Luciana recently emailed me this logline and I thought it was a good one to share.

Title: Keelah Smith and the Army of the Night

Logline: New York teen Keelah Smith just wants to mourn her recently-deceased dad, ace her SATs and get into Princeton, but discovers that an army in the world of night, bent on destroying humanity, needs her attention first.  A black “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” meets “Blade Runner.”

I think this is a very solid logline.  You get a ton of information with very few words.  Before I read the Buffy sentence I already had an understanding of the tone and was already thinking about Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Blending Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Blade Runner works well.  They’re very different in a lot of ways but there are also some striking similarities.  They are both iconic, have strong cult followings, and existed in their own vivid reality.  Hopefully her script follows that tradition.  From the logline it sounds like it might.

The twist of the script, or course, is the fact that it’s a black teenager.  While I think this is a good unique element I feel like she might have diluted it a bit by making her problems very non-descript.  Wanting to “ace her SATs and get into Princeton” are very normal non-ethnic problems.  It might be nice if her being black somehow affected the story and her goals.  If she’s a normal American teenager and could be any race it’s not too much of a twist that she’s black.  I’m not talking about gross stereotypes (hopefully).  Having never been a black teenage girl I’m having a hard time even thinking of even a bad idea as an example.  A movie like My Big Fat Greek Wedding really used the Greek aspect to great effect.  Maybe there’s a way that Luciana could use the black teenager aspect of the story a little bit more.

It also might be nice to explain a bit about the “army in the world of night.”  Vampires and werewolves are well known creatures and need no explanation but this is something new, which is good, but it also must be explained a bit more.  Something like this:

“…but discovers that an army in the world of night, an alien race of grossly disfigured humanoids bent on destroying humanity, needs her attention first.”

Having not read the script or even a synopsis I have no idea what Luciana’s “army in the world of night” is but hopefully it’s clear what I’m getting at.  What is this “army in the world of night” all about?

As always, if you have any suggestions, comments, or questions about the logline feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

3 thoughts on “Logline Workshop: Keelah Smith and the Army of the Night”
  1. Hey Ashley, thanks very much for the comments!

    Part of the problem with describing the army is that I don’t want to give away a major plot point. I need to figure out a better hedge. 🙂

    Also, part of my goal in making her black is to make her ethnicity normal — to show that it’s normal for a black teen to get into Princeton, to save the world, all that good stuff. I see your point, though, and I think it’s a good one, that her ethnicity of her individuality, and so her description needs to reflect that better.

    Thanks again,


  2. Hello Ashley,

    Loglines are very tricky since no one writer, producer, director or studio will agree on exactly what makes the BEST logline. They are like opinions – everyone has a different one.

    Most agree they want a short (usually one sentence – max two) explanation that emotionally attaches the reader to the story and/or gets the reader to want to know more.

    Here is the logline for my comic series being developed into a screenplay:

    GALACTIC GLADIATORS is a sci-fi action advernture where animal rights, environmental activist Tessa Guess must lead a coalition of abducted, mutating humans and aliens in a war between two extraterrestrial species, the Psions and the evil Chaons or our galaxy will be destroyed.

    It originally did not have the genre information but that was requested by producers. There was a longer explanation of the ticking time-bomb premise of how our galaxy was going to be destroyed but no one cared, so it was changed to as it is above.

    Would love to get your input on this logline since it will be shopped to Hollywood before the end of this year.

    Sandford Tuey

    1. It looks like a solid logline to me. I’m not so sure about the “animal rights” bit – I’m not sure how it relates to the whole story and seems out of place in the logline. I think “environmental activist” is enough of a description of Tessa. I’m not sure what you had as far as your ticking clock but to me that seems like it might add something to the logline. “or our galaxy will be destroyed” seems a bit vague. If you could add some details to that last bit I think it might strengthen your logline.

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