How To Write A Query Letter To An Agent


(Alex Le May) #1

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”:

Dear _____________,

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.

Sincerely,
Name

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.


FAQ: where am I and what is Stareable?
Any Tips For Writing A Good Query Letter?
What to include in an email asking for sponsorship/promotion?
(Bri Castellini) #2

!!! Thank you for this!

One question- I would venture to guess that most of the people on this forum haven’t worked as a series producer/ had work produced by anyone other than themselves. Should they swap that section with one about any impressive facts or figures around their independent work, perhaps by calling attention to award-wins or view-counts?


(Alex Le May) #3

For sure. Included a link to your work. Just something to give the agent a sense of what you do/have done. Even if it’s self-produced. In general, just give a snapshot of who you are. This is simply a guidepost. Definitely customize to fit your own work history. Good Point, Bri!


(Meg Carroway) #4

WOW!! THIS IS GREAT! So so so so helpful. How do you find agent emails, though?


(Alex Le May) #5

Thanks so much. Glad you found it helpful. I actually just put a training guide together to help people with this issue. You can download it here. http://bit.ly/2gzUD9L

Basically, a little gumshoe, detective work but there a few hacks in it that will help you with that. Let me know if it helps


(Ian David Diaz) #6

Thanks, Alex, that’s very helpful. My question is who do you send this coving letter to? An agent you say, can you clarify, a writer’s agent, a director’s/producer’s agent, the producer’s assistant of what, a production company? And where do you get a list of contacts, a list of names? Sorry, I live in the UK, Battersea, London and I’m incredibly poor and working class. I’m always reading about how to get this to this Hollywood producer or the Hollywood agent but without contact names and email addresses what can one do even with a cool covering letter? Also, I am told that production companies and producer’s assistant from said companies do not read unsolicited material, is that still true? I don’t mean to be a pain but advice would be much appreciated.


(Bri Castellini) #7

Alex kind of already answered this, actually! :slight_smile:


(Ian David Diaz) #8

Thanks Bri.


(Bri Castellini) #9

@Evie_Marie_Warner Also check out this resource!


(Evie Marie Warner) #10

How do you know your idea is good?


(Evie Marie Warner) #11

I have several people who thought they could get there series sold to Netflix or whoever and one in particular is looking really foolish b/c they bragged a year ago that this was going to happen and yeah it hasn’t.


(Bri Castellini) #12

One way could be to sign up your pitch/script/idea for a #cc! The community can come together to critique your work and offer suggestions/help you brainstorm.


(Alex Le May) #13

Yes, this community is a great resource. “Good” is subjective. Creating the stuff you want to be known for is good start. Being willing to fail is a must. Never stop creating, Evie and you’ll be fine.


(Anthony Ferraro) #14

Really Solid information as usual Alex, please keep them coming. Very valuable , thx for sharing


(Evie Marie Warner) #15

Maybe at some point, however, I do have people currently talking about investing in the project and have some call backs scheduled on November 10th so I can’t really share too much of what is going on with it publicacly. I gotta be careful about what I post on line at the moment.