Writing a script is an exhilarating process. Once you have a great script locked, it makes sense that you’d want to start querying and get it into a producer or executive’s hands as soon as possible. However, there are some do’s, and don’ts, that can make or break whether or not your script will be well received.
We asked a group of producers and executives what they felt were the five most important things a writer about to query them should know before starting their querying journey.
We Get SO Many Scripts
Producers and executives get hundreds of scripts pitched to them from managers and agents weekly. It’s nonstop. Some younger execs will sit down and do nothing but read scripts all weekend, and they barely make a dent (and trust us, you don’t want to be the tenth script in the weekend pile). Most will only read scripts from trusted reps and usually only by writers with an impressive pedigree. This is why it’s so important to build relationships over time.
Sending out scripts and querying blindly probably won’t work, but asking your network to help you get the word out on a particularly great script after you’ve helped others do the same? Magic. Executives will usually read a script that a friend sends or passes along. If you know someone who knows someone–and your script is ready–don’t hesitate to ask if they can pass a logline and one-page synopsis to the exec they know.
You’re Going to Need a Logline and a Synopsis (They Have to be Great, Not Just Good)
Speaking of which, you’re going to need a logline and a one-page synopsis. Producers and executives are busy, and reading scripts is time-consuming, which is why being ready with a killer logline and a great synopsis are a key part of getting your script read. They might not have time to read a whole script, but if you really hook them with a logline, they’ll read the synopsis, and if you knock it out of the park with a synopsis, you’d better believe your script is going to get read. Is it a bit of extra effort? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
Don’t Be Afraid to Keep it Simple
Most importantly, be humble and get to the point quickly. If you’re trying to get a producer or executive to read your script, don’t spend the entire query letter talking about how amazing you are, how brilliant the work is, and how lucky the exec would be to have your project on its slate. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised. Get in, give me the logline, tell me a few sentences about yourself, and get out. It’s really that simple.
You’re Querying at the Wrong Time
Okay, you’ve written a killer query letter, kickass synopsis, and drop-dead logline. Now, it’s time to think about when you send your query email. Monday morning? You’re gonna have a bad time.
On Mondays, producers and executives are sitting down at their desks looking at all of the emails and projects they have to catch up on, so the email will fall through the cracks. Same with Friday afternoon. People want to wrap up and enjoy the weekend. The best time to email is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday early afternoon.
Play the Long Game when Querying
If a producer or executive says he or she will get back to you after reading the script, wait at least a month, preferably two months, before following up. If you keep pestering them every two weeks, they will eventually just pass so you’ll stop clogging their inboxes. It’s better to let something ride a little longer than you’d like than to get an automatic pass.
So there you have it! A few tips to help make your queries stand out from the rest. Yes, it’s a long game that requires a bit of patience, but that’s kind of our whole business! In the meantime, keep writing, and think about how to make your loglines and synopses absolutely shine.