I have been receiving a ton of query letters lately from filmmakers. Some get read, and others don't. So what determines if I keep reading or respond? This question has prompted me to share the 4 questions to ask yourself before hitting send on that next query email....
ARE YOU READY? If you are reaching out to an exec or company, please make sure you are 100% ready to go. The script should be done (your best draft)- or the screener of your finished film should be ready to be emailed tomorrow- or you know your budget and have thought through all the elements I may ask about in follow-up. The worst thing you can do is waste the one chance you get, not be ready, and come off as unprofessional.
WHO ARE YOU REACHING OUT TO? Being specific about who you are writing goes a long way. Who are you messaging (name), what is their position and what are they looking for?
WHAT ARE THE RULES? Yes, there are rules and every company has them so make sure you research the way in which the company takes submissions and if they publicize on every page of their website NO UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS then abide by it! It doesn't mean don't reach out but address it. ie- I understand you don't take unsolicited scripts and I respect that. How would you suggest I proceed as an award winning filmmaker and Nicholl's finalist whose mission and scripts are very much in line with your company mandate?
WHAT IS YOUR TONE? The three things I keep seeing that kill an email before I get to the end....
1. Don't tell me it is exactly what I am looking for and better than Star Wars. Arrogance is a turnoff.
2. Don't sell yourself short and start apologizing for yourself and your film from the start. Lead with confidence, not apologies as to who you are not OR your lack of experience.
3. Typos put us off - it’s that simple. Often, we stop reading. Do you care enough to pay attention to detail?
and BONUS: Keep it short! Tease us so we want to see more....you don't need to include everything.
If you want to make sure your query letter is ready to go, you can book a private consultation with me here.