Visual Logline

This is an expanded version of If You Can’t See The Movie Poster, Don’t Write The Script.

A visual logline is the graphic representation of your screenplay. It is developed from the story swirling around in your head. It can be drawn with pen and paper or created using a computer program. It doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty, just a non-word representation of your story that displays the story idea or concept. If you have a logline, (and I hope you do) visualize it. If you know a graphic artist, ask him/her to help you. Have you ever noticed that when you ask someone to share a skill, they jump at the chance? Remember, you’re not looking for a Van Gogh painting, just a visual that represents your story. Creating a visual might tap into an idea you hadn’t thought about. The more you see before you write, the better the writing.

When I queried a script consultant on the use of visual loglines, she wrote back the following:

You are completely correct with visualizing…before you write the screenplay…There are even writers who bring in a finished poster to pitch meetings (and rumors abound in Hollywood of screenplays that sold because of the poster.)

Query the art department of a local high school or college. Ask if the art students might be interested in creating a visual based on your written logline and story.

A poster may be included with your query letter to production companies and agents. But remember, a badly drawn poster can quickly sink a query. And don’t include the poster as an attachment. It will not be opened. Put it in the body of your query letter or ask if you can use snail mail to send the query letter and poster.

There’s a saying in Hollywood: the screenwriter owns the screenplay (the words) and the director owns the film (the visual representation.) Why not start with a visual? Think of it as a “heads up” on what the screenplay is about.

A poster-driven pitch or query along with a kick-ass screenplay could spell success.



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