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Old 07-18-2010, 05:43 AM   #23
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 811
Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

Originally Posted by MontanaHans View Post
@DB: When you say, "right contact info" do you mean cell phone number?

Because every office has a person who answers phones. And then you have to ask that person for the person you want to speak to. Then the person anwering phones asks what this is about. What's your answer to that last question?
Well getting a cellphone number never hurts that's for sure albeit that can be very tough to come up with. But the answer to your question actually deals with another thread someone posted about mentioning other producers in your query so I'll address it here as well.

In this game it's very much about using something as a springboard. First off and I've said this a million times there are ALWAYS people you can talk to at prodco's who will listen to a pitch on the phone. That's their job. You just have to have something worth pitching. So, get IMDB. Go to a prodco you want to pitch, call someone down the line like the svp of development or the vp of something else, or the head of production or whatever you want that's NOT the head honcho. But that's NOT the main number to the front desk and assistants. In fact, you can even choose someone not even in the production chain who will be surprised and perhaps delighted to have been included in this process and pitch them. You'd be surprised what will happen.

I often call someone who's a bean counter or marketing person and say, "Oh, I was trying to reach so and so, I must have got the wrong number do you have his extension or can you transfer me to their office?"

Now, when you try that you're going to get some no's obviously, but so what? Keep trying. Eventually you'll get a yes. Now the NEXT person you call you can say as I mentioned in that other thread, "I just finished my script and it's being read at select production co's like (name prodco who said yes) but because of your excellent reputation/body of work especially on (name film) I wanted to make sure you got a copy as well yadda yadda yadda..."

Now I say "cold call" but I also mean cold query. You can do the same via e-mail as well if you're phone shy. E-mails ARE easy to find. Especially with help on this board. Then it's up to your logline and e-mail writing skills.

The other approach is to actually find someone who's not THE big cheese but is a big cheese at something else. That means find a LINE producer vs. an exec producer or a cinematographer or a guy was the second AD or something like that. They're usually easier to find contact info on and often open to reading something. Then pick their brains for who they've worked with who might like material like that. Then use their name with the person they worked with.

Getting someone like this in your corner is worth its weight in gold because then you have that name to drop to get PAST the gatekeeper when they start their whole thing about we only take submissions from agents blah blah blah you can say, "I understand. However, (line producer) read the script and when I asked who he thought this might be a fit for he mentioned (big producer person) with whom he worked on (big movie they did together) so that's why I called... blah blah blah (make sure to end with a question)

Or something to that effect. Now again, a lot of people on here are going to say this doesn't work but they're wrong. It does work. In point of fact right now I'm in this exact situation. Found a line producer from some HUGE movies e-mail. E-mailed her and she e-mailed back "You know I'm a line producer and not a producer producer right?" I said yes I know but would she have a look. She agreed to read. LIked it. So, then I said I really feel like I need a good director to help make the material tighter. Are there any you know who might be a fit for something like this who might be open to reading it (Knowing full well she had worked with 2 directors who I wanted to get the script to)? She agreed and has been kind enough to send the script out HERSELF to one of the two very big directors that I stood no chance in hell of getting on the phone without her.

When I started I literally knew not 1 single person in this business. Not 1. Everything I've gotten has been via phone and e-mail. So it obviously works. Start lower down the chain, build up the base of people who like what you write then use that momentum to get up the chain.

Make sure you have great stuff to read though first. You only get one shot with people and you can't send crap or they'll never deal with you again.

Hope that helps.
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