Query and submission letters are often mailed, faxed, or e-mailed during a campaign. One page
only, as brief as possible, leaving them wanting more. The letter should show that the author . .
- Created a project that could make a good motion picture.
- Knows the project well, the story he's trying to tell.
- Received commendations elsewhere.
- Possesses real qualifications.
Terms in the example query letter below that are placed inside double symbols, e.g., ||First
||Last Name||, are for the information specific to your situation, or that changes with each
letter (like the variable fields in a print merge). Movie (or project) titles, yours and anyone
else's you mention, should be put in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
Dear ||First Name|| ||Last Name||: [you likely don't know the addressee well enough to use
first name only; and no Mr./Mrs./Ms./etc. as you can't always be sure of gender, and
gender/marital/professional titles can be tricky]
"Promotional teaser or tagline."
[centered and indented right and left in italicized
Courier font--something that might appear on a movie poster like 'Ever want to be someone else?
Now you can.' for BEING JOHN MALKOVICH. See other examples on movie posters at your local cinema.]
"Something positive someone has said about your project" says ||First Name|| ||Last Name||,
||Title|| of ||Organization||, about PROJECT TITLE the ||genre|| [e.g., action-adventure,
comedy, drama, etc.] that . . . [a brief tag description of some attractive or defining
aspect of the PROJECT].
[three-line synopsis block-indented one inch right and left]
PROJECT TITLE has . . . [state accomplishments and distinctions, such as
contest placement, without giving impression it has been "shopped all over town"]. I . . .
[state your writing and life qualifications at their most concise and enticing, especially as
they relate to the project and help sell it].
[If a submission letter: Thank you for agreeing to take a look at PROJECT TITLE.] I/we
look forward to working with an organization with the exceptional reputation of
||Your Name(s)|| [if multiple names/signatures, format properly]
Enclosures. [the script, one- or two-page synopsis, and writer qualifications, depending on
stage of process]
- Use professional stationery with printed letterhead for the submission letter where possible--
high quality paper with a computer-generated letterhead where not.
- Word-use, spelling, syntax, brevity--all so important in the script itself--are doubly
important here. Run spell check, re-read several times, sleep on it before sending it out, have
someone else read it over, etc.
- The best tone to adopt is 'confident humility'. Let kudos from other people brag about the
project, don't do it yourself.
- Never make predictions regarding market potential for the film. Industry professionals cast a
jaundiced eye on any writer who proclaims himself savant enough to see the future. "No one knows
anything" in this increasingly random business--just ask William Goldman.
Pitch the synopsis to a few people to refine it. Over the phone works. You may find yourself
doing precisely that many times in a marketing campaign. Edit, rethink, rewrite, edit, rethink,
rewrite until it squeaks.
You may want to consider e-mailing your queries