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THE ROUGE WAVE
A HAPPY LITTLE CORNER OF THE SCREENWRITING UNIVERSE WHERE DEDICATED ROUGE WAVERS COME TO GET INSPIRED, MOTIVATED AND EDU- TAINED!
MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2007
Writing a Great Query Letter
A good query letter should go something like this: Month, Day, Year (four spaces) Company Name Person You Are Sending To Street, Suite City, State Zip (two spaces) Dear Mr. Bigshot: (two spaces) Here are my bad-ass creds; A graduate of USC, I am a Nicholl's winner, placed second in the Antarctic Script Competition and make great apple cobbler. Incidentally, I just loved BOOM CHUCKA DING DONG; what a great movie! I have written a script called NUNS OF THE PEACH ORCHARD; a romantic comedy set in 19th century Italy. Here is a great logline, which tells you who the main character is, what the conflict is, what the stakes are and has a cute little teaser that doesn't quite give away the ending; will she or won't she? Does the peach brandy win the prize? The executive or manager will have to read the script to find out. If you are interested in a read, I would be happy to send a hard copy of NUNS or a pdf via email. Or a copy strapped to my rat, Wilmer, who incidentally, hasn't bitten anyone in a couple of years. I have enclosed an SASE for your convenience. Warm Regards, (four spaces) Your printed name here, your signature in the space above
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THE SCRIPT DEPARTMENT VALENTINE'S DAY
C'est moi. Julie Gray. Hello.
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If you haven't got personalized stationery, put your contact information here, under your name. Be sure to include your phone number and email address. ******** In other words, Wavers, the first paragraph should be your bona fides. Any competition wins or placements should go here, as should any film program or impressive university you graduated from. If you have not got any filmic or screenwriting bona fides, try to find something you can say by way of introducing yourself. Obviously, having creds in the screenplay world is a great attention-getter and this is why I recommend leading off with it. Suddenly, you are taken a bit more seriously - you have something to brag about. Again, those who feel they have no creds, get creative - think of something, anything that gives you some credibility. If your script is set in a coal mining town and you grew up in one, mention it. If your script is about doctors and you're a doctor - mention it. Maybe you had an open heart surgery and now have a baboon heart - if that has direct bearing on your script - mention it. Paragraph one is about piquing interest. If the recipient of your query has recently wrapped or even debuted a movie, mention it. It demonstrates that you're in the know and that you've taken the time to follow their career just a bit. Not in a stalky way - don't mention their new twins or that great house on Oak Lane. Your SASE may just contain a restraining order. The second paragraph is your logline-teaser. Lead off with the title, and be sure to mention the genre and time period. Then lay your gorgeous logline on them. Wrap it all up in the third paragraph, by graciously offering to send the script in any format should they be interested in a read. Make it easy for them, include an SASE.
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Do: Research the recipient; know their movie or client creds Be brief Be gracious Get to the point Make sure your logline rocks Note your accomplishments or credentials Include an SASE
BE YOUR OWN PROTAGONIST
Don't: Babble Beg Be too self-deprecating Make stuff up to look good Name drop Include pictures, cd's or supplemental materials (you think I'm
June 21-22, Burbank, CA
kidding!) Be annoyingly twee or clever; you're dealing with grownups In summary, a query letter should be quick and dirty: get in and get out. Be gracious and authentic. Try to get some creds down in that first paragraph but be honest; don't exaggerate and for god's sake don't lie. Yes, it's okay and customary to query several places at once and no, you don't need to mention that you're doing it. It's a given. Don't mention the other agencies you've queried; it's none of their business unless they want to meet with and possibly sign you. As above, do NOT name drop; Hollywood is a small town and if you're full of baloney, you're sunk. You also risk dropping a name that you were under the impression had some weight but actually that person is roundly hated, had some big failure or had a breakdown and moved to New Hampshire. Summon all your writerly skills so that your letter is perfectly presented, graciously worded and mercifully short. Nothing will mark you as an amateur faster than blathering on - or conversely being serial-killer brief. Sound like a regular person. Write the letter YOU would like to receive.
POSTED BY JU L I E G RAY AT M ON D AY , JU N E 1 8 , 2 0 0 7 L AB EL S : R E P RE S EN T A TI ON , W R I TI N G S TR A TEG I ES
Weekend Box Office, Jan. 28–30 1. The Rite 2. No Strings Attached 3. The Mechanic 4. The Green Hornet 5. The King's Speech $14.8 M $13.4 M $11.4 M $11.2 M $11.1 M
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2 COMMENTS: Christian M. Howell said... Great post as usual and really timely as soon the queries will proceed forth. I don't have an HCD sized list yet but I do have the Done Deal list. I hope that I can solicit some feedback when I do. I have been finding that most companies accept emails now which makes ti a little more "immediate-gratification-like" though probably not timelier. The big thing now is to finish a few scripts. I'm well on my way with my "baby" and a little family comedy that's in treatment stage. I've been hearing that treatments are an even better way to approach the industry, so I've been honing my skills at that also. JUNE 20, 2007 10:35 AM Laura Reyna said... Copied & saved for later reference. Thanks! :-) JUNE 20, 2007 8:42 PM Post a Comment
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