Friday, March 20, 2009

How do I sound as awesome as I am?

As I walked down a nearby street on my way home from getting some shit notarized, I began to think about my script and I realized I'm going to sell it. It was totally a Secret power of positive thinking kind of new wave enthusiasm moment, but I was pretty jazzed. I realized we could buy a $500,000 house instead of a $300,000 house and I could take some jujitsu lessons and quit my job and be a bazillionaire and finally land that adaptation I've been dying to work on since I read the book once in grad school. It was a pretty cool moment, realizing I was a winner.

Then I got home and wrote up my query letter to this one manager I know who reads all his query letters. I wanted to open it with "OMG you are so gonna make some money off this script because it's awesome," but that just made me sound like an idiot. Because even if it's true, bragging about how awesome you are just makes you look like a moron and everybody hates you.

So how do you get your shit to stand out? Obviously it has to have a great logline, but really a monkey could write a great logline and still produce a crappy script, and a great script might not have the world's greatest logline. I've worked on mine for a while and I feel pretty good about it, but since I have to mention the word "zombie" anyone reading it will immediately picture a B movie with some half naked, bloody bimbo lurching toward other less bloody bimbos. I made sure to mention the explosions and the flame thrower and the tidal wave, but I don't know if that's enough to get the interest going.

I did my whole "Emily Blake the blogger" persona thing where I say a lot of "anyway"s and "okay, so"s but that sounded amateur too.

End the end I said I thought zombies were the bee's knees and if you like zombies and explosions and exploding zombies at all you'll like my script.

What do you put in a query letter?


  1. I hate, HATE, HATE query letters. It makes me feel like a desperate whore, begging agents to look at my boobs or something. Okay. I've been working on one for my novel now (took me 2 weeks) and I think it's alright now.

    It opens with a hook, an angry quote from the novel, that people seem to love for some reason. blah blah blah, here's my novel. then I talk about why it's "relevant" to today's current events and then I mention that I'm a playwright, blah blah, I hope to hear from U soon.

    it's short, simple and I hope, effective.

  2. Oh man I've never tried to write a letter for a book. I think I'd be paralyzed.

    Good luck!

  3. I think it's face to face, THEN you say hey remember me. I met a guy at the Expo (I was having a cigar) and he ended the conversation with, "Well, you know where to find me."
    Fast forward to a month ago. We had a pretty funny Entourage spec. You wanna know what happens gotta buy me a drink, and not some goofy domestic beer, I'm thinking something with vodka...

  4. Anonymous1:31 AM

    The letter needs to be as witty as you can make it. An agent/manager will read your script if your query letter is well-written enough.

    And don't shy away from zombies, or think they're B movies. Zombie specs are very popular and ZOMBIELAND is in production right now at Sony.

  5. Hype isn't necessary if the script is good. Let your work speak for itself.

  6. I wrote a brief post about this on Script Doctor Eric (Emily gave permission to post this it's not COMPLETE self-promotion):

    I agree with Vanilla - if you can meet the person first then follow up, it is so much better.

    Anonymous is right that if a letter is well-written, it helps. And if it's about zombies, come out and say it - don't surprise the reader.

    But I disagree that the letter needs to show you wit, unless you write a very witty comedy. Most of the time when a writer tries to be "witty" in a query, it's annoying.

    Just imagine you're the agent. You sit down and read fifty query letters at a time, ten of them making poor jokes. Here comes another query whose jokes are slightly better, but are still nothing you haven't seen before.

    Would you choose the "joke" query, or a well written, direct, professional query that gets to the point?

    Hope that helps.


  7. Put the dramatic tension in the logline. The tension everyone wants to have resolved. And you got it. Easy to say but not easy to write in two or three sentences.


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