When the wife of a busy young lawyer threatens the lives of their children he is forced to assume sole custody and raise them in the shadow of interference from his former friends.
See my thoughts here on not starting a logline with “When” – https://logline.it/the-case-for-an-updated-formula/
Good work using a single sentence without commas…however, that sentence is wordy and jumbled and disorganized, plus it raises a lot of questions about the story and characters. A good logline makes people want to read more because they’re interested in the story, but if they have to ask questions just to understand what the story even is, that logline needs major revision.
Why is the wife threatening the children? What exactly is FORCING him into sole custody? Also, that is not something which can simply be assumed; it’s the result of lengthy courtroom arguments. If the wife is such a problem, why is addressing that problem not the main conflict of the story? If it’s only an inciting incident, that’s fine, but it has to be clear why it’s happening and what is being done about it.
“Shadow of interference” is a phrase that belongs in a poem, not a logline…here you need to be simple and clear and straightforward: what is the conflict he’s facing? A shadow in this case is a metaphor, therefore not imperative to summarizing the story. Also, using the word “shadow” makes it sound like the interference is in the past, so, it shouldn’t be a problem anymore, as all screenplays take place in the present tense.
Speaking of which: why is there interference from former friends? Why are they former and no longer current? What happened to his wife being part of the story? Who or what is the actual antagonist here?
A logline needs four things: protagonist, antagonist, conflict, stakes. Your protagonist is clear AND clearly defined, so that’s good: busy young lawyer. As already mentioned, the antagonist is less clear…with the conflict and stakes, they are implied but undefined.
Here’s an example of how this would work as a logline, which may not be your story but it’s just an example — use it as a guide to tell us what your script is actually about:
“A busy young lawyer struggles to balance work and family when his psychotic ex-wife turns friends & coworkers against him while challenging his right to custody of their children.”
Even at only 29 words that feels like too much and could be cut down, providing more details than are needed…but it does give us the four necessities:
Protagonist: busy young lawyer
Antagonist: psychotic ex-wife
Conflict: the challenge to custody
Stakes: losing custody
Here’s an even shorter version that still proposes a compelling story: “A busy young lawyer must protect his career and family when his psychotic ex-wife challenges his sole custody of their children.”
22 words, and they tell us everything we need to know. Compare that to your original 33, and you see the difference between giving a reader a general idea of what the script is about, and giving a reader something compelling to make us want to read more. That’s all a logline has to do, in as short and clear a sentence as possible.
You should give us a more specific inciting incident. ‘Threatens’ could mean a lot of things. What specifically did she do?
Did she lock the car doors and drive the children into a lake?
Did she fall asleep while smoking and set fire to the house?
Did she force them to watch “The Last Jedi” over and over?
If you are going to use ‘threatens the lives of their children’ as the inciting incident, then give us the specific event in which she threatened (Endangered) the children’s lives.