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Querying Agents and Managers
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Derek Rushlow
Posted March 5, 2012 7:52 PM
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Surprised there aren't more topics under this thread, but what is the best way to write a query letter to an agent or a manager?  I've heard many ways to do it.  One agent even said to never begin your query letter with something like, "I just wrote a script..."  That's something I've seen on several examples, which leads me to the reason I'm posting this topic.

Any help is appreciated.  Thanks!

wayne taylor
Posted March 5, 2012 8:19 PM
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You keep it short and to the point.  Here is the one I've used:

Below is the logline for THE ESCAPE an Action/Drama spec. based on actual events.

A Confederate Corporal struggles to rescue his severely wounded boyhood friends from renegade Union soldiers and vigilante citizens bent on revenge. His only hope of success lies in the hands of a bitter Black Soldier going south to free his family.

This script made the top 10% in the 2011 Nicholl fellowship.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

Best regards,
Wayne Taylor
Wntaylor66@gmail.com

I wasn't sure abut adding the bit about the Nicholl but it's a top notch contest so a few "pro" writers told me to do it. Don't mention you are new or where you are from.  Don't say it's my first script or anything to show you are a newbie. Just keep it short and sweet and try to use the person's name to make it more personal, first names are fine. Hope this helps.
Remember it's all about the logline at this point!

Melvin Johnson
Posted March 5, 2012 8:31 PM
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From what I've read only mention major competition wins like Nicholls, PAGE, etc. Other comps (Southern Ohio Writer's Group - fictional btw) don't hold much weight.

Finding out to whom you address the query is the rub. Most of them only give the address info@prodco.com and pass it on to interns or someone. In all the companies I've researched to query, very few named their acquisition/development person. Then you also get the androgynous names which make titles such as Mr. or Ms. luck of the draw.

As for what's in it, I've seen many versions of what Wayne just posted: Logline, relevant writer info, and a "thank you for your consideration". Then sit back and prepare to be ignored.  8)

If you get a read request, be SURE your script is as good as you can get it. In all honesty do that before you query. If it's not ready, let the requestor know you're tweaking it and you can have the script to them in a certain amount of time. Do NOT send out a script that you know isn't ready. Hollywood doesn't give many second chances.

Derek Rushlow
Posted March 13, 2012 1:08 PM
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Agreed, Melvin, and thanks for the sample, Wayne.

Just wanted to mention a site called "Virtual Pitchfest" where, for a price (depending on what package you buy), you can pitch to people on their lists of agents, managers, and producers.  Thing is, it's more of a "query fest" because you write a query letter instead (although I count that as a pitch).  Thing is...you are GUARANTEED a response.  Even if they pass, I think it's a valuable tool because you can check and see if your query letter(s) is truly effective or not.

Here's the URL:  www.virtualpitchfest.com.

Kathy Price
Posted July 9, 2012 2:00 PM
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Along this same vein, but on a totally different tack, is the question about legal eagles.  I have been working on a book/script based on reality.  I know that just changing names is not enough and, because I have no idea what the other players were actually thinking, or saying, or what their real agenda might have been, I have to make up their parts.  It needs to be run past a lawyer, but one I talked to said he charged $700 an hour!  Even if he's a speed reader, there's no way I can afford THAT sort of review, since he also has to be informed of what really happened vs what's actually in the book/script.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I cannot, and do not, want to end up in court over this, but the story needs to be told.  At least I think it does.

Robby Karol
Posted August 8, 2012 3:22 PM
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As far as finding out actual names for people at the company, ItsOnTheGrid is pretty good about giving you the principals and the managers, and what they've worked on.

Costs about $17-27 a month though.

Lyndon Tait
Posted August 8, 2012 7:23 PM
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That's some good advice. Thanks, Bob.

Billie Harris
Posted November 11, 2014 4:15 PM
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This is an old thread but it's relevant for those of us who are sending queries.    If anyone's interested, there's a really good article in the Script  magazine on the subject of query letters.  It's dated  April 12, 2011, titled "Magic Bullet:  Query Letters