Identify agencies willing to look at material from new writers The best way to get

an agent is to have a development executive or producer call agents for you, but obviously

this is only if you have industry contacts to begin with. You can also look for an agent by calling the agencies registered with the Writers Guild. These are listed online at . A more detailed listing of agents and managers can be found in the Agents & Managers Directory, available on my website at: http ://www. storyand scriptdevelopment .com/A3B/A3B2.htm

A far better technique for finding an agent, however, is to write a query letter, describing your project and yourself, and asking if they would be interested in reading your script. Query letter #1 is a sample query intended for agents.

3. Identify production companies willing to look at material from new writers. Today there are many venues for pitching your script directly to production companies, whether through "pitch marts," (largely in the L.A. area) or through online marketplaces, where you submit a logline and synopsis, and wait for the requests to roll in. Many other companies are also willing to read query letters, if only you knew where to find these companies. A comprehensive listing can be found in the Producers Directory, available at: http ://www. storyand scriptdevelopment .com/A3B/A3B3.htm

Query letter #2 is a sample query intended for producers.

Additional resources for locating online script promotion services can be found at: http ://www. storyand scriptdevelopment .com/A3B/A3B5.htm

4. Prepare a query letter. The query letter is essentially your "pitch," for why anyone should read your script. It should not tell the reader that they will make millions of dollars from your screenplay, or that this is a perfect role for Julia Roberts, whether it is or not. It should not tell the reader that you're broke and need the money, or how much work you did on this, or whether they will find it amusing or scary. For example, it is not effective to say: "My uncle was a fascinating character, and I am sure you will enjoy this script;" or

"There hasn't been a flying elephant story since Dumbo, and I think you'll find this hilarious." Only the reader gets to determine what they think of your screenplay, and they'll only know that after they read the script.

Think of the query letter as being like a trailer - your only job in writing the letter is to get the agent or executive to read the script, just like the only point to a trailer is to get you to want to see the movie. This means that you need to tantalize them, giving just enough information to make it sound like something they might want to read, without telling them the whole story. If you do tell them the whole story, then they will feel like they've already read the script. And unless the story, and your writing, is so remarkably unique and riveting, they will pass on the project before they've even had a chance to read it.

The same goes for verbal "pitching," by the way. In the past couple of years, a number of "pitch conferences" have sprung up in Los Angeles, giving new and experienced writers a chance to meet development executives directly, to pitch their material. Not all writers are good at telling their stories verbally, however; and most new writers make the fatal error of telling too much of the story, or worse, don't know what the premise of their script really is. You, however, are not that writer, having developed your screenplay using the exercises in this book.

So this is the time to go back to the beginning of the book, and figure out what your premise is, and develop a LOGLINE that encapsulates your story. For these purposes, both the query and the verbal pitch, the logline and the premise are essentially the same.

With these in hand, you can start your letter, which should be in standard business letter format, with a friendly opening paragraph. If this is a drama, you might want to include what this is about on a thematic level as well. This should be followed by a brief paragraph that describes what your story is about, without going into great detail, but hitting the major plot points. Add a paragraph about yourself, if you have a film

background, or if you're uniquely qualified to write this script (you're a medical doctor, and this is based on your experience, for example). Unless you have produced credits, or other scripts in development with bona fide production companies, it is not a good idea to mention that you have ten more screenplays in your closet, if they're not interested in this one. Sample, actual query letters are attached.

To recap:

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