I'm reading these posts about screenwriting competitions and such, and I keep seeing a mention of query letters. Can someone tell me what they are, what they're supposed to do, and how you write them?
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Hey, Mallory! I totally think we should have a section for samples on S32! I'm on it!
Mallory, a query letter is basically a written "pitch" to intrigue someone (agent/producer/manager) enough to request your script or perhaps open a door for possible representation. After you've searched on Google and discovered a few examples online, here's a great list from Danny Manus about what NOT to do. I hope it helps! https://www.stage32.com/lounge/screenwriting/50-Reasons-Your-Query-Lette...
Thanks Shawn! And, Mallory, "The Screenwriter's Bible" by David Trottier is not only a great reference book for screenwriting/formatting but it also has a section on marketing and query letters -- a "how to" and includes samples. :)
Thank you, Beth. I hate it when I forget about the bible!
An elevator statement on paper?
You can visit http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com and get the sample how to write it. It's only the first step in process but as Beth said , to intrigue agent/manager/producer. Then prepare Synopsis and Pitch if anyone answers or requests your script.
So, Steven, let me ask you something. Are you entering Top 5 screenwriting competitions with 5 different scripts or all 5 with the same script? If it's the same one, and if I'm remembering the rules correctly, you can win only once, unless all five will announce the winners at the same time. And what's with the "Long Haul" comment? What was that all about. She's a student, most likely with no screenwriting experience, trying to put pieces together like the most of us here.
Okay, Steven. First, Mallory being a student probably came out wrong. I should have use young and with little experience and the point of all this from all of us is to push her forward if she wants to. As for competition rules, are you sure that's how it works? I don't think you can win any prize for your script, 1st, 2nd or 3rd place and enter another competition with the same script. All the competition's winner announcements have different dates. So let's say you win one of the prizes, can you enter another competition with the winning script. Have you checked that rule or asked someone who has entered a competition before.
It was not my intention to discourage you from entering any competition and having someone to read your work is always a good thing but you should enter only one (depending what genre you script is) and see how it goes, or you can place a couple of pages here (under loglines and screenplays) we can take a read and tell you our opinion, it might not be in the same category as competition judge would give you but it's a start. As for the rules, I would suggest you make a list of thing which are not 100% clear and send it to each competition you have entered, see what they say, compare the answers, that sort of things. As for the experienced writers, some people here have more experience than the rest of us, in my case, I'm not sure how much 3 years of reading, learning and trying to write can count for but I'll stand by something I wrote here a few months back. This entire "Movie Industry Business" is like 500 pieces Jigsaw puzzle, we have to collect and put all the pieces together.
Steven, just to add, entering screenwriting competitions in order to be "read" is not the best idea and really won't advance your progress -- unless you pay extra to receive readers/judges comments, which tends to be superficial if you did not place and not all competitions offer that option. Plus, competitions are dealing with thousands and thousands of scripts and the odds are not favorable -- it's playing a subjective lottery. If what you are really seeking is solid coverage or review, you can receive peer review here for free or perhaps seek a script consultant or coverage from the Happy Writers. If you are willing to put that kind of money into screenwriting competitions then it makes far more sense to spend that money on a more focused approach that will truly help your writing. After further honing your craft, perhaps then enter a competition. :)
Also, we rather veered off from the topic of this thread and should return to the OP's question. Sorry Mallory. :)
Thanks Steven. And please do take a look at Happy Writers. Or, if you would like script consultant recommendations just let me know. I do wish you the best with your script. :)
Haha! Aren't you sweet, Steven! Well, I don't know about that... Let's just say I know enough to fully realize that you never stop learning. And, I have a long ways to go and a ton of work to do too! Just keep your eyes wide open, take all the great advice you can! I know I do!
Thank you for your help! Your veering even helped me learn more! :-) Niksa is right-- I have little experience, and what I have learned has been self taught. I spent time learning format by looking at scripts of movies and television shows. Story-wise, I have not made one of my own yet. Have done scriptwriting for a silent student film and adapted two short narratives into screenplays, but none have ever been put to film. Practice makes perfect, but I want to be sure I'm practicing to perfect the right things. I'll look into that bible! I wanted some good literature for this field to have. You guys are so helpful! Thank you!