While that appears an obvious oversight now, the real ones we have to watch out for are the errors in judgement you can justify.
A while back Mutt and I would have said that true art has nothing to do with marketability. More than that, we believed they were at odds. Let the soulless money-grabbers worry about over-simplifying our work, let the artists create art, right? Well, if there's one thing an embarrassing meeting with someone taught us it's that we were being idiots all over again.
Eager to convey the sheer quantity of quality concepts we had up our sleeves, one day we decided to wow them by breaking down one of our ideas.
What followed was perhaps the most long-winded, unoriginal-sounding pitch containing a heck of a lot of "but done really well" and "it's better than it sounds". It was excruciating. We knew it was awesome, but we couldn't even sell it to someone who was already on our side.
During a seemingly eternal tram ride back to the train station we went over it again and again and had a horrible epiphany. It doesn't matter how brilliant an idea is if it isn't pitchable.
We always thought summing things up in a mere sentence was about dumbing down perfectly good concepts to maximize marketability, but we missed the point entirely. From what we've gathered, there are two key reasons why it is essential.
1) It helps to focus an idea and makes it stronger.
Slapping the word 'art' on a mess doesn't stop it being a mess. Concepts need structure and purpose, and a log line really forces the writer to find the spine of the story and keep it under control.
Think about the simplicity beneath of surface of movies like A New Hope, Toy Story, even The Seven Samurai. It extremely clear what each is really about and the fact that you could produce a remarkably succinct log line for any of them only calls attention to their genius.
Think about The Great Escape: When the Nazi Military puts all the greatest escape artist P.O.W.s in the same camp, they join forces to enact one of the most daring and ambitious escape plans in history.
Sounds great, right? Well, the movie was great too and it certainly wasn't lacking in any loving detail.
2) The easier a concept is to comprehend, the easier people can get into it.
This one is the real clincher. We love our ideas. We want other people to love our ideas. Why would we make it hard for people to love our ideas??
Let's face it, this is the real world we're talking about. No one is handing us our big chance on a silver platter, so we don't really have the luxury, or the inhumanly eccentric genius to play hard to get.
Now, if you'll excuse me Mutt and I have to run off and continue our idiocy in new and exciting ways.
"For further reading on the topic, this article gives some history."