film loglineI wasn’t sure how a film industry practice would translate to a business marketing technique; but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  And the more I believe, now, that this is the future of networking, on- and off-line.

Last week I sat in a conference room with my networking group comrades, same as I do every Wednesday morning.  I look forward to this weekly gathering; a few laughs and some referrals are shared.  We’re a motley crue of professionals from different industries, ranging from financial services to law to health care and everything in between.  One of the things I love about this group is the members’ passion for improving their business skills and, thus, building their businesses.  We seem to instinctively gravitate during each meeting to a conversation about best practices or new trends that we can take away and use that day in our own work. It’s stimulating and fun and an hour of my week that I value very much.  So back to last week. Last week, we were sitting in Mark’s conference room and he brings out copies of an exercise he’d recently done during a workshop recently; he felt it was valuable to share with the group. The exercise centered around loglines.

When I first heard the term, the only thing that came to mind was a bunch of Brawny paper towel-esque lumberjacks in a row, wearing plaid flanel shirts and knitted skull-caps.  Apparently, I was wrong.  A logline is a short description of a movie or television show that provides a brief summary and emotional hook to stimulate interest in that work.  It’s a crucial element in the TV and film industry used to pitch new ideas to execs considering green-lighting a project.  Once I understood what a logline was (thank you, Google!), I saw the value in this logline exercise that Mark provided for us.

If a logline is a quick (25 words or less) description of a project intended to entice a buyer (the executive) to purchase the product (the show or movie), why can’t we, as professionals, have our own loglines to encourage our own potential clients and referral sources to purchase our product?  We can! Duh.

The New Elevator Speech

For others, it might be an “a-ha!” moment; for me it was a “duh” moment.  It seems so simple. It’s better and quicker than the traditional “elevator speech.”  In an era where attention spans are shortened to 140 characters or less, the logline is a good way to convey your brand- company or personal- to an audience of potential buyers, and entice them to act.  Short and attention-getting.

Like Ye Olde Elevator Speech, it’s tough to concisely and effectively “sell” in such a small span of time or space.  Consider the following questions used to create a film logline, from Scriptologist.com (with business/marketing “subtitles” a la Jess):

1. Who is your main character (audience) and what do they want (goals/wants/needs)?

2. What challenges or villains does your main character face (obstacles)?

3. What makes this story unique (why are you THE person/company to help the audience achieve their goal?)

Remember, your logline should be short, easy to say and easy to remember.  Try to keep it to 25 words or less, like the movie pros do.  Be patient, take your time.  This won’t come quickly or easily; like your elevator speech, your logline can/should be fluid so you can constantly improve it.  Give your new logline a premiere at your next in-person networking meeting, or consider an online launch for your social media profiles. Make your logline memorable, and make yourself the hero of your movie- because they’ll be buying from you!

When I finalize my logline, I’ll share it with you.  Share your logline with me in the “comments” section!  We can help each other develop a perfect pitch.

Here are a couple of other media industry blog posts to help inspire you in your logline development:

Cracking Yarns
The Write Practice