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There are two principal uses for loglines:
- In printed form, such as a television listing, a logline serves to inform the reader – a potential television viewer – of the content of the program.
- Television listings are found in printed publications such as local newspapers, magazines such as TV Guide, electronic form on websites, and electronic program guides such as those provided by satellite TV and DVR services.
- These listings can be editorial in nature – representing some degree of journalism – or they can tend more toward advertising, or some combination (see advertorial). If a log line is written by the publication, it may be relatively objective; if the log line is furnished by the production company, it effectively serves as an advertising tagline to increase viewership of the program being described.
- In Hollywood jargon, a logline is a one-sentence summary of the pitch for a proposed film or television program. Such a sales pitch is often used by a screenwriter to secure development support from a studio executive.
The logline first came into use and was recognized as a separate form during the old studio days of Hollywood. The studios had script vaults in which they stored screenplays. Readers wrote a concise one line summary of what the script was about either on the cover of the script, on the spine of the script, or both. The log line on the spine of the script allowed people to read the log lines of scripts that were stacked without having to unstack them.
The logline allowed studio executives, producers, directors, and actors to scan a great many scripts quickly while searching for a project that they were interested in that met their needs, whether love story, horror film, action film, comedy or drama.
Charlie Brown is finally invited to a Halloween party; Snoopy engages the Red Baron in a dogfight; and Linus waits patiently in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin.
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