Your tag line, log line, or “elevator pitch.”
Whatever you want to call it, it’s important that you have one for your film — or even just for your idea for a film that hasn’t been made yet.
Last week we asked all of you to share your dream stories with us, and we got a ton of great submissions. Seriously, all great ideas!
However, there was one little problem…THEY WERE WAY TOO LONG!
Now, we certianly didn’t specify a length requirement, so we’ll give you that. BUT, it did get us thinking about the importance of having a one-sentence tagline for any film.
Something to the effect of: “It’s a film about…”
…only 100x less boring.
The best part: you can immediately start putting these tips to use, because we’re announcing a big contest for storytellers on January 1st (more on this below…)
“Why is this so important to have a go-to line for my film? Can’t I just speak from the heart and tell them all about my great story?”
There are a few major reasons why it’s essential that you have a brief go-to line about your story:
Get them interested, keep them interested. With a short and intriguing tagline for your film, you can quickly spark interest — and keep your listener/reader wanting more.
People are busy. Don’t give TMI about your story! Talking about the entire film is too much. With a tagline, you’re really only trying to do one thing: engage. Engage them, and make them want to see more.
Set expectations. This is your chance to set expectations for the film. Why are expectations important? They help the viewer see what you’re excited about before they even see the film.
“This is Amber and Scott’s wedding film.”
“These are two people who love burritos as much as they love each other.”
The second one pulls us in by comparing burritos to marriage, and it sets up the expectation that we’re about to see something that is unique, original, and as much about burritos as it is love.
Six tips to craft a great elevator pitch…
Finding the perfect words will be the tough part — and the fun part. Don’t expect for the magic to present itself right away, and follow these 6 general rules:
1. Leave them wondering.
You want them to be intrigued enough to ask more, look you up online later, or press play. This is what an elevator pitch or log line is meant for — to spark interest. Always prioritize intrigue when crafting an elevator pitch.
2. It can’t be everything.
When we would try to pitch #standwithme to someone new, and when we wrote our log line — it was tempting at first to try to fit everything in. We didn’t want to leave out Lisa Kristine, Fair Trade USA, Free The Slaves… they’re all such a valuable part of the story! But in the end, the log line just cannot be everything. We chose the strongest, most intriguing lead — which is Vivienne, the 9-year-old selling lemonade to free child slaves.
3. Speak to the head and the heart.
What drives our decisions? Do we follow our heart, or do we listen to our brain? The answer is generally both! People do buy with their heart, but they rationalize that with their minds — so it’s important that you try to craft a line that incorporates both an emotional pull and a logical one.
Only a 9-year-old would dream that a lemonade stand could free 500 children.
A 9-year-old freeing children tugs at the heart strings, while the idea of freeing 500 children seems logically very challenging… we chose this line because it makes you think and makes you feel.
4. Keep it at a tweet’s length
The general rule of thumb when creating a tag line is that it shouldn’t exceed 8 words in length. Some people say 7, some 6… the point is that this really is a very short line. We’re not huge sticklers for that — the tagline for #standwithme comes in at a whopping 15 words.
We think 140 characters is a good rule to follow. In the year 2013, people generally have just enough time for a tweet.
5. Avoid buzz words and “stop words.”
“#standwithme is about sustainable solutions to modern-day slavery, and a one-of-a kind lemonade stand.”
Aside from being BORING as all hell, “sustainable” is one of those words that means a lot of great things but is also just something people hear too often to really be effective. “One-of-a-kind” is just the worst buzzwordy phrase we could think of.
You never know who you’ll run into or when, and even just with friends you want to be able to effectively create intrigue around your story. Practice saying your elevator pitch out loud, and listen to what sounds the most comfortable and natural. You want to be confident when you talk about your project — and practicing is the best way to get there.
Start crafting your pitch now…
“Let’s Dream Together” coming January 1st!
To kick off 2014, we’ll be announcing a very awesome contest, where filmmakers will get the opportunity to pitch their dream project to us for the greenlight on storytellingwithheart.com. Obviously we wanted to share this with our community here on the blog first, because you guys are the best.
This is an opportunity for one filmmaker or studio to win over $10,000 to bring their story to life.
All you have to do is dream with us, and share your story for a chance to win.
We can’t release the details just yet, but you’ll be hearing from us when the contest is officially launched… START PREPARING NOW!
We hope our tips for an elevator pitch have been helpful in getting you started :)