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Old 05-22-2019, 07:00 AM   #1
JoeNYC
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Default Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

I have an idea that some of you will think is a bold act and some of you will think is a desperate act, but I prefer to think of it as a found opportunity.

I have different options on how to proceed, but before I give the options for your opinions, I’ll need to put the idea in context.

In Bono’s logline thread, he bet me $100 that a query letter that I had sent off a decade ago, when I was a newbie, had an overwritten logline. I told him he would lose that bet, and I proceeded to search for the query letter to prove it.

By the time I found the query, Bono had withdrawn the bet, but what was interesting is that in the production company’s returned envelope to me I found that it not only contained a copy of the query letter I had sent them, but also their legal submission agreement form, which I had forgotten all about.

I never sent the script, or the signed submission form because, as a newbie, I came to the sad realization that my craft wasn’t at a professional level yet, so I put the screenplay away and continued with studying the craft and writing other screenplays.

Now that Bono made me dig out this query and the production company’s script request it got me thinking that technically they’ve requested the script and there was no stated deadline to send the requested script.

By now, you all know what I’m thinking. Could this be a legit loophole to now send the requested script?

I’ve never heard of any industry people, or non-pro writers discuss that there’s an unspoken deadline, where when a script is requested and a writer fails to send it in a certain amount of time, he loses the opportunity. The door has closed to the requested script.

I have three options available to me:

Option “A”:

ARE YOU CRAZY! Forget about it and move on to query managers to help you open industry doors.

Option “B”:

I send the now well-crafted script with their signed and dated submission agreement form.

On the envelope, I’ll write, “Signed and dated Di Novi Pictures submission agreement form enclosed.”

Maybe by never receiving the script, there’s no record of when the request was made, so maybe they’ll think this is a recent request and send it off to their readers for coverage.

Option “C”:

Come clean about the situation by enclosing a cover letter, though still not revealing the request was made a decade ago.

The cover letter could go something like the following:

In the past, I attended a seminar given by Denise Di Novi. Ms. Di Novi invited the attendees to send her company a query letter addressed to her president and partner, Alison Greenspan, along with a code to identify the invited queries, which I did.

Out of 300 queries, 3 screenplays were requested, which one was mine. I never sent my script, because at the time, being a newbie, I realized my craft wasn’t at a professional level yet.

I continued studying the craft and writing screenplays and forgotten all about this request until the commercial success of the superhero comedy SHAZAM.

Since there was no stated deadline on sending the screenplay and the fact that I’m now confident that my level of craft is at a professional level, I’ve rewritten the screenplay and sent it to you along with the company’s official submission agreement, signed and dated, for your consideration.

Thank you.

-- These are the three options available to me.

What’s your opinion on which option is best to proceed, “A,” “B,” or “C”?

Some may think there’s an “Option “D”: Send another query with the cover letter to explain the situation.

This isn’t an available option. For legal reasons, they have a strict policy of not accepting query letters, so with the assigned code no longer valid and seeing that it’s a query letter, right in the trash it’ll go.

ON A SIDE NOTE TO BONO:

It’s a good thing you withdrew the bet because with the proof of Di Novi’s returned envelope and the copy of my newbie query letter, showing a concisely written 26 word logline, you would have lost the $100 bet.

What’s ironic is that now, as I rewrite the logline as an experienced writer, it’s longer than my newbie version, running 39 to 44 words. Hopefully, every word is necessary and not perceived as overwritten with unnecessary details.

Last edited by JoeNYC : 05-22-2019 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:45 PM   #2
finalact4
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

imo, the best thing that ever happened is that you realized that you weren't ready. and it shouldn't have been a "sad" moment for you at all. i knew this when i first started as well. it drove me to be the best i could be. it still drives me. i may not be completely ready, but my writing is at the pro level and i'm willing to step into the arena now with confidence.

so, consider yourself fortunate that you had that insight.

i am surprised, though, that you feel your only option is to use this old query as a way to manipulate your way into submitting your script. sure, there's no deadline, but you know it's wrong. you know they didn't intend for you to send them a script 10 years later. you know this because you're trying right now to find a way to circumvent the system.

it doesn't matter if they have a no solicitation policy. if they love the logline they'll request it. if they don't they won't. move on.

and honestly, it seems kinda desperate, i'm really sorry to say. you're not desperate are you? you believe in your writing, right? you believe in your script, right? then why would you risk this?

this could blow up in your face. it might not, that's true, but it could. how do you think they'll feel about you trying to sneak your script into their hands? realistically, they'll put you on a list of "who not to accept material from." and if that happens, you'll have to explain to your future manager or agent that you tried this, and that you're not allowed to let them submit your work to this prodco. that's the worse that can happen.

i think what you're trying to do is wrong. it's these kinds of tactics that give non-represented writers a bad name. it's exactly these tactics that are the reason companies have a "no unsolicited material" policy in the first place.

send a new query letter in with the original email. or scan it and send the original as an attachment. tell them that you didn't want to submit it until you developed your craft. until a time you felt it was ready. tell them that you are willing to sign the agreement and have so included it in the attachment. explain to them about the code that was given to you in the seminar. show them that you are a writer with integrity. i'll bet that they will accept it.

and if they don't? so what? move on.

did a quick google search and it looks like Denise Di Novi has started a new production company called Patma Productions with the backing of CAA. here's an excerpt from the Variety announcement. looks like they will be focusing on working with women and POC.

Quote:
“We are committed to gender parity, and giving women and people of color more opportunities both in front of and behind the camera,” said Di Novi. “PatMa will develop content that not only entertains, but surprises, challenges, and awakens audiences to the emotional experiences of people from every walk of life.”
Here's the article that announced a year ago in January that she was starting a new studio.

https://variety.com/2018/film/news/n...ns-1202680279/
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Last edited by finalact4 : 05-22-2019 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:12 PM   #3
JoeNYC
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

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i am surprised, though, that you feel your only option is to use this old query as a way to manipulate your way into submitting your script. sure, there's no deadline, but you know it's wrong.
That's just it and the reason for this thread, I'm not so sure it's wrong. They were intrigued by the concept and wanted to read the script, so I'm a tad late in sending them the script. Maybe they won't notice.

I'm thinking the clean way to do it is to send the above mentioned cover letter explaining the situation, but not by email. Regular mail might give me a better chance that the cover letter, which would include the title, genre and logline, would be read.

Tough, I do like Option "C." It's a risk, but sometimes these efforts work. Who knows?

Edited to add: I caught your link to the Varity article. If she dissolves Di Novi Pictures, then this idea is DOA.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

did you read my post edit? you should check to see if Di Novi Productions is still around because Denise Di Novi has started a new studio.

and if you don't think it's wrong, or deceptive, then why deliberately hide the fact that you received the request 10 years ago. why are you sending it "mail" instead of email? you're deliberately choosing to be deceptive, which is wrong. period.

no one sends letters anymore. i'm sure they would appreciate an email. at least you'll have a record that you sent it.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
if you don't think it's wrong, or deceptive, then why deliberately hide the fact that you received the request 10 years ago. why are you sending it "mail" instead of email?
It's not really about "hiding," or being "deceptive." It's a strategy to get past their strict policy of NO QUERY LETTERS and to make the office assistants aware that their boss had shown interest in this concept and requested the script.

Now if they have a record that this request was made years ago, this may, or may not irk them. Maybe they would understand the difficulty it is for a writer to get his screenplay in front of the eyes of industry people and they would like my gumption for using a past request and submission agreement. Like I said, they gave no deadline to send, so technically…

After all, I was invited to send, but this all may be moot if Di Novi made a new partnership and formed another production company. I'll have to look into this.

Thanks, finalact4, for giving me your honest opinion on this idea of mine.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

I got a real headache trying to read this, and couldn't possible process it all.

No single submission could possibly be so bloody precious. Oh, if only I'd taken the red pill instead of the blue one, or whatever it was.

Just send a requery, and ignore any pretense of the past dealings.

I regularly (have this week, in fact) send out queries on the same script, to the same prodcos. Of course, the script will be polished and usually 10% shorter, staff at the companies may have changed, and at least 3 (and, given my own catalog, up to 9) years will have passed.

Even if it's the same staff, I don't hesitate to put something like "Hi, I pitched this a few years ago at 112 pages, but it's undergone several polishes and maybe you'd like to see it again." The script may now be 103 pages, and I attach the header of the previous emails to prove the previous contact. No sense in hiding it.

But it's just a query. In most cases, nobody's even going to remember the earlier contact, or complain about the new one.

And by the way, even on those "no unsolicited" replies that I and we all get on our email pitches, quite often 3-4 years later I contact them again with a "forward" of that email to ask if their policy's changed. I can't recollect if anybody's ever responded with "Sure, send us a query/script", but at least half the time they get back to me courteously, with "sorry, no change in policy." But, it does keep my name in front of them.

So yeah, we all ponder past prospects, but it it shouldn't be a big deal.

Now, I understand the perceived difference in this case, about no-unsolicited and a release, and being a full script vs. just a re-query. But who's going to remember if you just resend the query and initiate a contemporary conversation? I think that would be the most courteous thing to do.

I also think that having a release is a bit overblown. Lots of places that accept "solicited" queries/scripts still want to know "do I know you" and "to whom were you talking" (ie. who asked for the script. Even those companies (eg. Renfield) that have the release posted right on their website still want the script to be "solicited", and only have the release at-the-ready for those circumstances.

Sheesh. My headache's worse.

Just resend a query. A decade. It doesn't merit the bandwidth of this thread, so methinks we're all just looking for excuses to avoid writing a new script, polishing an old one, or doing some heavy duty fresh marketing/pitching.
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Old 05-23-2019, 03:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

You're way overestimating how much thought anyone at the company is going to give to this. It'll be received by some groggy assistant or receptionist who's gonna read that mouthful of history you laid out in Option C and go "what the hell is all this bullshit?" and delete.

My suggestion is Option C, but leave out all of that stuff about DiNovi's seminar, improving as a writer, Shazam, etc. Cut it all. Write a VERY SHORT (like THREE SENTENCES) funny email about how you got a read request for this script ten years ago but never sent it... but now you are!"

Remember, this company remains under zero obligation to read you, request or not. But if you amuse them with your short note, maybe they'll be cool and read. If you lay out some convoluted explanation of events from ten years ago as if they owe you a read, it'll go straight into the trash.

Did I mention keep it short? Good luck!
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

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My suggestion is Option C, but leave out all of that stuff about DiNovi's seminar, improving as a writer, Shazam, etc. Cut it all.
Thanks, ProfessorChomp, for your advice.

After finalact4 and caton’s blunt opinions on this matter, I’ve already decided that the professional way on how I should proceed would be Option “C.”

It’s a good thing finalact4 and caton were so forceful, knocking some sense into me, because I probably would’ve went with Option “B” and sent the script along with the cover letter and their legal submission agreement, which would’ve been thrown directly in the trash, for sure.

ProfessorChump, you did raise a good point about the cover letter details. I agree it should be cut, but not all of it. I’m thinking the “seminar” reference is important. Anyone can try to fool them and make up something like, “Hey, you’ve asked for this in the past. I’m inquiring if you’re still interested?”

The seminar reference gives a legitimacy to the past connection/request. Top production companies like this have a strict policy of referrals only and the seminar invite is kinda like an in-house referral.

The subject header could be: “Ms. Di Novi Seminar Invite To Writer.”

This way maybe it won’t automatically be deleted. They’ll have to check with their boss to see if she’s still interested, though it’ll probably be her Di Novi Pictures’ partner, Alison Greenspan, making the decision. Who I think is still there.

Also, I’ll just mention that it was “in a past” seminar and not 10 years-ago.” This dates the screenplay and this page-one rewrite version isn’t the same one that was written ten years ago when I was a newbie.

finalact4, Denise Di Novi and Nina Tassler formed a new production company called PatMa Productions, but I found out it’s gonna be run separate from Di Novi Pictures.

Di Novi Pictures and their first look deal with Warner Brothers will still be in place, so, when I complete the rewrite, I’ll send them the query/cover letter.

I have a similar situation with an executive at WME. He’s a former Done Deal member and ten years ago there was a discussion on writers paying for feedback. He made an offer to me to send him one of my screenplays and he’ll have one of his readers cover it for free.

At the time, being a newbie and having only one completed screenplay, which I felt wasn’t worthy to have covered at an agency like WME (before merges), I declined the offer.

As you can imagine, the members gave me crap for turning down the offer. The WME executive stepped in and told me that his offer is open-ended and for me to send him one of my scripts whenever I was ready.

Before this thread, I wasn’t gonna bother him because so many years has past, but now I’m thinking, why not give it a shot and send him an email reminder about his open-ended offer. He’s still active with WME.

If you ask, there’s that possibility of: Yes, send it to me. If you never ask, then a, no, is guaranteed. (I wouldn’t be asking for the SKUNKMAN script. It’ll be for the high concept action adventure script that I’m close to completing.)

Now that I’ve decided to be more active in the business side of getting my screenplays noticed, I’m coming up with all kinds of options.

Side note to finalact4:

I appreciate your help in this thread and others. If you didn’t take offense to me withdrawing my offer of reviewing your script because I felt you were too sensitive to blunt sounding feedback and suggestions, I’m gonna be swapping feedback with three writers for my action adventure, titled AMERICAN SLAVES. If you’d like to be one of the three, please PM me.

If two other writers would like to swap feedback, then PM me, but I won’t be doing any reviews until my script is completed, which would be in about a month, or two.

Last edited by JoeNYC : 05-24-2019 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

looks like Margaret French Isaac is President of Denise Di Novi Pictures as of April 2018

https://deadline.com/2018/04/margare...es-1202374855/

and Alison Greenspan is at DRP as of 2017. doesn't sound like she's still a part of Denise Di Novi Pictures, but maybe she's doing both? Denise Di Novi isn't listed under DDP as a production company, so hard to find information.

http://www.tracking-board.com/doug-r...son-greenspan/

http://www.donedealpro.com/members/d...content_type=9

good luck.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

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Originally Posted by JoeNYC View Post
...After finalact4 and caton’s blunt opinions on this matter, I’ve already decided that the professional way on how I should proceed would be Option “C.”

It’s a good thing finalact4 and caton were so forceful, knocking some sense into me, because I probably would’ve went with Option “B” and sent the script along with the cover letter and their legal submission agreement, which would’ve been thrown directly in the trash, for sure...
Thanks for taking it constructively. I actually sort of apologize, since it's probably the crankiest thing I've ever written here, and yet was in response to your genuine thought-out enquiry. Usually for the truly stupid stuff I read here, I merely ignore it and don't entangle myself in the debate. But this came at the end-of-day time for me, just before 11:00 pm, and I knocked off my comment as I was getting ready for bed.

Best of luck, whatever happens.
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