of clarity. A logline is one sentence active description of what the movie is really about. For example, the logline for Silence of the Lambs would read something like this:

A female FBI trainee must enlist the aid of a brilliant, imprisoned serial killer to catch another serial killer-at-large.

Every word, every shot, every piece of music should support that central theme. When it doesn’t the audience is confused and the next thing you know you can buy that movie’s DVD at an end cap of your local grocery store for under $5. 

I propose writing a logline for your brand story as a way to capture a clear objective. What is your single goal? What does success look like and what action do you want the audience to take? Tell this in 25 words or less with as much cogency as you can muster. While the limit of 25 words might seem an impossible hurdle it is the very thing that drives clarity. 

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