questionmarkWhat is the best way to write a short logline for a screenplay with dual storylines, especially if both storylines are crucial to the telling of the story?

I feel like scripts with multiple storylines (3+ stories) like Pulp Fiction or Crash can rely on simple loglines that get across the overall theme of the story. But what about scripts with two distinct storylines that parallel one another…do you pack both storylines into the logline? Or do you pick one and focus the on it?

— Mac
Los Angeles

Some movies are really difficult to logline. Go is one. When forced to give a short description, I try to chart the three main threads: “It’s about a really tiny drug deal, a wild night in Vegas and two soap opera actors — all of which cross paths at LA’s underground rave scene.”

Again, not great. But it gets the job done.

For something like Big Fish, I make the parallel structure clear: “It’s the story of a man’s life, told the way he remembers it: full of wild, impossible exaggerations. At the same time, his grown son is trying to separate the truth from the fantasy before his dad dies.”

Julie and Julia has dual storylines, yet summarizes easily: “It’s the story of a young woman determined to cook her way through Julia Child’s famous cookbook, intercut with the adventures of Julia Child’s life.”

If both plotlines are key to your story, you need to make that clear in the logline. Otherwise, you risk future readers feeling like you bait-and-switched them.