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How A Screenwriter Can Hook A Great Agent Or Manager
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I recently hosted a tele-seminar which afforded aspiring screenwriters from all over the world the opportunity to listen to an insightful and stimulating discussion about screenwriting as a professional, and the opportunity to ask questions.
Among the number of questions presented and addressed in this forum, the age-old question among screenwriters once again reared its ugly head.
"I've emailed a number of managers and agents seeking representation, but have not heard back from anyone. What's the trick to securing a good agent or manager to represent me and my screenplays?"
There is no trick. The answer lies in your introduction, your very first writing sample, and most importantly (drum roll please )your logline.
As an aspiring writer there are a vast number of tools which can aid you in the pursuit of representation, I will focus your attention here on one --- the query letter.
Some representatives delegate the trifling task of reading incoming queries to an assistant or intern. But, truth is most representatives do read queries. Even more importantly, representatives actually respond to ones that HOOK their interest.
If you are not generating any interest from query letters it simply means that you need to redraft your letter, and specifically, your logline.
Here are three basic guidelines to consider when crafting your next query letter:
1 - Know Your Market
Targeting CAA or any of the top tier literary representatives is simply the wrong strategy. They are shaping careers, not inventing them. They are elevating a career, not commencing one. Targeting boutique entities that will likely always develop new talent is a more appropriate and useful strategy. New blood is welcomed.
Do some due diligence on the target. This affords you the opportunity to personalize the letter. Hear me: I'm not suggesting that you make this some rambling saga. Keep it simple.
2 - The Right Hook
The industry is changing and will continue to evolve but, what will not change is this... Representatives are seeking material they can sell in a competitive marketplace!
Your logline is the essential ingredient to this query letter. I recommend that you always introduce your most commercial big idea. Your logline should evoke the imagination to see the movie poster, the video box.
If it doesn't, rework your, one to two sentences, logline until it does. The goal is to entice the reader to request the script just as a trailer's purpose is to sell tickets. This is the coming attraction moment.
3 - The First Impression
Absolutely never neglect the basics of spelling, grammar, clear and vivid writing. This is your first impression... it matters! Your query letter itself functions partly as a writing sample.
Remember, your query letter is your sales tool, not your sales pitch. Don't make the mistake of confusing the two. This is not the place to ramble on about how great your screenplay is or how engaging your characters are... that's for the reader to decide.
So write a professional, intelligent, concise, intriguing query that includes a compelling and commercially viable logline and not only will you entice representatives to ask for more, but you'll be one step closer to a sale.
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