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Old 06-12-2019, 02:02 AM   #1
lumous
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Default Querying studios

What's the consensus on querying studios (eg universal, warner, etc) ?

Is there any merit to do so vs querying only production companies?
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Querying Studios

Nothing stops you from querying anybody until you get a 'no unolicited' response. At that point, you need to be courteous and stop bugging them.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Querying studios

From my understanding Prodcos would approach studios with a project (screenplay, director, actors) for funding.

So I'm wondering if querying Studios directly with just a screenplay is constructive and if anyone has had success with that route.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: Querying studios

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Originally Posted by lumous View Post
So I'm wondering if querying Studios directly with just a screenplay is constructive and if anyone has had success with that route.
It is definitely not productive to query studios.

Were I you, I'd focus my querying energy on reps (and maybe independent producers). In general, the only prodcos that will respond favorably to queries are companies with whom you do not want to be in business. There may a few exceptions in the low-budget and/or genre worlds, but outside of that, it's frankly a waste of time.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Querying studios

Some may be confused by the appearance of actual studio reps on paid-pitch services such as VPF, thinking this means that if a writer is crafty enough they can pitch the same studio (or contact person, if they can find them) directly via email for free!

Studios, as with any buyer, look just about anywhere for content. But an "in" such as VPF doesn't mean the studio's standards are in any way limited or different, and this includes their legal requirements.

I've tried VPF in the past, and got all excited when Paramount etc. showed up. I even got a few scripts read from their junior rep on the site. There was an NDA. Nothing came of the submissions, of course. With so much of my stuff now being so heavily polished I'd like to try again, but I just don't have the discretionary income anymore.

So yeah, aside from querying reps, those efforts remain best directed to the Indie producers, who'll develop your script and then take it to the studios and others for the big funding requests. Even some of the mini-majors have responded to me with "We deal with the many producers who make films, and then bring them to us for funding, distribution, etc."
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: Querying studios

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Originally Posted by AnyOtherName View Post
It is definitely not productive to query studios.

Were I you, I'd focus my querying energy on reps (and maybe independent producers). In general, the only prodcos that will respond favorably to queries are companies with whom you do not want to be in business. There may a few exceptions in the low-budget and/or genre worlds, but outside of that, it's frankly a waste of time.
I concur.

Mostly because it's a strategical error. You have no juice walking your script into a studio (with zero attachments) even if they did agree to read it, which is unlikely. Prodco, same.

IMO you want as many opportunities for people to rip your script apart (so you can fix it, again and again) BEFORE it reaches the buyers. That's actually a process that sets you up for your best odds at pleasing a buyer.

Last edited by GucciGhostXXX : 06-24-2019 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Querying studios

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Originally Posted by lumous View Post
What's the consensus on querying studios (eg universal, warner, etc) ?
Studios have a strict policy not to accept queries. Have there been exceptions? I've never heard of any.

If there is a certain studio, or studios that you believe is a good fit for your screenplay, then I suggest to check the judges' list of screenplay competitions.

Sometimes a studio development executive will agree to read finalists' scripts for a contest.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Querying studios

Ha ha, if you ask if you can or should pitch a studio, you've already lost your edge.

The edge? I don't mean to offend, but the edge is that you're too new and too ignorant to know not to pitch them!

I did pitch a studio exec... a guy named Franklin Leonard way way back in 2009 when he was with Universal... but it was about a very unusual and specific project. It was not to merely send a screenplay.

It led to an invitation from him to "have your agent or ATTORNEY make this request". Which I did (and I've had that attorney on-hand ever since).

Well, I won't get into the long sorry tale here, but obviously it didn't pan out, probably because the request got lost in transit. FL moved to Overbrook Entertainment, and my lawyer's formal (and paid) request probably got overlooked. When I followed up on my own, a few months later, the Universal machine sent back their expected "get lost and cease and desist" letter.

But I'd never have even tried, if I knew what I do today.

So I guess the only possible way you might get through to a studio is if your project catches someone's eye and it's forwarded to their Indie division, which some studios have. Then there is VPF (a junior rep taking pitches there), as I mentioned earlier in this thread.

Even still, there are so many other targets for your pitches - prodcos of various sizes, not to mention reps - that you just don't need to waste time on studios.

At least not till you're a producer yourself, and approaching them in that context.
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Old 06-24-2019, 04:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Querying studios

I don't think any query is wasted if you're trying to break in. Sure, prioritize, but why not take a shot everywhere? If some studio exec loves your script, they can easily help you get a manager or agent.

I queried literally thousands of people when I was trying to break in, and the path that got me in was so circuitous... I sent a query to a mid-level producer on a TV show, which was already dumb if you go by conventional wisdom - he didn't have the power to hire me, I didn't come in through an agent, everyone says shows won't read writers because they're afraid of getting sued...

He read it and liked it. He sent it to his agent. His agent's assistant read it and liked it. The agent himself read it and passed on me. Six months later, the assistant got hired as an agent at another agency. He remembered my script and signed me.

He never got me a job, but while he was trying, he had a party with all his clients, and I met another writer who worked as a writer's assistant. She got offered a WA job on a show, but couldn't take it because she was working. She lied and said I knew how to be a writer's asssitant, then trained me how to do the job in an afternoon. I got that job.

I was promised a script on the show, but the show got canceled before I got it. Another writer on the show got offered two jobs. He told the show that he passed on to read me. That show did and offered me a job.

Long story short: run down every lead. A lot of people who couldn't help me passed my script along to people who could.
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Old 06-24-2019, 04:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Querying studios

In general, I agree with the "run down every lead" sentiment... gotta be your own rep nowadays more than ever, it seems. Even if we have one.

Although, if you're going straight into the studio, me personally (?), I'd wanna be damn sure the script was vetted first. Ya know? I guess that could be other writer/director friends you trust. I just wouldn't want to burn a read (shot) because the script ain't ready. Because without attachments it's kinda asking a lot these days, no?
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