How to Write a Query Letter Query letters? Do literary agents really read them?
Once you know that civilians are interested in your pitch, it might be a good idea to see if motion picture industry people would be interested.
I'm making the heretical suggestion that you might want to send out your query letters before you spend all that time writing your script rather than after.
A query letter is a letter or email you send to all the development executives in the Hollywood Creative Directory, or if you're trying to get an agent, to all the agents in the Hollywood Representation Directory. It is a one-page letter that explains what your screenplay is about and asks if they'd like to read it.
As a development executive, I read thousands of query letters. In those days, they were all on paper.
These days, mostly email. If you don't know people in show business, a query letter is the natural way to get your script to people who can do something with it. No one wants to read a screenplay unless there's a chance she could do something with it, so if someone reads your query and asks you to send him your screenplay, she thinks you have a hook.
Now this is a step you may not want to take just yet if you're anxious that people will steal your idea. You may want to wait until you have a plot outline that you can copyright at the Library of Congress see Chapter 9.
But frankly, I don't think much stealing goes on in show business, except the kind of Stealing I'm recommending you do. I'm going to make the movie for millions of dollars of other people's money; out of that budget, your script is likely not more than a hundred thousand bucks, and the money isn't even mine.
Why would I steal your script and get myself into a lawsuit? I can probably option your script for a few thousand bucks. But if I want to steal your idea, I have to hire a writer to make a script out of it, and he's going to cost fifty grand, and he's probably going to come back with something different than what I asked for.
Why wouldn't I just ask to read your script, option it, and then get it rewritten if I think it needs fixing? I might still have to hire another writer, but writers charge less for rewrites than for fresh scripts. Okay, here's the idea.
When I read a query letter, I don't actually know that the writer has written the screenplay already. I send back the stamped, self-addressed card, or respond to the email, and forget about it until the screenplay shows up.
That's because even the tiniest, credit-challenged company listed in the Hollywood Creative Directory gets ten or twenty queries a day. You have to read fifty of these letters to find one that sounds even vaguely promising.
As a development executive, you might think I'd be peeved if people used me for free market research, but actually, I wish they would. Then I'd be more likely to find a screenplay that I could do something with.
If you send out two hundred query letters and get back two responses, you may not want to waste your time writing the script. If you get back ten, you might want to write the script. If you get twenty, stop sleeping and write the damn screenplay already. One side benefit of writing your query first, by the way, is that you may realize that you're focusing on the wrong aspects of your screenplay.
Suppose your hook is, say, "A marine biologist falls in love with a mysterious girl who turns out to be a mermaid.
If you took a look at your query, you might realize you were getting off track.How to Write a Query Letter By: Script Magazine | April 8, Hot off the presses for spring is a brand-new edition of The Hollywood Screenwriting Directory, featuring more than 2, listings (up from last edition’s 1,).
How To Get A Screenwriting Agent & Manager Step #2: Pen A Great Screenwriting Query Letter There’s much controversy these days over whether screenwriting query letters still work. Or if they’re a relic from some “golden age” of Hollywood that’s long past.
Query letters must have punch to entice the agent, producer, production company, and/or studio executive--all of whom read countless queries daily--to want to read your screenplay now.
Your enthusiasm and passion about your project must shine through in your query.
Feb 15, · I happened to snag my first screenwriting agent with a query letter. He was a small agent, outside of LA, but took a chance on me. He was a small agent, outside of . A query letter is a letter or email you send to all the development executives in the Hollywood Creative Directory, or if you're trying to get an agent, to all the agents in the Hollywood Representation Directory.
It is a one-page letter that explains what your screenplay is about and asks if they'd like to read it. Screenwriting query letters are thought to be a way to sell a screenplay, get a Hollywood literary agent, and otherwise help you become a screenwriter.. Unfortunately, screenwriting query letters can do serious damage to your career.