Sunday, January 9, 2011

Welcome To My World

Hi:  I'm creating this particular blog site to help writers navigate the rough waters of the movie, television and publishing businesses.  I'll always be interested in questions from writers and new film makers, and will answer them asap.  I'll let you know when I write new ezine articles for writers and when and where I will be presenting seminars. 

Let me know about any good movies that you've seen and why they are good movies. 

Here's a sample article that I've written regarding:  QUERY LETTERS:

Everyone talks about the importance of the query letter. It is important because it is the first introduction of you and your work to professionals in the entertainment business. We all know that first impressions are the ones that last.
Think about all of the things you want to accomplish with this one page. You want to motivate someone who is extremely busy to spend their time or the time of their employees, to read your screenplay. You want them to know that you are serious about your work. You want them to know that you have done due diligence in your writing work. You want them to think that there’s a chance that if they don’t read your script they will miss a great opportunity.
If your letter is sloppy, you’re out. If there are misspellings, you’re out. If your story idea is unclear, or too long, you’re out.
One morning, when I was still a literary agent, I was going through my mail, I read a simple query letter.  It was perfect. The writer told me a little bit about himself and added about two (2) paragraphs about his latest screenplay.  It was a fascinating idea about the discovery, in current day, of the Garden of Eden.  There were no misspellings, no grammatical errors, no cross-outs and no superfluous information.

I grabbed the phone, called the young man, and asked him to bring in the script.

I read the script the day that it arrived.  It was wonderful, creative, smart, interesting, very well formatted and professional.  It also had heart and amazing visual potential.  I phoned him before I even finished the script and made an appointment for him come in to meet with me the very next day.  At that point in his life he and his wife were selling their old CD’s to buy gas for their car.

We met and discussed his many, many other ideas and completed screenplays.  We signed contracts and I went to work.

Within a week my phone was ringing off the hook from production companies and studio executives who had heard about this script and wanted to read it.  They sent messengers day and night to pick it up.

Disney studios stepped up to the plate and I made a deal for this young writer, on his first sale, for $750,000.00 plus profits. 

Your query letter is your introduction.  It tells the reader who you are. 

Paying attention to what seem to be the small things in life can sometimes mean everything.
Here is a sample query letter that says it all and has a little “personality” to boot. Hope it helps:

John/Jane Doe
00000 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 99999
Email:_______ Phone:_________

March 1, 2010

Ms._________ _____________
Company Name _____________
Address ____________________
City & State_________________

Re:  “NAME OF SCREENPLAY” by   John/Jane Doe
Dear Ms.__________:
Hearing you speak at the ___________ __________ Writers Conference (Film Festival, etc.), I was very inspired by your remarks and your willingness to share information.

My background as a writer consists of studying screenwriting at UCLA, winning the _________ _________ Screenwriting contest and practicing the craft of writing since I was 10 years old. My spelling has improved, as well as my stories.

My orignal screenplay is a contemporary action/romance that tells the story of a young man and woman who meet and fall in love during a cataclysmic event that sets them on a course to preserve the United States as an independent country.

I will call you next week to see if you are interested in reading my script.
Joe/Jane Doe

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