Saved by the Cat?
"What is it?" is the name of the game. "What is it?" is the movie. A good "What is it?" is the coin of the realm.
"It is a simple mental picture that promises fun and gives you enough of a peek into the storyline that you can see the potential."
Save the Cat!
"A logline is a one- or two-sentence description of your movie that tells us what it is."
"And concentrate on writing one sentence. One line. Because if you can learn how to tell me "What is it?" better, faster, and with more creativity, you'll keep me interested. And incidentally, by doing so before you start writing your script, you'll make the story better, too.
And what hook did Dan Brown use for The Da Vinci Code? The plot of the 450-page novel can be neatly summarised in 44 words, which Brown himself helpfully does on his website:
"A renowned Harvard symbologist is summoned to the Louvre Museum to examine a series of cryptic symbols relating to Da Vinci's artwork. In decrypting the code, he uncovers the key to one of the greatest mysteries of all time ... and he becomes a hunted man."
And our elevator speech for Obelisk Seven?
What is the link between seven obelisks which are sending out signals, an international television show on global warming, and a new oil-eating microbe which threatens the world’s energy supplies? And who is willing to kill to prevent others finding this link?
When Nick Kangles, the host of a global warming international television show, microbiologist Kate Stanton and Egyptologist Gliffy discover that an ancient Egyptian obelisk in Rome is sending out mysterious signals, they set out on an increasingly dangerous hunt across Europe, Egypt and America to find the secret of the signals.
A logline is like the cover of a book; a good one makes you want to open it, right now, to find out what's inside.
"... you must be able to see a whole movie in it... a good logline, once said, blossoms in your brain."
"The "who" is our way in. We, the audience, zero in on and project onto the "who" whether its an epic motion picture or a commercial for Tide detergent. The "who" gives us someone to identify with..."
"The logline is your story's code, its DNA, the one constant that has to be true... It is, in short, the touchstone, both for you the writer and the audience you're selling your movie to... The logline tells the hero's story: Who he is, who he's up against, and what's at stake."
One last note: when making your elevator speech, you should use what psychologists call the availability bias. We can learn a bit about this bias from Leonard Mlodinow.
How can you use the availability bias in your elevator speech?