Loglines revisited

Focus

Years ago when I first started as a journalist, I had long rambling conversations with people. I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to talk to them about. That is until I worked as a journalist at the Canadian Broadcast Corp. There I learned (at times painfully) the value of the focus statement. Each interview had to state (after research and talking to the person) exactly what the interview was about.

End of rambling disjointed interviews.

I was reminded again of how precious and crucial a focus statement, logline, premise or your unique selling proposition is in answer to the question (what is this about?) when I recently did two pitching workshops.

What I love about the exercise of describing what you’re creating in one or two sentences is how easily you can do it.

For one group, they’d just spent two days with a story editor making greater sense of their story. Understandably they had challenges formulating their focus statement. Their content was still a work in progress, filtering its way from the mind to the page.

With the other group – who were concerned with digital media – it was gratifying to introduce the concept of the logline and hear the clarity of the app, game or web series come to life with an articulation of their premise.

Here are some tips for speaking clearly about your content.

Less is more

One or two sentences are enough for people to understand what your content is about. It helps to include the genre, length and what’s on the content spectrum.

Images are extremely helpful

Give the listener a visual picture of what your content will be like. For instance, one participant had a game to pit amateur football coaches against the professional playbook. He used the phrase that players will “get off the couch and onto the field” in the context of his pitch. That phrase gave it additional urgency.

Be clear about your concept

If you can’t boil your content down to its essence in a sentence or two, you need to spend more time at the concept stage. You have to be clear before you can distill your story and articulate its essence. Try it out on people who know nothing of your business or content. See if they can understand what you’re trying to convey.

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I have more information on this process along with worksheets in my online course and ebook How to Win Your Next Creative Pitch. Its received 5 stars by users and testimonials like this one:

Great course as usual. It is always great to remind myself what needs to be done and you offered some great points that I did not think about or thought I should not explore.

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