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THE SAVE THE CAT LOGLINE

BASIC LOGLINE:

Any Story Concept starts with a what if Story Idea: A single line sentence stating the
Hero and Conflict or the Situation and Conflict.

What if x happed to y? x can be a character or a situation.

Any story idea what if with a character or a situation can create a Single Line Logline
Story Concept by adding in a compelling desire.

It is a story about a (hero)________ who wants to (outer motivation/compelling
desire)______________.

A basic logline is useful for marketing your story after it is written, and is good for displaying in
public spaces to entice readers. Thus, it is often created after the story has already been
completed.

An enhanced logline is a more involved summary of a story, and is used by the author to help
define major story elements before writing their first draft.

ENHANCED LOGLINE:

The Save The Cat Logline Template by Blake Snyder is a great story-tester to see if you
have all the story elements you need for a story concept.

By plugging the components of your story idea into the STC Logline Template, you can create
a mini-story that will not only help you organize your simple what if concept, but will help
you develop a solid story concept.

Snyders what is it logline is composed of the hero (with a descriptive adjective),
and the heros compelling, ironic, primal goal (written to spark images of
possibilities), and the antagonist (also with a descriptive adjective).

What if, examples:
What if, a bullheaded cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and has to stop high
tech terrorist who take over her office building? (Die Hard)

What if, a tomboy FBI agent had to go undercover in a beauty pageant to stop a serial
killer bent on revenge? (Miss Congeniality)

What if, a pregnant high school teen gave up her baby for adoption to a couple getting a
divorce? (Juno)

Jose Silerio, Development Director for Snyder, has enhanced his basic what is it logline and
created a format called the Save The Cat Logline Template defined as:

STC Template:
On the verge of a (Stasis=Death moment), a (flawed protagonist) has a (Catalyst
and Breaks Into Two with the B Story); but when the (Midpoint) happens, he/she
must learn the (Theme Stated), before the (All Is Lost), to defeat (or stop) the (flawed
antagonist) (from getting away with his/her plan).

Explanation:
At a Stasis=Death moment (if things dont change, something will end or die), a
flawed Protagonist (the flaw proving an obstacle to the resolution) has a Catalyst
(something that happens to change the situation) and Breaks into Act Two with the B
Story (the subplot or underlying foundation of the situation); however, when the
Midpoint (pivotal event or crisis) happens, the protagonist MUST learn the Theme
Stated (whatever is the underlying theme of the story) before All is Lost (the
antagonist wins) to defeat the flawed Antagonist (the flaw being the cause of the
antagonists defeat).

Template examples:
On the verge of a divorce, a bullheaded street-smart (N.Y.) cop is trapped in his
wifes office building by terrorists and teams up with a (L.A.) desk cop
patrolman to thwart them; but when he taunts the terrorists, and risks exposing
his hostage wifes identity, he must learn to adapt to change (use his brains and
not his brawn) to outsmart the (clever) leader, and stop what are really thieves from
getting away with a six-hundred and forty million dollar heist. (Die Hard)

On the verge of another suit and tie assignment, a tomboy FBI agent is assigned
to go undercover in the American Miss Pageant and has a complete makeover to
blend in with the other contestants; but when the pageant receives a new threat, she
must learn she can be a woman and tough, before she gets thrown off the case, to
defeat the warped pageant organizer bent on revenge. (Miss Congeniality)

On the verge of another dull year of high school, a pregnant teen decides to have
her baby and give it up for adoption; but when an afternoon with the would-be
adoptive husband convinces her shes found the right couple, she must learn that
some things in life cant be undone, when the seemingly perfect couple, decide to
get divorced. (Juno)

On the verge of another meaningless year, a repressed high school nerd gets an
unexpected visit from his crush and is left on his own under the care of his loser
uncle to pursue her; but when enlisted by his best friend to win the student
presidency, he must realize he has more depth than others think, before he loses
his crushs friendship forever, and can finally gain his snobby peers respect.
(Napoleon Dynamite)

THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF THE STC LOGLINE TEMPLATE ARE:

1. You need a Stasis=Death moment. This is when the hero knows he needs to change.
(On the verge of a divorce, another suit and tie assignment, another dull year of
high school, another meaningless year)

Explanation of Stasis=Death moment: We know what death means. Stasis means
things staying the same. Since all stories are about transformation. No one
wants to change, which is why stories help us address this in our lives. That idea is
at the heart of Stasis = Death.

The Stasis = Death beat is that little moment right before the call to
adventure/Catalyst. Its that moment when the hero gets a hint that change is
needed in his life, and even though he isnt ready for it yet, he can sense that it has
to happen.

2. Who is your Protagonist and what is their Flaw? (a bullheaded street-wise cop, a
tomboy FBI agent, a pregnant teen, repressed high school nerd)

#2 the flaw (a tomboy FBI agent) should tell you what #5 the Theme Stated is
(a tomboy FBI agent must learn she can be a woman and tough) and vice versa.

3. What is your Catalyst that Breaks into Two? (is trapped in his wifes office building
by terrorists and teams up with a (L.A.) desk cop patrolman to thwart them, is
assigned to go undercover in the American Miss Pageant and has a complete
makeover to blend in with the other contestants, decides to have her baby and
give it up for adoption, gets an unexpected visit from his crush and is left on his
own under the care of his loser uncle to pursue her) (The A-Story and the B-Story)

4. What is the Midpoint of your story? (but when he taunts the terrorists, and risks
exposing his hostage wifes identity, but when the pageant receives a new threat,
but when an afternoon with the would-be adoptive husband convinces her shes found
the right couple, but when enlisted by his best friend to win the student
presidency)

5. What is your Theme Stated? This is part of the change in the character where he must
overcome his heros flaw. (he must learn to adapt to change (use his brains and not
his brawn), she must learn she can be a woman and tough, she must learn that
some things in life cant be undone, he must realize he has more depth than
others think)

#5 the Theme Stated is the internal conflict (she must learn she can be a
woman and tough,) and when combined with #2 the Flaw (a tomboy FBI agent)
they work together to create the Heros arc.
o A tomboy FBI agent must learn she can be a woman and be tough.

To figure out #5 Theme Stated come up with #2 the flaw of your character. And
then decide what it is that they must learn internally. Add them together and you
have your Heros arc!

o A tomboy FBI agent must learn she can be a woman and be tough;
o A bullheaded street-wise cop must learn to adapt to change (use his
brains and not his brawn;
o A pregnant teen must learn that some things in life cant be undone;
o A repressed high school nerd must realize he has more depth than
others think)

6. You need an All is Lost moment. This means that if he doesnt change he will lose
everything. (before she gets thrown off the case)

If she could only change and be less #2 the Flaw (a tomboy FBI agent) then
she could fix #6 the All is Lost. (Not get thrown off the case.)

7. Who is it that needs defeated (or stopped), the flawed antagonist. (to defeat the
warped pageant organizer)?

8. What is the flawed antagonist plan? (bent on revenge)

This is why using the Logline Template is so helpful. Your Logline is the quick pitch of your
movie and should be like a movie trailer giving the reader an idea in their minds-eye as you
pitch your story what they are going to SEE happening, WHO its going to be happening to and
WHO is going to be stopping them from reaching their GOAL- and the flaw in the Antagonist.

Use the following chart as an aid to help complete your WA#1 STC Logline exercise.
Fill in the following details about your story idea:

On the verge of (Stasis=Death moment),
a (flawed protagonist),
has a (Catalyst and Breaks Into Two with
the B Story),

but when the (Midpoint) happens,
he/she must learn the (Theme Stated),
before/when the (All Is Lost),
to defeat/stop the (flawed antagonist),
from (getting away with his/her plan)
(antagonist plan)