The Elements Of A Query Letter

1. Business format only - plain paper, with the date on the top left, and the agent's or executive's name, company name, and address, directly underneath, followed by a Dear Mr. or Dear Ms.(name, comma or colon).

2. Either an opening sentence should be an attention-grabber, or a friendly "I've just completed an original screenplay entitled (TITLE) that I would like to submit to you for your consideration Do not tell them it's your first screenplay. If there are large themes to this piece, then include a sentence as to what they are.

3. Follow the opening with a short paragraph that tells them what your story is about. Remember, your story isn't about "and then this happens and then that happens." Stay focused, telling them what the genre is, who the main characters are, and what the major conflict (obstacle) is; but don't give away the ending. Remember, you want them to read the script for more information.

4. If you have a film background, or a background that makes you uniquely qualified to write this screenplay, then include a sentence or two about that.

5. End with a simple "Looking forward to hearing from you soon," or "I look forward to hearing from you soon." Followed by: Sincerely, your signature, with name and phone number typed underneath.

That's it! Armed with your streamlined query, you can now pitch your script with confidence, whether in writing, in person or by telephone. In person, don't go into the whole story unless, after hearing the brief version of the story, the executive asks to hear more.

If submitting a written query, sit back and wait approximately a month for a response -and while you're waiting, start on your next script. And, as one friend puts it, wish for luck!

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