This is a weekly column of filmmaking tips and behind the scenes of Alex LeMay’s latest project, DARK JOEY. DARK JOEY is a collaboration between LeMay and writer Jim Uhls, who wrote the major motion picture, FIGHT CLUB, as well as his writing partner Ric Krause. Follow along here: #Film-School:lemay-makes-a-series
A query letter, which is now an email (back in the day it used to be an actual typed letter and for some reason, the name just stuck), that is exactly what it sounds like. An email – usually unsolicited – asking an agent, studio executive or producer to read your web series script.
I can’t tell you how many emails I get from would-be series creators/writers/directors. Most are sincere and polite but far too long. A great query letter, as I’ve preached in the past is short, direct and to the point. After you write about a hundred of these things, they’ll just flow out of you as a matter of course.
The point is to super-economical with your language. A quick greeting, a SHORT synopsis (logline) and one sentence about yourself. Did I say keep it brief?
Below is an example of a good query letter that you can feel free to “steal”:
Below is a query for my latest thriller series, LABOR COST.
Logline: A dutiful entrepreneur comes home to take over her family business and falls for an immigrant laborer on the factory floor. But when she learns he was trafficked into the country and forced to work for her revered father, she must make a choice: stand by her family’s dark legacy or save the man she loves.
My last script was produced by _________ Films. I have worked as a series producer for producer’s name or company, and my most recent series can be seen here www.YYYYYYYYYcom
I hope you will give me the opportunity to submit LABOR COST to [AGENCY/COMPANY].
Thank you for your time.
The Follow-up: If you haven’t heard from them in two weeks, follow up with the agent or producer’s assistant. TIP: The assistants are what make Hollywood run. They are not paper pushers, they are gatekeepers. They determine who gets in and who’s left on the sidewalk spinning a sign for the mattress warehouse down the street. Get in with them and your life just became a lot easier.
ANOTHER TIP: Instead of asking them to read a full script, ask if they will read a two-page write-up of your series. People are more likely to devote 10 minutes to you than an hour.
Again, as I have constantly stated, this is a numbers game. You will need to write a lot of these. If you write two and expect your life to change you will be disappointed.
If your letter is well written and the idea is good, you stand a good chance of getting some interest. Remember, agents and producers are looking for good ideas every day. They want to read great scripts because that’s how they make their money.
Happy Query-ing and Keep Creating.